April 2015 - In This Issue:
80% of a staff's contribution at the work place is Communication. Stacy Delaney and Stacy Leitner along with the employees at the City of Rancho Cordova understand this fact and practice it well.
Q&A:  Hiring
New Employees 
Q:  We know we hire experienced staff, which permits us to limit our training and have a strong team player when they start with the company. We give all our employees the same orientation however; our new hire turnover rate is higher than expected. Once an employee has been on the job for a year our turnover is low. Can you give us some suggestions we might consider when hiring new employees.


- Keith, Legal Industry
A: Here are some tips on how you can be one of the employers that improve the turnover rate during the first year and save everyone time and the company money. Motivational Manager published an article that provided tips for "Improving The Odds That New Hires Will Take Root." In the article, it stated studies show the workers most likely to leave an organization are those who just arrived, your new hires.

✔  Define your needs. If every employee receives the same introduction to your organization - Big mistake. While some aspects of the orientation should be the same for everyone, for instance, distribution of the employee handbook, showing them around the building, or introducing the management team, the other parts of the orientation should be personalized. Look at the job description of your new hire and make a list of the things they must know in order to quickly get up and running. Then determine how you can provide for each person's specific needs.

Remember, just because someone is highly qualified for a job does not mean they know your culture, processes, style of presentation, etc. 

 ✔  Ask for feedback. The best way to learn whether you're welcoming, and the orientation is accomplishing its purpose, is by asking new employees for their feedback immediately (one to two weeks) after they join the team and then again three and six months later. Questions might be - What information provided was useful? What wasn't? How are you doing? Are we meeting your expectations? Do you feel you are meeting our expectations? What can be done better next time we have a new hire? Don't forget to thank them for sharing their point of view with you. 

 ✔  Assign a mentor. More and more companies are assigning mentors to new employees. You will want the mentor to have, or have had, similar duties to those of your new hire. The mentor can help shepherd the new employee through the process and introduce them to others who may be of assistance. Use orientation as an opportunity to bring these people together. Just be sure you pair the new hire with staff who are positive role models. 

 ✔  Allow sufficient time. It takes time to adjust to a new culture, new people and new processes and procedures. I have seen clients that want to show the new employee where the restrooms are and then want the new employee to sit at their desk and get the job done. Don't expect new hires to become perfectly molded to your organization after a single orientation session. Orientation is a beginning. It's important you follow up after the initial welcome with ongoing feedback and reinforcement and that you give your hires sufficient time to adapt to their new environment. The more time given in the beginning will pay great dividends long term. 

 ✔  Promote ongoing development. Training shouldn't end with orientation. Demonstrate your commitment to professional growth by scheduling new hires for follow-up training at regular intervals. Engage a coach and/or set up leadership training for your staff and ask the new hires to participate. If they see you are committed to them, they will typically remain committed to you.


Communicate Effectively by Understanding Your Strengths

Learning to identify different communication styles is essential if we want to develop effective communication skills. Knowing yourself first is critical to effectively communicating with others. Once you have learned your strong attributes, you will better understand and appreciate others. Learning who you are will assist in speaking with others and meeting "their" communication needs.

We stated in our April 2014 issue, and remains just as current today, that studies have shown "Technical Skills" only represent 25% contribution into our performance (this is assuming we are qualified for the position). The remaining 75% comes from "Personal and Communication Skills" including: Decision making, assertiveness, authenticity, commitment to grow, enthusiasm, judgment, energy level, resourcefulness, honesty, integrity, optimism, persistence, initiative and knowing how to connect with people quickly and easily.

Effective leadership in business requires collaboration, consensus, communicating for results and shared leadership. For an executive to be successful, which in turn provides the organization with a strong operations and market presence, there are many skills a leader needs to master, and communication skills is a critical part of being successful.

We are unique and there is no one else like us, yet we don't always know ourselves as well as we could. Knowing what traits make us feel confident, knowing how we expect others to communicate with us and what situations frustrate us is an important awareness for communicating with others. At different times of the day, in different situations, and with different energy levels, we operate from various dimensions - yes our own unique dimensions.

