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

Written by Andrea Williams, MSU HR Organization and Professional Development


“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 May 5, 2021, from 8:30 a.m. to Noon.

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.

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.


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

Upcoming Virtual Professional Development Courses

Whether you’ve jumped into the new year with a list of goals to work on or need a little inspiration, HR Organization and Professional Development (OPD) has a variety of online, live courses to help you. Find a list of upcoming courses sorted by topic below. You’ll see some familiar course names now offered in a virtual format, alongside some newer courses like Managing Employees Remotely and The Power of Habit.


Customer Service

Human Resources



  • Managing Employees Remotely – January 20: Shifting to remote work has required changes in our perspectives and approaches to work, and successfully managing employees in this environment means strengthening new and different skills. Learn more about how to do just that in this new, one-hour virtual course.


  • Query Studio – January 27: Query Studio is an ad hoc reporting tool that can be used to produce queries against enterprise data (HR and Finance) as well as additional data that has been added to the dimensional models in MSU’s enterprise data warehouse.
  • Records Management and Retention at MSU – February 25: Learn the rules, regulations, and strategies to help manage university records. Class will cover both electronic and print documents.

Personal Development

  • Everything DiSC: Behavior Styles at Work – January 14: Everything DiSC® helps you build more effective working relationships based on an understanding of different behavioral styles.
  • The Power of Habit – February 23: In this course you will learn how habits are created and how to replace undesirable habits with productive ones. You will learn how to spot your habit loop, turn bad days into good data, and create habits that get the results you want.

You can find all the current virtual Organization and Professional Development courses on the HR website. Class enrollment is completed within the EBS Portal. Employees may use available educational assistance funds towards course fees (if any).

Mentorship Resources and Tips

Over the past year, the workplace has changed dramatically with most of us working remotely and dealing with rapidly changing priorities. As we say goodbye to a challenging year and look forward to 2021, take some time to reflect on your experiences with co-workers over the past year; they may influence the goals or skills you choose to work on moving forward.

Do you admire a colleague’s ability to patiently manage a project during this period of rapid change? Or maybe you have a co-worker with a talent for staying on task and engaging team members during virtual meetings? Many of the qualities you appreciate in others are skills that anyone can develop with proper coaching through mentorship.

Beyond developing your skillset, mentorship is an opportunity to broaden your network and ability to see issues from multiple points of view. Among the many things we’ve learned this past year, one key take-away is how important cross-team support and collaboration is to creative problem-solving and innovation, especially during crisis.

Whether you’re looking for a mentor or you’d like to become one, the following articles written by Senior HR Professional Kathie Elliott can help you get started:

  • Mentoring in the Workplace: Think mentorship is just one-on-one help from a more experienced colleague? Think again! There are many mentoring structures to choose from, depending on the goals of the mentors and mentees. Identify which structures may help you in your career.
  • Finding a Professional Mentor: Finding the right mentor can make a big difference in your career. Once you find a potential mentor, how should you approach them? Find ideas for turning a current professional relationship into a mentorship.
  • How to Become a Mentor: You may want to consider becoming a mentor if you have experiences and skills to offer. Even if you are early in your career or new to your position, you still have knowledge to share. Find steps to take to be ready when a mentorship opportunity arises.

Additionally, as you think about the goals or skills you want to work on and how mentorship could play a role in achieving them, consider tying them to your Performance Excellence goals (for support staff). For more information about how to set yourself up for success as you identify goals, check out this When SMART Meets HARD: Setting Goals that Matter article. 

Happy National Online Learning Day!

September 15 is National Online Learning Day! Online learning provides convenience, flexibility, and personalization for all learners. Did you know MSU offers FREE online learning opportunities for all faculty and staff? Get access to online resources including books, videos, courses, and more via elevateU. During these times when more MSU employees are working remotely, access to these resources is more valuable than ever.

Access elevateU here or log into EBS and look for the “elevateU” tile under the “My Career & Training” tab. You can access elevateU from your computer or through the Skillsoft Learning App for Android and iOS devices.  

