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Education and Communications Pathways and Pitfalls

“Communications help to keep people feeling included in and connected to the organization…give people information, and do it again and again.” — William Bridges, Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change

o You need to establish the few core messages you want to communicate throughout your organization. Use any and every communication channel you can to review, remind, and reinforce them. These include:

o Newsletters

o Videos

o Voice and e-mail updates and dialogues

o Recognition and celebration events

o Annual shareholder reports

o Annual improvement reports

o Visits to, from, and among customers and partners

o Special improvement days and fairs that allow teams to display their activities and results

o Orientation and training sessions

o Teleconferences

o Intranet sites

o Toll-free hot lines and telephone information centers

o Get out and talk to people. Multiple communication channels can and should be widely used to reinforce and support your core messages. But the best way to communicate is in person. The most effective communication approaches are like political campaigns. Leaders are out actively “pressing the flesh” and standing up to present their change and improvement themes and core messages. During times of major change or refocus, we’ve seen senior managers at some large organizations spend well over one hundred days per year delivering these vital communication messages. That’s leadership.

o Develop your “stump speech” or “talking points” among your management team before any of you heads out to give your version to the rest of the organization. This generally includes messages around your Change Drivers, Focus and Context (vision, values, and purpose), key goals and priorities, change/improvement plans, and such.

o Get people together. Get teams together weekly, monthly, and certainly no less than quarterly. That’s especially important for management, operational, or improvement teams that aren’t in the same building. At my previous consulting company, The Achieve Group, we found frequent face-to-face communications were the most important when we could least afford the time or the money to hold them. We continually find that getting the key players together can turn around most misunderstandings, mistrust, and misdirection. BUT, and here’s the “big if” – only if the meetings are well run.

o Develop highly visible scoreboards, bulletin boards, or voice mail, electronic or printed announcements of progress toward team and organization goals and priorities.

o Share all core strategic measurements (including “confidential” financial, and operating data) with everyone in your organization. Treat people like full-fledged business partners and they’ll act that way. But don’t snow them under with a blizzard of meaningless reports and numbers. Train everyone how to read these data. Show them how to relate the measurements to their daily operations and improvement activities.

o Team education, learning, and communication can be kept simple. In my early management years I got a lot of mileage from having my team sit around a conference table reading, discussing, and debating selected book passages or articles. This dialogue established a common values and knowledge base that enhanced mutual understanding, teamwork, communications, and context for further training and work together.

o Establish an internal “best practices and good tries” communication system, clearinghouse, or network. A free flow of information and active communications is the lifeblood of a learning organization. Use videos, visits, fairs, Intranet sites, voice and e-mail, meetings, reports, hot lines, teleconferences, information technologies, and the like.

o Get feedback from your customers and partners on the characteristics of your education and communication strategies, systems, and practices. How many communication channels are you using? Are they clogged or working well? What others could you be using?

o When you’re sick of repeating the same core messages over and over again is about the time that people in your organization are just starting to hear you. First they didn’t understand. Then they didn’t believe. If you stop repeating yourself now, they’ll conclude that you weren’t serious after all.

o Just as a marketing professional would never rely on just one marketing channel, don’t rely too heavily on the management hierarchy to deliver your core messages. It’s full of filters and personal agendas that twist and distort your messages. Yet you can’t go around your managers. They need to be central in communicating, reinforcing, and repeating your core themes. So start with them and give them that responsibility. But don’t assume it will be delivered as you wanted. That’s why personal meetings and multiple communication channels are so important.

o Keep moving your best people to the teams, positions, and parts of the organization that will spread their experience and leadership as broadly as possible. It’s also a great way to continue their development.

o Reward and thank people who bring you bad news before it’s festered into a catastrophe.

Trust and communication levels go together. Find out how high your organization or team trust levels are. If they’re low find out what’s causing the problem. This may be painful. The source of misunderstandings and mistrust is often in the leaders’ behavior.

Acupuncture Education and Career Opportunities

Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades: Technical Education and Training Provider in Palawan

PPSAT is one of the 125 Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Technology (TESDA) Institutions in the Philippines. It provides competency-based training programs and strengthens linkages with partners to develop competent workers for local and global employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for quality life. The school is an Accredited Assessment Center and Venue for various qualifications; a Regional Site for Language Skills Programs since 2008. It offers 16 Qualifications registered under the Unified TVET Program Registration and Accreditation System (UTPRAS). In December 2011, the school offered Training Methodology Program for the trainers handling TVET qualifications.

In October, 2011, the school has been accredited with the Asia Pacific Accreditation and Certification Commission (APACC) and a recipient of a bronze level award. This shows that its physical resources, faculty, curriculum, governance and management, are as good as those in the Asia Pacific Region’s TVET schools. The award received motivates its faculty and staff to continue working for the attainment of school’s vision, mission and objectives; as it belongs to the first 21 schools of the 125 to submit for accreditation.

As of these days, the school does not only cater high school graduates. It accommodates college graduates who wants to be technically trained, college undergraduates who dropped from school due to financial constraints, military personnel endorsed by officials from the Armed Forces to take programs prior to their retirement. It likewise recognizes high school undergraduates who have prior learning based on experience and graduates of the Alternative Learning System.

The Puerto Princesa School of Arts and Trades (PPSAT) is located along Rafols Road, Barangay Sta. Monica, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Philippines. The school was created under Republic Act 7928 on March 1, 1995 to offer technology programs to the high school graduates who cannot afford to take a four-year college program. It started offering a two-year program in Construction and Electronics Sector. On March, 2003, it had been identified as a Center of Technical Excellence with Machining as its Distinctive Area of Competence. The school was one of the 41 school-beneficiary of Technical Education and Skills Development projects funded by Asian Development Bank. This leads to more programs registered and opened to serve its clients.

Currently, the school strengthens its partnership with Local Government Units, Non-Government Units and industries to meet graduates supply and employment demand of the country. It closely coordinates with the TESDA-Palawan Provincial Office and other Offices for quality delivery of services for customer satisfaction.

As of 2011, PPSAT had produced 2,413 graduates, and 64% are already working. It serves more out-of-school youths who aspire for technical jobs in the Philippines and abroad.

© 2013 March Clarissa C. Posadas