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Maine ATD thoughts, News, & Happenings

  • Monday, July 25, 2022 3:39 PM | Richard Parent (Administrator)

    Goodwill Northern New England is looking for 3 new team members to join the Staff Training and Development team. Our mission is to invest in people who need support to achieve their life and work goals. We believe that everyone can achieve and maintain personal stability with the help of Goodwill’s holistic approach to services and employment.

    Leadership Development Specialist: This high-profile role will work directly with front line managers to senior leaders to develop management and leadership capability, deliver best-in-class leadership development programs, consult with business leaders on leadership challenges, and leverage data and insights to design learning opportunities that build competence, confidence, and knowledge.

    Learning and Development Specialist: This position will partner with leaders across the organization, as well as subject matter experts, to develop and deliver engaging and effective courses that improve the efficiency of the organization and ensure colleagues have the knowledge and tools to succeed and realize their potential.

    Learning & Development ESOL Specialist: The Learning and Development ESOL Specialist has a unique role to play in advancing our mission and realizing our vision, providing staff across our Agency with a wide range of English language instructional experiences and activities that support fluency, confidence, and workforce readiness and success.

  • Tuesday, July 19, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Have you taken time this summer for meaningful rest? 

    The image is from an article by Molly Shea (the pic is also a link to that article, if you're interested) in which she summarizes work by physician Saundra Dalton-Smith, M.D., author of Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Renew Your Sanity.

    (Isn't there a lot of amazing work in the world?)

    I appreciate the simple graphic--partly for its simplicity and partly for the checklist it gives me when considering my rest--whether that rest is tucking in for a weekend of good sleep, with just enough exercise and healthy food or a trip to three countries for a hike around some mountains. If I'm calling it "rest" or "vacation" or whatever, I can check to see if it is giving me the refresh I need all around or if I'm missing a part that I'll need to take care of before I get back into my everyday.

    Have you ever come back from a vacation exhausted? or maybe physically and mentally refreshed but socially or spiritually dissatisfied? or vice versa?

    And how does that affect your finding meaning going forward?

    (I'm really asking. I don't have good answers on this.)

    Meaningful rest is the ultimate self-care--perhaps in a Venn diagram, they are the same circle! And that circle is like a little trampoline from which we can launch ourselves into meaningful work and meaningful relationships and all the rest!

    What does meaningful rest look like to you, this summer? Is it all in one or will it have parts that fit together? What will it avail you to do?

  • Tuesday, July 12, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    How are meaning and happiness related?

    These rules for happiness were shared with me a million years ago, though in a different order, which I know because they became a bit of a mantra:

    Something to do.

    Something to hope for.

    Someone to love.

    Only in recent years have I realized what a privilege each of those parts is:

    How lucky to have something to do!

    How luckier still to have something to hope for! to have hope in and of itself!

    How very very lucky to have someone (human or otherwise) to love!

    **Extra special bonus to feel loved.**

    How does all of that privilege affect our sense of meaning?

    Is my work more meaningful because I have the foundation for happiness?

    Am I happy because I make a meaningful difference in the world to someone?

    Where are the intersections for you? or are there intersections for you? Do you see them as distinct and separate notions?

    Tell us more.

  • Tuesday, July 05, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Early in this series, we mentioned looking back at our days to see if there was meaning, if they felt meaningful.

    Looking back is valuable--especially when we do that healthy "What went well? What were the challenges? What do I want to try next time?" review, with some notes for "next time." 

    And those plans for "next time" are wonderful for looking forward, for reminding us what we already know, what we can stand on to continue to learn and grow. How do you use that resource? 

    B.J. Fogg talks about using the Maui Habit, starting each day by saying "It's going to be a great day!" following the prompt of your feet first touching the floor. (and then giving yourself a high five for remembering to do it #Celebration!) He talks about how starting your day with an intention like that is small, but it makes a difference in how the day unfolds--even when lousy things happen. Maybe making that decision early, sets you up to look for the greatness even in the lousy.

    If our definition of "greatness" includes some meaning, perhaps it will also help us see the meaning or find the meaning in our days.

    What do you think?

  • Tuesday, June 28, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Author: Communications team member, Kym Dakin

    When was the last time you felt truly curious about something? What did you do about it? Did you: 

    • Ask that question, research for factoids right then and there? 
    • Record it on your smartphone, or write it out intending to get back to it? (And did you?)
    • Or did you tuck it away in the overstuffed library of your brain for later? (Did “later” ever come?)

    I have discovered, for myself at any rate, that something I am curious about (different from “distracted by”) often opens doors to creating a meaningful day. But for so many of us, it’s hard to recall the last time we could answer the questions that started this post.