Below are very limited and basic dimension styles. Again, knowing our own communication style and understanding other styles and how to speak to them is a win-win situation. When speaking with the next person you visit with you might consider the following:
  • Are they direct and bottom line people? If so, they may be looking for you to be direct (to the point) in conversations.
  • Do they want input, general consensus and discussion from the group? If so, they may want everyone to share their opinion in a friendly diplomatic conversation.
  • Do they like to probe, problem solve and are great planners? If so, they may be looking for the rationale of what is being discussed and need time for alternative planning.
  • Are they analytical, like consistency and following rules? If so, they may need time to process, set priorities, sort the facts and look at the risk before sharing their decision with you.
There are of course many other characteristics to learn about, therefore knowing how people react to "words," and what their dimension needs are, will allow you to be successful in obtaining your wants. Remember we are not the same all day long, and knowing who we are throughout the day is helpful in reading others.

Here are a few other tips to consider:
  • When speaking, learn not to speak too fast. If you do so, some individuals will not be able to understand you and others may wonder why you are so nervous. However, if you speak too slowly, they may continually interrupt you or their minds may wonder. Learn the right pace - a pace that suggests you are composed and confident.
  • It is always helpful to consider your surroundings and speak at a volume appropriate to the setting. You may need to speak softly when speaking to one or two individuals while louder when speaking to a group - avoid speaking in a monotone style.
  • Deliver your point in a simple style using clear statements that your audience will understand. When you use words, which some in the group may not understand, it creates confusion, and you may not get the understanding you desire. In addition, don't use acronyms or any given word unless you know the meaning and how it should be applied.
  • If you find people asking you to repeat yourself and you know they can hear you then perhaps they feel you are inarticulate. If this is the case, you will need to learn how to enunciate clearly. The difficulty with this situation is people may feel that if you have no clarity in speech then you have no clarity of thought.
  • Our body language can either send a positive or negative message. It is important to be aware of your gestures, expressions and that the words being said match how you want the message delivered. If they don't, you may be sending a mixed message.
I could go on and on about communication styles and tips for you to gain trust, respect and be thought of as a good communicator. Contact us and let us visit with you in regards to communication.

Remember, as I tell my clients "We are not who we think we are, we are the perception of others."


Board Room
Recruiting for Board Membership

It's Spring time - may be time to do some spring cleaning and recruiting! I have seen boards scrambling to recruit new board members to meet bylaw requirements for membership and quorums at meetings because they have someone who just termed off the board, or experienced a recent resignation. This panic situation does not produce the best board members. A number of boards have identified a few current board members with whom they are not satisfied because: The board members do not read board packages before the meeting, they don't contribute to or attend board meetings, they may not be participating in committees and in the case of a nonprofit are not personally supporting the organization financially or fundraising.


Understanding the importance of board membership, the mission of the organization and skill sets aligned with the needs of the board are critical to a board's success. Board membership is not to be taken lightly as there are legal governance responsibilities to the organization in addition to meeting the needs of the community.


Higher legal standards have been set for board governance requiring boards to operate more effectively, efficiently and with greater transparency.


Recruiting should be done through a Governance Committee or the Executive Committee - depending on the committee structure adopted by the organization. Nominating Committees in general have more recently been incorporated into one of the two committees mentioned. The appropriate committee should be strategically recruiting through the use of a desired prospect grid and upon recruitment the new board member should participate in a strong orientation process. Remember, the board members determine the strategic direction, have ultimate legal responsibility, ensure financial longevity, and assess the organization's CEO or Executive Director.


Identifying the needs of the board makes recruiting much easier and strengthens not only the board but the organization as well. Looking at the attributes currently represented and identifying what is needed through a grid or matrix of skills, diversity, gender, geographic location, age and other strategic priorities are important when selecting board members. Be aware that an individual who may have strong skills in a particular area may not want that job (committee) because they do it all day at work.


