OPD Course Spotlight — The Power of Habit

“If you believe you can change if you make it a habit the change becomes real.” ― Charles Duhigg

Consider this: what would your life look like if you actually did the things you believe you ought to?

Research shows that approximately 40-45% of what we do every day isn’t a result of deliberate decisions but rather out of habit. Habits affect performance more than talent, intelligence or luck, but it can be a challenge to control our habits to get the outcomes we want.

Have you acquired new or different habits throughout all the changes brought on by COVID-19? As we navigate the next phase of our professional and personal lives, University of Southern California research psychologist, Wendy Wood, explains, “We’re going to be faced with two sets of habits: pre-pandemic and during the pandemic. And we’ll have to choose which to repeat.”

As daunting as that might sound, you’re now in a perfect position to decide which habits you want to maintain going forward and any new habits you want to form. MSU HR’s Organization and Professional Development (OPD) department’s workshop, The Power of Habit, can help.

The Power of Habit, is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal for October 13, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Check out a preview of what you can expect from The Power of Habit.

Based on the bestseller by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit will teach you how habits work and how to develop effective habits using simple and precise skills grounded in science and research. Changing undesirable habits and creating new, healthy ones is not an innate trait nor something dependent on grit and willpower. Rather, habit formation is a skill that can be developed and strengthened. Discover how to master your automatic routines with the belief that almost any habit can be reshaped once you understand how — and why — it was formed in the first place.

Ready to learn more? Register for an upcoming The Power of Habit session in the EBS Portal, or contact OPD at prodev@hr.msu.edu or 517-355-0813 for additional information.

OPD Course Spotlight – Crucial Conversations

Written by MSU HR Organization and Professional Development

Problem: We feel stuck or are not achieving what we want in a variety of areas, ranging from awkward or failing relationships to dysfunctional teams to cost, quality, or safety problems at work.

Solution: Learn how to identify the crucial conversations that are the key to organizational, team, and interpersonal success.

Crucial Conversations, a two-day live, online course from HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD), is currently open for registration in the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds to pay for this program.

Who can benefit from Crucial Conversations? Frankly…everyone.

MSU HR Senior Learning and Organization Development Specialist and Crucial Conversations instructor, Kathie Elliott, explains, “Crucial Conversations is for anyone who would like to understand first how our own viewpoint can make an issue seem worse than it is, then use a flexible template for holding results-oriented and respectful conversations with others.”

Attend OPD’s Crucial Conversations to learn the following skills and principles:

  • Identify the right problem to hold the right conversation.
  • Stay focused on what you really want when motives degrade.
  • Take control of your emotions instead of losing your cool.
  • Speak persuasively, not abrasively.
  • Watch for signs that safety is at risk and make it safe to talk.
  • Help others into dialogue when they’re feeling hurt, scared, or defensive.
  • Go from talking to getting results.

Whenever you’re not getting the results you want, it’s likely an important conversation either hasn’t happened or hasn’t been handled well. At the heart of healthy and high-performance organizations are people willing and able to hold crucial conversations.

So, what makes a conversation crucial? Three elements: strong emotions, high stakes, and opposing opinions.

Image of a triangle with the words "crucial conversations" in the center. On each side is a phrase: opposing opinions, strong emotions, and high stakes.

When conversations turn crucial, people tend to follow one of two ineffective paths: they either speak directly and abrasively to get the results they want but harm relationships, or they remain silent with the hope of preserving relationships only to sacrifice results. Crucial Conversations, grounded in decades of social science research, gives you powerful skills to step into disagreement—rather than over or around it—and turn disagreement into dialogue for improved relationships and results.

A recent Crucial Conversations participant shares, “The class was helpful because it gives a step-by-step way to communicate effectively that does not leave any room for ambiguity. I learned that it is all I can do to get out my side of the story, but it is crucial to get feedback from the other side so you can meet in the middle somewhere.”

Ready to learn the tools for promoting open, honest dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics? Register for an upcoming Crucial Conversations session in the EBS Portal, or contact prodev@hr.msu.edu for additional information.

Register for an Upcoming Roadmap to Retirement Course!

Is retirement on your radar for the next 1-2 years? First, we’d like to say thank you for your years of service to MSU! We want you to feel prepared for this next stage in your life. To support you, we offer courses, tools and resources to help you plan for your retirement, including the Roadmap to Retirement course.