    What happened to our ability to follow something where curiosity takes us? Where did our natural inquisitiveness go? Some would say Adulthood happened. 

    “Curiosity is for Kids – Right?”
    I am still in disbelief that I actually heard this said in a workshop a few years ago. My mouth may have dropped open, but no one else around me appeared to be stunned. I asked him – I’ll call him Adam – to elaborate on that statement, and he named some pretty valid reasons for this belief: 

    “Kids are the ones who have time to dig into what intrigues them.” It’s ok, in fact it’s expected that kids are not “experts” and don’t know a whole lot. But this is harder to acknowledge as an adult. Nevertheless, genuine curiosity, when expressed in adult interactions, is critical in building strong connections, whether personal or professional.

    “I’m so busy trying to build my business, and drill down into those requirements, that anything else just feels like distraction.” It’s understandable that a focused, driven business person would feel this way. But at some point, people will need to connect with what you’re selling or your business will fail. Conveying genuine curiosity is essential to building trust. Trust is at the foundation of a successful client interaction. When I brought that idea into the room, Adam smiled. “Right”, he said. “Now you’ve given me a reason to get curious!” 

    No Time to Be Curious

    We often act as though creating true relationship and exhibiting genuine curiosity takes too much time. But when it comes to building meaning into our days, that time is well spent.
    Expressing curiosity requires vulnerability, especially in professional settings – you have to call attention to yourself as you ask a question. Not everyone is comfortable with questions.  And what about those times when you have to ask what might feel like a “stupid” question? You can just imagine the smirks from your highly competitive colleagues sitting around the table.  Not-happening-no-way!  But as Brene’ Brown says “People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability are the real badasses.” 

    ATD Capability Model

    I got “curious” about what the ATD Capability Model might say regarding curiosity, and though it’s not mentioned per se, I believe it is implied, especially when it comes to employee engagement under “Impacting Organizational Capability”. These four strategies in particular resonate with authentic curiosity. 

    • Knowledge of how employee engagement and retention influence organizational outcomes.
    • Skill in assessing and evaluating employee engagement.
    • Knowledge of strategies and techniques for building, supporting, and/or promoting an organizational culture that values talent and learning as drivers of competitive advantage.
    • Skill in designing and implementing employee engagement strategy.

    To design and implement employee engagement, authentic curiosity is key. How else can we build effective programs and strategies unless we take the time to ask questions that reveal the underlying truth of one’s experience, needs and motivations?

    Positive Intelligence (PQ) Model

    One of the aspects of the PQ model I have come to truly appreciate is the Sage Qualities. These are skills that are essential to living an engaged, productive and meaningful life. In my experience, the qualities progress from Yin to Yang in this lineup: 

    • Empathy: Having and demonstrating empathy for oneself and others.
    • Explore: Expressing genuine curiosity about the underlying story, issue, facts and influences that impact our experience. 
    • Innovate: Once we discover, through empathic curiosity, the information we need, we can then begin to create and develop new possibilities to address issues.
    • Navigate: Here is where we build perspective: what are our priorities? What strategies do we need to make sure we address what’s truly important? What, if anything, are we creating that will be effective and meaningful over time?
    • Action: Once the first four qualities have been considered and acted upon, only then can effective action be taken. 

    Of course, the “Explore” quality is all about curiosity, and as it follows “Empathy”, they often go hand in hand when truly engaging with clients and employees grappling with a whole range of issues. But again, we may have to deal with our reluctance to take the time to sit down and ask probing questions. And we may have to overcome our fear of doing so. 

    Curiosity vs. Fear

    Genuine curiosity is the opposite of fear. You hear that love is the opposite – but in actual experience, love is too big a stretch. All kinds of people can claim they “love” the disabled or Muslims or old hippies, but in that context, the L word is almost meaningless. Genuine curiosity on the other hand, feels much more like love’s qualities in action. Curiosity starts from a place of mutual regard; This person’s ideas, values, responses, are worth eliciting. And it begins with trust; This person will not harm me simply for asking about their experience. 

    Googling someone, is not the same as actually looking them in the eye and asking “How are you – really?” “How do you experience what’s happening on our team?” “How do you feel about what she just said?” And truly listening for the answer. 

    Our resistance to doing this because it takes too much time away from what we have labelled our priorities – is one of the obstacles to talking through differences or simply encountering each other in a mutually respectful way. Enough of this resistance compounds into a culture and we end up with family fracture, silo’d workplaces, and the election season circus that we experience every four years…. so many of us shocked and awed at all the rage. That degree of anger and blame can only happen when we lose the ability as a country to be curious about the “Other”, whatever that term may mean for us. 