Once you identify the prospects for your board, it is wise to have them complete a board questionnaire and ask them to review the board job descriptions. The documents can be as specific or as general as the culture of the board however; the more specific the less open to interpretation. The documents should be used throughout the recruiting process so the prospect understands the expectations should they become a board member and the board has the opportunity to better understand the prospect. Board member qualifications on paper are important, especially in how the qualities line up with the grid/matrix, but personal attributes are just as important - maybe even more important.


It's Okay To Wait For The Best Person When Recruiting Board Membership.


Notable Nonprofits
Supporting Sacramento's Nonprofits is important to us.
I am proud to say I am a member of the Morton Golf Foundation Board. This Board's mission is to provide funding for healthy, outdoor recreational programs for the youth, disabled and underserved communities of Sacramento. Their programs help build lasting personal relationships while seamlessly instilling life's core values.

Because of its innate nature, golf promotes the values of courtesy, honesty and respect for others. Golf also teaches sportsmanship, taking personal responsibility, perseverance and the building of self-confidence all while having fun.

Tom Morton, President of the Foundation states, "There are many things to be excited about as our outreach, grants and scholarships to the local underserved and disabled community grows. Whether it is to our benefactors that help people with special needs, those that are reaching less privileged children through after school programs, rehabilitating stroke survivors or giving scholarships to further educational opportunities of our community's youth, we can be proud of the impact that is being made."

If you love the game of golf as well as enriching lives, please help spread the word about the impact the Morton Golf Foundation is having on our community. Any help you are able to give to further these efforts is greatly appreciated.

For additional information about the Morton Golf Foundation, please contact Marketing and Events Coordinator Jane Siebers at 916.808.0969 or jsiebers@hagginoaks.com.

I recommend you look at two fun events benefiting the Morton Golf Foundation. One event is the KNCI Golf and Guitars event being held at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex on Tuesday, May 19th, 2015. If you enjoy Nashville country artists, the show at Haggin Oaks is a must. Each year it has gotten bigger and bigger, last year there were approximately 2,500 people in attendance. Get your tickets at Haggin Oaks.

The second event is The Putting Party held in the fall. It's a Family-putting contest event. Yes, take the whole family, take the little ones, take the teenagers, mom, dad and grandparents. You don't play golf - no problem, the last two years some of our non-golfers made a hole in one. Get more information and updates at www.mortonfoundation.org.

The B Street Theatre has been recognized as one of Northern California's top professional theatres. Seven new plays are presented each season to approximately 75,000 people. In addition, the B Street Theatre Family Series produces a four-show season of professional theatre presenting plays for school field trips during the week and the general public on weekends. The theatre has internship programs and their newest B3 series has a more serious and dramatic focus.

Not everyone knows the history of the B Street Theatre or the thousands of kids they have touched through special programs - not only in schools but hospitals as well. These programs allow children to be creative - think about dreams and aspirations and then share these things through their writing.

For more than 25 years, B Street Theatre has been delighting audiences of all ages. Founded by actor Timothy Busfield in 1986 as Theatre for Children, Inc., the company's first focus was a touring theatre company for children. The B Street Theatre School Tour (formerly known as Fantasy Theatre) was and continues to be extremely popular in the community - performing 12 times per week, 38 weeks a year. The School Tour has received critical acclaim by the media, educators and most importantly, the estimated 3.6 million California children (currently about 200,000 per year) who've attended performances. For many children, The B Street Theatre School Tour is their only exposure to live theatre.

In 1991, in an effort to broaden the success of B Street Theatre School Tour, Timothy Busfield and his brother Buck Busfield created B Street Theatre. Most of the plays produced each year are world, national, West Coast or regional premieres. B Street Theatre has enjoyed stunning success since its inception, most notably growing its season subscription from 385 in 1996 to nearly 7,000 subscribers for the Mainstage Series.

Innovative productions are performed in an intimate setting for adults and the children's theatre is fun and whimsical, however they are in need of a new home. I am excited to share with you their plans to enrich the community and bring great joy to children. Please visit bstreettheatre.org/new-theatre and see the wonderful dream that will come alive - let's help by making a donation to their building fund.

To learn more about Jeanne Reaves Consulting's community involvement and how we support nonprofit organizations, visit our website. >>

Jeanne Reaves

We can help you reach your highest potential.
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