OPD Course Spotlight – Everything DiSC®: Behavioral Styles at Work

Written by Andrea Williams, MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

“Eye-opening”

“Inspiring and fun”

“True game changer”

Everything DiSC®, a popular virtual training and personalized learning experience from HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD), has earned rave reviews from participants and is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for two upcoming dates:

The DiSC® program provides you with a pre-course, individual assessment — a tool powered by more than 40 years of research — which is then analyzed to deliver detailed information regarding your preferences and tendencies. The live, online portion of the course, led by OPD’s knowledgeable and experienced DiSC® facilitators, offers an opportunity to learn more about relating to others and how to utilize actionable strategies to help you improve your interactions and, ultimately, your performance.

In this OPD course, you will:

  • Gain insights into your own behaviors and those of others.
  • Understand and appreciate the work styles of others.
  • Learn how to communicate and persuade more effectively.
  • Create strategies for overcoming challenges when working with people of different DiSC® styles.

“Everything DiSC® can benefit everyone in an organization,” explains Carrie Galdes, MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist and DiSC® facilitator. “The program teaches participants to understand themselves and others while learning to appreciate the different priorities and values each person brings to the workplace.”

DiSC® participants have cited everything from decreased stress to increased productivity to an improved work environment as examples of the program’s positive results.

Angela Levack Michael, Associate Director for MSU Recreational Sports and Fitness Services, notes, “DiSC® training helped me see my colleagues from a different point of view. Understanding their personality styles allowed me to assess my communication style and gear interactions towards their strengths.”

DiSC® for Teams

OPD also hosts unit-specific DiSC® sessions, which can improve engagement, collaboration, and overall quality of a team and organization.

Lisa Duffey, Executive Staff Assistant and Graduate Program Assistant in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, shares, “Our team took advantage of the work-from-home situation to do some professional development and team building by taking the DiSC® assessment and having OPD help us understand the results. We learned about our own behavioral tendencies and those of our coworkers as well as ideas about how to facilitate teamwork and approach each other when things are awkward. It was an excellent opportunity for growth as individuals and as a team.”

Interested in learning more? Register for an upcoming Everything DiSC®: Behavioral Styles at Work session in the EBS Portal, or contact prodev@hr.msu.edu or 517-355-0813 to schedule a DiSC® program for your department.

Make a Plan During America Saves Week

America Saves Week (Feb. 22-26, 2021) is an annual event that encourages you to make a plan to increase your savings and improve your financial situation by utilizing your workplace retirement plan and the tools and resources they provide. Both of MSU’s retirement vendors, Fidelity and TIAA, have resources and tips on saving money, getting out of debt, and planning for retirement with live webinars, courses for financial literacy, and other tools. Be sure to review their resources on preparing for financial emergencies or managing unexpected expenses, which you may find especially useful during this difficult and uncertain time. 

Fidelity Resources

Fidelity is offering online workshops on a variety of topics including creating a budget, paying off debts, managing unexpected events and expenses, taking the first step to investing, preparing for retirement, and more. Fidelity members should consider registering for sessions (see link for details) that may be useful to your family’s current financial needs. If you can’t make the online workshops, check out this on-demand workshop called Taking Control: 3 Ways to Start Feeling Good About Your Finances. Other tools and calculators provided by Fidelity to their members can be found here.

Additionally, find resources on health and financial emergencies, building your financial “immune system” and emergency savings that are available for everyone.

TIAA Resources

TIAA’s Goal Planner webpage offers calculators and resources on how to save for things outside of your retirement plans, such as emergency funds, vacations, a home, and more. Additionally, TIAA has a financial goal planning PDF that allows you to track your money in detail. Use these tools to map your income and expenses, write down your goals, and match them to a time frame to complete them. 

If you’re struggling with debt, TIAA’s debt calculator tool will help you evaluate your current situation and then offer resources and tips to help. Additionally, their Retirement Checkup tool allows you to create a projection of how much income is needed in retirement.