    Think about the last time someone showed genuine curiosity about you or something you were involved in. How did it make you feel to have someone truly slow down enough to ask you a question that demanded more than just a glib, off-the-cuff answer? Chances are, your connection with that person strengthened simply because they expressed genuine curiosity and offered you a question that truly made you think. 

    Curiosity is defined as: 1. “the desire to learn or know more about something or someone”, or 2. “something that is interesting because it is unusual.” The Curiosity Quotient is a term coined by Thomas Friedman and broken down into the Curiosity Values. You can hunt and peck around, as I did, for an actual “Curiosity Quiz”…. It was revealing to see how so many of our daily habits and rituals are determined by how much curiosity we possess.

    Follow that Question

    Here’s a very brief and easy exercise as a way to make room for more curiosity in your day. 

    Sometime during the day, get outside and take a 10 – 20 minute walk. Bring a notebook with you.  As you observe your environment, begin to identify between 3 and 5 objects, businesses, fellow humans, natural phenomena, etc. that intrigue you even just a little bit. Write down a single question about these “curiosities”. When you get back home, or back to the office, identify one question and allow yourself the tiny slice of time it requires to google it.  After a few days of allowing yourself time to follow small curiosities, assess whether you’ve discovered something that surprised you, or gotten an idea out of nowhere for fixing that pesky problem, or just maybe your feeling a just a bit better about your life in general. If so, congratulations! You’ve created more meaning for yourself. 

  • Tuesday, June 21, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Communications Team Author: Kathleen Kerr 

    WHEN MY DAUGHTER was young, we often played outside. One spring, I remember chasing her around the trees, when I noticed the caterpillars and called a timeout so we could check them out. We watched them in the trees as they lay there looking as green as the new growth on the branches. I recall telling my daughter that one day this caterpillar will be a beautiful butterfly and able to fly from the ground to anywhere it wants to go. She paused to ponder what I was saying. Then she responded, “How sad that it will stop being a caterpillar.” What is the point of this story? There are two; 1) each of us placed meaning on the transition process and 2) neither of us questioned the transition, accepting it as a natural, normal function. Transitions are a natural, normal cycle of life AND the meanings we make about them determine how we experience the wonderous and often radical process of change.

    Free Macro Photography of Butterflies Perched on Lavender Flower Stock Photo

    Change occurs all around us, even within us, all the time. The meaning we assign to any changing situation is what drives our experience of it! However, when the meaning we make about something blocks our path forward, spending time in the “Space Between” is necessary for any growth to occur. It is like when the caterpillar spins itself into a silky chrysalis in preparation for its own transformation into a butterfly. New learning in the space between has multiple steps before transformation occurs. First, we must acknowledge and accept that something has ended. Trust that everything up until now has been in preparation for what is next. It is here in the space between where we begin to realize that choice is power. The power to choose meaning, for meaning is what allows us to see and experience things differently. Our thoughts and feelings offer insights to our beliefs and during times of transformation, it is important to re-examine our beliefs mean to us. For it is our beliefs that drive our thoughts and feelings – and thoughts and feelings are fuel that drive action. It is action that is the fuel needed to emerge from the chrysalis transformed into the butterfly we were always meant to be.

  • Tuesday, June 14, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Communications Team author Kymberly Dakin

    When’s the last time you had a “meaningful” day?

    Would you recognize one if you experienced it?

    The way you might react to this question makes complete sense to me. “Another THING I have to shoehorn into my day??? I’m already overextended by work and kids and aging parents and everything going on in our country now…

    "Why should I care about having a meaningful day???”

    Here’s why:

    A lack of meaning and purpose is often directly related to depression.

    Rates of depression and anxiety are skyrocketing in the young adult population in our country. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3.

    And in the workplace….

    Currently, only 36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work. And that’s at 20% globally.

    Only 13% of Americans consider their work to be truly meaningful.

    But before we tackle big overwhelming questions...

    ...about whether our LIVES are meaningful, let’s just start with a day or two of something that resembles meaning.

    A Discovery

    A year or so ago - during the pandemic of course, with all its many lessons and realizations, I came across a piece by Maria Shriver in her Sunday Paper weekly newsletter. She relayed the story of a friend who had arrived at her house for their daily walk with a large glass jar and a bag of marbles.

    He asked her how many days she thought she had left on the earth plane. And how many of them would she consider, at the end of her life, to be “Meaningful” days?

    He then invited her, at the end of each day, to consider whether the day had been meaningful, and if it was, she got to put a marble into the jar. He also encouraged her to consider exactly whatmade the day meaningful.

     That’s an interesting question...

    What makes a meaningful day for you? Is it the same as a good day? Maybe, but in my estimation, not really.

    Getting back my "Marbles"...

