FALL 2017
Consider investing in your team by holding a team-building event!

As we are enjoying the crisp Fall air, many of us are focused on year-end activities and the fast approaching holidays. During this hectic time of year, it can be personally beneficial to take time out and give thanks for the dedicated people  with whom  we work. So as you're scheduling year-end gatherings consider giving your team members the gift of time for reflection, professional development and continuous improvement.

One way to hit all of these goals is to schedule a team-building session. Most sessions can fit into a 3 to 4 hour time slot. Although the content and design of team-building sessions can vary, most will focus on:
  • Increasing self-awareness about the impact of our behaviors on others;
  • Appreciation of the diversity on the team and how to leverage this;
  • Commitment from the team on actions for continuous improvement;
  • Having fun and bonding!
Our favorite addition to a team-building session is the inclusion of an assessment instrument. These assessments can focus on a wide array of topics from personality preferences; communication styles; team dimensions/roles; conflict management and other more specific focuses. More ideas on team assessment instruments here.

Are you thinking, "I lead a virtual team so I can't bring everyone together for an in person team building session"? I suggest you consider the value of bringing your virtual team together annually not only for business planning but also to include some time for team-building. Every team, regardless of size, focus or type can benefit from participating in a well-designed team-building session. Although we do admit that leading virtual teams has its own unique challenges, best practices for leading effective teams tend to be the same for any team. Please see our top ten tips for leading virtual teams below. 

For information on how we can help your organization with its Organizational Development Consulting, Learning Solutions and Event Management needs, read on and be sure to visit us: www.donahue.umassp.edu/odls or drop me a note.

Dana L. Henry, ODLS Director
(617) 287-4068
News at ODLS!
How can we help you implement Workforce Planning? workforceplanning

Workforce Planning is based on the premise that a company can be staffed more efficiently if it knows its current workforce makeup and can forecast its talent needs as well as the actual supply of talent that is or will be available.

Based on your organization's existing strategic goals/plans and priority business outputs, we can bring together three of our business units to address your needs:


Applied Research & Program Evaluation can conduct a current state Workforce Evaluation.


Economic & Public Policy Research can orchestrate a Talent Forecast.


Organizational Development and Learning Solutions can bring together your organization's strategic plans, a detailed workforce evaluation along with an insightful talent forecast to develop a comprehensive approach to Workforce Planning.

Read the full article 
then contact Dana Henry for more information. 
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Recommended Vendor: Tara Hall, Graphic & Web Designvendortarahall
We are proud to recommend Tara Hall, an independent graphic and web design consultant. 
We have had the pleasure of working with her on many client projects over the past several years. 

She promptly replies to all of our inquiries for price quotes, seamlessly blends into a larger project team, and has always delivered high-quality outputs on time and within budget. Read below for more information about Tara or visit her website.
Tara works with clients in higher education, government, and for- and not-for-profit organizations on projects ranging from printed publications to website design. In her corporate career before freelancing, she worked as a web marketing strategist. Her years of marketing and design experience ensure that your project engages your audience while genuinely representing your organization.
Through a network of related professionals, Tara can offer additional services to complete your projects faster, including writing, editing, photography and web development. If you have a project that can benefit from creative and professional design, please feel free to contact her at hello@tarahall.me.
Client Spotlight: Department of Elementary and Secondary EducationDESE

We recently designed and delivered a leadership team "off-site" for the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

The goals for this 6-hour session were:
  • Team-building activities for the leadership team.
  • Leadership development activities to increase self-awareness of one's own leadership style.
  • Increased understanding of team dynamics and ability to effectively lead teams.
This session was designed as team-building in the morning based on the team's Meyers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) types and corresponding leadership styles. The afternoon focused on techniques to effectively lead teams including Noel Tichy's Leadership Judgment process, team decision-making and the Skill/Will model to help understand situational leadership. Customized mini challenge situations were inserted into the program based on a pre-session survey. These scenarios enabled participants to apply concepts and tools to real life challenges they were facing with their teams. The session ended with mini Action Planning time for the team to decide on next steps.

"This session brought the team together to discuss the steps we can take to improve our leadership styles, which would then lead to stronger teams within our unit. The discussions really helped put a new lens on different personality traits and our work; we are using these tools to help build more cohesive teams within our unit," Vani Rastogi-Kelly, Office of Public School Monitoring, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.
Contractor Spotlight: Chris Gatticontractorchrisgatti

Chris brings over 25 years of experience in business, education, training, leadership and organizational development to her practice. She founded and led a strategic training and consulting firm, CRG Associates, from 1996 - 2010.  Now, after serving in the role of Director of Organizational Development & Learning Solutions at UMass Donahue Institute for several years, she has returned to her independent practice. She now leads CRG Consulting, providing learning and consulting services in leadership development, team development, and trainer development. 

As an external consultant, she has worked for well-known international consulting and training organizations including: Zenger-Miller, AchieveGlobal, Interaction Associates, DDI and Advantage Performance Group. Her industry expertise includes government, financial services, property management, health care, manufacturing and education.

Chris is also qualified to deliver a variety of assessment instruments including the family of DiSC products, 5 Behaviors of a Cohesive Team, the MBTI, and the 20/20 Insight 360 Feedback and customizable assessment system.

Chris has been an active member of the national Association for Talent Development (ATD) organization for more than 20 years, and served in a variety of positions on the Central Mass ATD Board for the past 12 years, including serving as President and Program Chair. Her education credentials include a master's in training & human resource development from Boston University and she received her bachelor's of arts in education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, with a concentration in urban education and psychology.

"I am pleased to continue my relationship with ODLS as a contract consultant offering team assessments, interventions and team development programs," said Ms. Gatti.

Useful Resources
Top Ten Tips for leading a Virtual Teamvirtualteamtips

As organizations continue to expand and adapt to today's business needs, the number of people working in teams with colleagues and managers separated from them by many miles (and often different time zones) is growing. In fact, the number of those who are not self-employed and yet regularly work from home, has grown by 115% since 2005, nearly 10x faster than the rest of the workforce. (source: GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com)

In the past, new managers had what now seems like a luxury: being able to cut their teeth on traditional collocated teams. Groups of people, sitting down the hall from one another, who met up in conference rooms to hash out what they were trying to achieve and how to get there. Unfortunately, today's work environment no longer guarantees that learning curve. Many first-time managers find themselves assigned to a team of subordinates scattered far and wide.

Managing a virtual team can feel overwhelming. It requires you to navigate many different challenges that can have an impact on individual productivity, communication, goal alignment, consensus on priorities, managing conflict, trust and building relationships. These all have the potential to derail the effectiveness and performance of the team. Making a challenging situation more difficult is the fact that most organizations lack clear policies on how to manage virtually. 

Helpful Links Helpfullinks

Professional Development Vendors
  • Real Cool Productions: Full-service video, animation, and mixed media production company in Boston that services global businesses.
  • CommonLook: Rely on CommonLook to achieve compliance with PDF and document accessibility standards through a process called Remediation. 
  • Tara Hall: Independent graphic and web design consultant
Professional Development Resources
Professional Learning Associations
UMass Donahue Institute
Organizational Development & 
Learning Solutions
1 Beacon Street, Floor 31
Boston, MA 02108
(617) 287-4068
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