Schedule a Virtual Consultation with Fidelity or TIAA

Both Fidelity and TIAA offer virtual appointments with financial consultants and encourage you to set up an appointment with them to ask any questions you have at no additional cost as part of your MSU retirement plan. Set up an appointment with your  TIAA consultant here or set up an appointment with your Fidelity consultant here. 

For general questions about retirement, visit the HR website or contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434. For questions about your specific retirement plans, please contact your retirement vendor directly.

The Three Steps to Positive Personal Accountability

Written by Andrea Williams, MSU HR Organization & Professional Development

When many of us think of accountability, we associate it with negative connotations such as stress or even fear. We’re used to hearing about “accountability” as a disciplinary measure when something’s gone wrong. Because of this, many of us don’t understand what accountability actually entails, why it’s important, or where it starts.

The first step toward fostering positive, personal accountability, as well as a culture of accountability in the workplace, is to understand and redefine what true accountability means. Accountability doesn’t mean punishment. Rather, accountability is an empowering factor, not a consequence, and involves a willingness to accept responsibility for your own actions. In other words, making clear commitments that — in the eyes of yourself and others — have been kept.

Accountability vs. Responsibility

Although they’re sometimes used interchangeably, it’s important to make the distinction between accountability and responsibility. Having clear definitions of responsibilities in the workplace is essential but going a step further to be personally involved ensures better results. When you make the choice to go beyond your responsibilities with feelings of ownership, involvement, and engagement, you are then in a position of personal and positive accountability.

Accountability is a broader concept than responsibility — it’s something you do to yourself, not something that someone does to you. As such, accountability starts with you. No matter what your role at MSU, when you work toward personal accountability, you model the positive behaviors you want to see in your team and organization.

Create a Personal Accountability Framework

Accountability is not a one-time or occasional thing; it’s an everyday activity that applies to and benefits everyone. Take a simple and positive approach to establish ongoing personal accountability by following these three steps.

Step #1: Set SMART, HARD Goals

To begin, ask yourself the questions: What are my priorities? What am I passionate about? What do I want?

Establish a definite direction and clear, measurable goals that align with what’s important to you to keep motivated and achieve better follow-through. Ensure your goals are formulated to achieve results by using a combination of the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely) and HARD (Heartfelt, Animated, Required and Difficult) goal-setting frameworks described in this When SMART Meets HARD: Setting Goals that Matter article.

Step #2: Develop an Action Plan

Once you have established a SMART, HARD goal, develop an action plan to bring it to fruition.

  1. Identify limiting factors – It could be a shortage of time or resources, a lack of buy-in, or any other number of issues. Be realistic about any limitations and prepared with potential workarounds.
  2. Remove obstacles – Very few obstacles are insurmountable. Think first about the biggest obstacle you’ll likely face in reaching your goal. How can you overcome it?
  3. Divide your goal into subgoals – Utilize the SMART and HARD frameworks for your subgoals to give yourself the best chance of success.
  4. Plan actions for each subgoal – What are the specific, actionable steps you’ll take to reach each subgoal?

Step #3: Manage Priorities and Energy to Achieve Your Goals

It’s essential to recognize that time and energy are finite resources, and it benefits you to intentionally prioritize how you use both. When moving forward on your path to personal accountability, categorize the tasks that will help you complete your goals into three categories and assess the time and energy they require:

  1. Maintenance tasks – These are the routine tasks that must be done for your day to run smoothly (e.g., answering messages, maintaining your calendar). Avoid becoming overinvolved in these tasks or becoming distracted while doing them. Develop strategies to help. For example, schedule specific times during the day when you check and respond to your messages and have an effective system to keep information in order.
  2. People tasks – Whether it’s a meeting, interview, or social interaction with a colleague, these activities often require high emotional energy, so be mindful to pace yourself.
  3. Creative and analytical tasks – These can be anything from time spent developing a presentation to researching suppliers to analyzing data. This work typically requires significant time and energy, so ensure you plan out sufficient periods for these tasks during the days and timeframes that make the most sense for your work style and preferences.