    I was inspired to fill my own glass jar with meaningful marbles. (I enjoy the metaphor of getting back any “marbles” that I may have lost along Life’s way!) I chose a vase that had belonged to my mother. This felt important. At the end of her life, my mom was filling her days with ever smaller loads of laundry, just so that she could feel like she was accomplishing something. It’s a sad recollection and I would like to transform it.

    Now how does this odd marble ritual relate to adult learning?

    If we look at the TD Capability Model, the second Knowledge & Skill statement is as follows:

    Knowledge of qualitative and quantitative data collection methods, techniques, and tools, for example observations, interviews, focus groups, surveys, and/or assessments.

    And I would add…Marble Jars. The qualitative assessment of whether the day was meaningful, and the quantitative assessment of the actual number of marbles that have hopefully built up, over time.

    I’ll ask again, "what makes your day meaningful?"

    I’ve discovered that for me, if I’ve learned something new, if I’ve captured a story to include in the book I’m writing, if I’ve taken the time to have an in-depth conversation with a loved one or a friend or an off-the-surface interaction with a stranger, if I've had a particularly revealing coaching session with a client, then I’ve had a meaningful day.

    Do you remember that video...

    ...that came out maybe a decade ago about having to fill a glass bowl with rocks as a demonstration in choosing priorities? The marble jar reminds me of that video - the discovery there being that if you fill up the bowl with the large rocks first, then the small stuff can fill in along the edges. But if you put in the small rocks first - representing all those tiny tasks we try to get out of the way before tackling the big stuff - then we have no room left for our real priorities.

    And the question then extends to those priorities…will any of them, at the end of our lives, be considered truly meaningful?

    In the Positive Intelligence coach program...

    ...we talk about the five Sage qualities - one of which, and, as it happens, the one I struggle with most, is The Navigator. The essence of The Navigator is the question in the previous paragraph

    “At the end of my life, will this project/task/relationship/obstacle be truly important?

    It’s way easier just to ignore that question and let my Hyper-Achiever saboteur stay in charge, convincing me that the more tasks I can check off my list in a day, the more accomplishments I can claim, then the more successful/important/worthy of love I will be.

    It’s summertime people!

    If we can’t slow down enough to insert some meaning into our days during this season, then maybe its time for some “To-Do’s to fall off the list.

    In these precious summer months, may you discover, along with the beach reads and the BBQ’s, the satisfying delights of getting back some of your "marbles" with a few meaningful days.

  • Tuesday, June 07, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This summer, as we take time to reflect and refresh and rejuvenate, the ATD Maine Chapter Blog is going to look at meaning.

    What gives you meaning? How do you know if your life is meaningful? If you've had a meaningful year? or month? week? or day?

    Emily Esfahani Smith's 2017 book, the Power of Meaning, suggests one needs these four factors:

    1. Belonging
    2. Purpose
    3. Storytelling
    4. Transcendence (no pressure)

    Starting with Belonging, she places a lot on our relationships: “Each of us has a circle of people—in our families, in our communities, and at work—whose lives we can improve,” she writes. “That’s a legacy everyone can leave behind.”

    Is that where you start in your search for meaning? Or do you recognize your path in Logotherapy, finding value in human life or Terror management theory (<--that's a name!) studying meaningfulness and its relationship to culture or does your meaning manifest through something else all together?

    We hope you'll take time this summer to read each week's blog post and interact with it--what does it bring up for you? What do you resist? What do you adopt? What do you simply abide?

    I'm looking forward to reading posts from other Communications Team members for perspective and insight, as well as your responses on LinkedIn for more!

  • Tuesday, May 31, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    That Memorial Day is the social/mental launch of summer is really interesting. It's a time to reflect on the past, on sacrifice, of difficulty and also a time to decorate (Remember it started as Decoration Day?) and to look forward to a summer of life--good weather, hardy plants, fresh local produce, animals out and about, vacations to recharge and refresh, and so much more!

    What are you reflecting on, decorating, and looking forward to today?

  • Tuesday, May 24, 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    This year, we've made it a priority in our chapter to hold Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Cultural Awareness in our chapter's planning process. We've had some really great programs with Halima McWilliams and the panel of Idella Glenn, Ryan Polly, and David Pease during which we were able to look at how we can approach DEI individually and within our organizations.

    Last week at the international conference, Talent Development professionals from around the country offered a number of workshops and resources you can find here.

    What are you doing in your journey?

    When do you feel not included? How can you include someone else?

    What diversity do you bring to a group? How can you make your groups more diverse--or recognize the diversity there?

    How does equity figure into your life and your groups? When do you feel it?

    When have you had accessibility challenges? How can you make something you do more accessible?

    How do you notice cultural awareness?

    What are your IDEAs?


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