“We know it can be overwhelming to think about all of the things to consider when retiring. Based on our years of experience helping MSU employees, we’ve designed the half-day Roadmap to Retirement course to provide you with some of the most important information you will need as you prepare for this exciting transition to your next chapter in life,” says Dan Mackey, Human Resources Manager and Retirement Administrator.

This course gives you a chance to ask retirement experts questions and covers a range of topics critical to your successful retirement, including:

  • Your MSU benefits in retirement
  • An overview of Social Security
  • Financial preparation tips for retirement.

This half-day course is free to MSU faculty and staff. There are two Roadmap to Retirement courses available on Thursday, January 23: a morning session from 8:30 am – Noon and an afternoon session from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m.

Ready to Register?

To register for Roadmap to Retirement, login to the EBS Portal and click on the My Career and Training tab, then the Courses for Employees at MSU tile. Find a complete list of available OPD courses on the HR website.

Retirement Resources on the HR Website

If you are unable to attend the Roadmap to Retirement course detailed above, there are a variety of webinars and online tools available on the HR website. The webinars on this page include the same presentation slides that are shared during the Roadmap to Retirement course.

Questions? We’re here to help! Contact the Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Events Round Up – August

Community Festivals 

Lansing Jazz Festival

Bath Days Festival

St. John’s Mint Festival

Renegade Theatre Festival

Balloon Festival


Tuesday, August 6

Farm to Table Chef’s Dinner

Tuesday, August 13

Garden Chefs from Garden to Table

Sunday, August 18

Murder Mystery Dinner


Thursday, August 8

Studio (IN) Process

Saturday, August 10

Memory Box Sculpture Workshop

Friday, August 16

ART Feast


Tuesday, August 6

Summer Music Series – Power 3  

Thursday, August 15

Music in the Garden: Harp Recital

Thursday, August 15

2019 State Convention Square & Round Dancers

Friday, August 23

Lansing Flow Fest

Friday, August 23

Tomas Esparza Blues Band

Family/Kid Friendly

Saturday, August 3

Family Day: Paths

Thursday, August 8

Moonlight Film Festival: Aquaman

Saturday, August 10

Celebration Cinema Sensory Showtimes: Dora and the Lost City of Gold

Saturday, August 10

Sundown Safari Camping

Tuesday, August 13

STEM Tuesday (Age 5 & Up)

Thursday, August 15

Bubble Day

Monday, August 19

Meet the Spartans

Wednesday, August 21

Stories for Sprouts and Seedlings

Thursday, August 22

Art Thursday (Age 5 & Up)

Friday, August 23

Impression 5: Sensory Friendly Hours


Saturday, August 10

Oars & Ales 2019

Saturday, August 10

Vinyasa Yoga at Woldumar

Friday, August 16

Howl at the Moon

Saturday, August 17

Red Paddle Kayak Race

Professional Development Opportunities:

Accounting in EBS

EBS Financial System Roles/Onboarding

Crucial Accountability

Supervisor Strategies for Performance Planning

Options for Using Your Educational Assistance Benefit

Are you an MSU support staff employee looking for professional development opportunities? There are a variety of ways for you to learn and grow in your career at MSU. If you find a course or learning opportunity you’re interested in, don’t forget you have access to Educational Assistance! This benefit offers financial assistance towards your professional development after you’ve worked at MSU for an equivalent of 12 full-time service months. If you work less than full-time, the benefit is prorated based on your employment percentage.

You may receive financial assistance for a variety of learning opportunities. For non-credit learning opportunities, you may have up to $800 per year to use towards registration fees. It must be considered job-related and from an approved institution/program to receive assistance. Some examples of learning opportunities you can use this benefit for include:

For credit courses, you can receive up to 14 credits per academic year. Your financial assistance level is determined by your union group, the type of course you’re taking (graduate or undergraduate), and where you’re taking the course (MSU or another university). The course must be considered job-related, degree-related, or career/professional development-related.

Find detailed information about Educational Assistance – including how to apply – on the HR website. Questions? We’re happy to help! Contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Please note: Academic Specialists have a program similar to Educational Assistance, please see the HR website for details.