Follow-through is a critical component of personal accountability. To avoid stalling out before your goals and commitments are realized, protect your time and prioritize activities that keep your physical, emotional, and mental energy reserves high.

Interested in Learning More?

Personal and team success are closely linked to positive accountability. When you take actionable steps to demonstrate personal accountability, it can generate a strong impact on not just performance and results, but also your personal and team satisfaction. Find additional resources around the topic of accountability, including short videos and courses, using MSU’s free online resource, elevateU.

Sources

Skillsoft Ireland Limited. Developing a Personal Accountability Framework. Retrieved February 10, 2021 from https://www.inc.com/gordon-tredgold/7-truths-about-accountability-that-you-need-to-kno.html

Skousen, Tracy (2016, April 12). Responsibility vs. Accountability. Retrieved February 10, 2021 from https://www.partnersinleadership.com/insights-publications/responsibility-vs-accountability/

Tredgold, Gordon (2017, September 14). 7 Truths About Accountability that You Need to Know. Retrieved February 11, 2021 from https://www.inc.com/gordon-tredgold/7-truths-about-accountability-that-you-need-to-kno.html

Mental Health Resources for Employees

Whether you’re a parent working from home while taking care of kids, an employee on the frontlines, or someone dealing with grief and loss, everyone’s mental health continues to be affected by the pandemic. While it can be difficult to ask for help, there are a variety of resources available to assist you as an MSU employee.

Health4U Resources

The following MSU Health4U virtual courses and meetups are available (some require registration):

  • MSU Grief and Loss Support: Specialized counselors facilitate weekly on-line support sessions on Tuesdays for those experiencing grief and loss.
  • Naming and Navigating Ambiguous Loss: Join this webinar on Friday, Feb. 19 to learn about the idea of ambiguous loss and unresolved grief, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Breaking Free from the Monkey Mind: This is a four-week course beginning on March 3, based on the book “Don’t Feed the Monkey Mind: How to Stop the Cycle of Anxiety, Worry and Fear” by Jennifer Shannon, LMFT.
  • Essential Skills for Navigating Difficult Times: The purpose of this eight-week course is to build emotional resilience and psychological flexibility skills to help you navigate the work/life challenges we face, especially as our work and home life have been combined.

Employee Assistance Program Counseling Services

The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a confidential counseling service provided at no cost to MSU faculty, staff, retirees, graduate student employees, and their families. Learn how to make an appointment on the EAP website. These appointments are offered virtually through Zoom.

Teladoc and Best Doctors Services

As a reminder, benefit-eligible employees also have access to Teladoc and Best Doctors Behavioral Health Navigator for mental health services. Teladoc offers 24/7 access to a healthcare professional via web, phone or mobile app for employees enrolled in an MSU health plan. Employees and their dependents over 18 can also receive medical care for behavioral health (depression, anxiety, grief counseling, addiction, etc.). If deemed medically necessary, a prescription will be sent to the pharmacy of your choice. The Behavioral Health Navigator can help you get a second opinion on any medical opinions and access to coaching and online educational tools.

Your mental health is a priority, and we want to ensure you are aware — and can take advantage — of the many mental health resources available to MSU employees.

Organizational Change as a Pathogen: An Analogy for Leaders

Written by Sharri Margraves, HR Associate Director for Organization and Professional Development.

As we continue to navigate the current normal, we must also move forward. Budget constraints, retirements, realignments and other changes are just a part of life in every organization, even in non-pandemic times. Even though changes may be substantial, we retain people, systems, processes, facilities, and our shared understanding to create our new reality. Change may be rapid, but generally, it is also incremental.

In the article The University Immune System: Overcoming Resistance to Change an unusual, yet useful, analogy is described of change in complex systems. Think of implementing change in organizations in a similar context as the immunological response to a pathogen introduced to the human body. No relationship exists between these two systems on the surface; however, the parallels can illustrate the difficulties of introducing and making change stick.

Reacting to Change

As change is introduced within your team, staff and faculty may resist change, often affecting operational and financial realities. Even when a change is likely to produce benefits, there will be resistance expressed in various ways. Change is relative to each individual and how individual team members affect the system in their response to change. The resistance lies within the innate response of the system to change, and this resistance has been referred to as the “institutional immune system.”

In comparison, an invading pathogen needs to infect a host to carry out its mission, and the body will then marshal its forces to fight against this change. In an organizational sense, change is that threat, and the people in the system can form a response that reacts or overreacts to a threat, be it real or perceived. This response to the threat—the new idea or change—is designed to maintain the status quo and reduce unknowns and unproven risks.

Effective Leadership in Times of Change

There are many barriers present in an organization preventing the adaption of change. We can overcome these barriers—these intrusions to the system—by anticipating and being prepared. Have several strategies at the ready to foster acceptance of the change intended to improve the organization. These strategies include:

  • Improving leadership development skills around change and communication.
  • Recognizing and focusing attention on effective communication.
  • Effective rewards for new expectations.
  • Pacing/timing changes realistically.

Leaders should take the time to plan strategies for individuals’ varied responses—those who are eager, those who take a “wait and see” approach, and those who are slow to accept change. These strategies will help reduce the threat of change and improve adaptation.

Follow the steps below to support the implementation and acceptance of change within your team:

  1. Plan for change as a system of people, process, and culture.
  2. Embrace resistance as natural and not personal.
  3. Give the “why.”
  4. Establish open, two-way communication.
  5. Celebrate the wins, regardless of how small.

Collectively, we will not be returning to our previous, pre-COVID state, and attempting to do so would hardly signal progress toward the future. Resistance is a natural defense mechanism. Your challenge is to be mindful of different strategies and appeals for the different members of your team to effectively work with the resistance and move forward together.

Source:

Gilley, A., Godek, M., & Gilley, J. W. (2009). The University Immune System: Overcoming Resistance to Change. Contemporary Issues in Education Research, 2(3), 1-6.

Winter Events Round-up: Virtual and Socially Distanced Campus Activities

Are you looking for socially distanced or virtual activities to attend in the coming weeks? From virtual performances to hiking trails, the following campus events will help keep you and your family entertained during the winter weeks ahead:

  1. The Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum has four new exhibitions that are free and open to the public with social distancing and enhanced safety measures in place, including daily limited spots available. Please reserve your free tickets here.
  2. Hike the trails at the Kellogg Biological Station Bird Sanctuary! Enjoy the beautiful scenery as you make your way through the trails, which are opened during all four seasons. Additionally, check out their calendar of virtual events, including their upcoming Birds and Coffee Chat, Winter Twig Identification Zoom Workshop, and Nature Drawing: Blending Art and Science.
  3. The Wharton Center has a variety of virtual performances and education and engagement activities for both adults and kids.
  4. The MSU Library has tons of virtual events available for registration. These upcoming events look particularly interesting: Special Collections: Tunnel Books, Embroidery Maker Meetup, Super Science: The Legacy of Science in Superhero Comics, Special Collections: Fortune Telling, and Introduction to Gardening.
  5. The MSU Community Music School is offering online programs available for both adults and kids. Click on the program link to find all kinds of classes from private lessons to individual and group music therapy.
  6. The WorkLife Office has an extensive calendar of virtual events, including an IPF Home Improvement Series.
  7. You can still learn about and experience insects and other arthropods at the MSU Bug House with their two-part video tour.
  8. The MSU Health4U website has a variety of courses you can register for, including a virtual 5K run/walk training program, culinary cooking and concepts – curbside pickup, rest with music, and many more.
  9. SPARTANfit is offering a virtual, free five-week couch to 5k training program starting March 29 (register by March 24). You’ll get weekly workouts, tips and support to help you stay on track and accomplish your goals. The program ends just in time for the Spartan Arbor Day 5K on May 1.

We hope you all will remain safe and healthy and continue to practice social distancing until we are able to see each other on campus again. In the meantime, wear a mask, wash your hands often, and enjoy these campus activities.