There are programs that cover leadership, IT & desktop, business, finance, human resources, change management, project management, interpersonal skills and so much more. Resources are available in a variety of formats: 

  • Video-based and interactive courses 
  • Videos 
  • Books 
  • Resources to prepare for various professional certifications 

Watch the following video for a general overview of the resources available to you and how to access them:

Need help navigating elevateU? Click here for an additional video on how to use the search function and navigate through the resources available. 

Utilize the resources as reference tools to help answer your day-to-day job questions or as part of your ongoing personal and professional development. Many of the courses are even approved for Continuing Education credits! Remember, all courses are available to current staff and faculty at no charge.  

Happy National Online Learning Day!

Maintaining Employee Engagement During COVID-19

In a matter of months, our world has changed drastically due to COVID-19. Everything about our work lives, home lives and social lives is now different as much of our day-to-day interaction with others is now done virtually. For many, navigating the changes between in-person to online work has been no easy task. Working remotely with little in-person communication can make it difficult to recognize what the purpose of your work is or remember the goals your team has put in place. As employees continue to work remotely, it is important to make time to check in with yourself and your team members about these things to maintain a strong sense of employee engagement within your virtual team to ensure continued success.

What is Employee Engagement?

But what is employee engagement exactly? Employee engagement is the emotional commitment an employee has to their work, their team’s goals and their company’s mission. To inspire this emotional commitment, you must first understand what drives it. Engaged employees tend to feel like:

  • They have a purpose at their company
  • They are aware of how their work helps them grow
  • They understand how they impact others

However, many people tend to have different definitions of employee engagement that include employee happiness or employee satisfaction. Although these things are not what defines employee engagement, both employee happiness and employee satisfaction are still important elements in the larger ecosystem that drives engagement. This means to support this emotional commitment from employees, organizations have to create a strong, cultural foundation to be able to achieve high levels of employee engagement.

Why is it Important?

Whether you realize it or not, employee engagement can ultimately have one of the biggest impacts on your organization’s goals. The difference between a team of engaged employees and a team of disengaged employees could be what’s creating problems within your team’s productivity and quality of work.

During this time of remote work due to COVID-19, reaching high levels of employee engagement seems to be an especially large challenge for many. With employees away from the office and their coworkers, it can be very easy for them to become disengaged from their work or see the purpose in doing it at all. While it may seem impossible, there are still many things team leaders can do to help combat high disengagement levels during COVID-19, even while working remotely.

Tips for Maintaining High Employee Engagement While Still Working Remotely

  1. Develop a sense of purpose at work

Successful, engaged teams are made up of employees that have a sense of purpose. To develop this sense of purpose for employees within their work, try reminding employees how important each of their roles are to your team’s goals at team meetings to help them understand the impact of their efforts.

  1. Offer professional development opportunities

Employees should be able to expect a range of learning and development opportunities from their employers to be able to stay engaged and invested in their roles. To inspire engaged employees that want to grow and improve, try searching for and reminding employees of professional development opportunities that you come across.

  1. Give recognition and rewards

A powerful way to improve employee engagement is to recognize and reward employees for their successes. To elevate your employee recognition, try tying it to real and frequent rewards to build more engaged employees.

New Year, New Professional Development Courses!

Do you have any goals for 2020? Chances are if you do, they are likely centered around self-improvement. One way to enhance your work experience and get the most out of this year professionally is to take professional development courses! Find courses through Organization and Professional Development (OPD) to help you reach your personal and professional development goals.

Upcoming Courses:

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace – Wednesday, February 5

Turnover, stress-related illness, and disengagement are signs of a problematic workplace and according to the most recent Gallup polls, nearly 70% of employees are unhappy or disengaged at work. This course provides humorous insight into the seven habits of negativity, including tips to stop gossip, techniques for getting along with others, and strategies to reap the many benefits of a positive and engaged workforce.

From Distracted to Productive – Wednesday, February 5

Email. Interruptions. Project transitions. Office clutter. Social and other media. Text messages. Even family and friends. These seven “distractors” sometimes make it almost impossible to get anything done. But with some forethought and effective strategies, as well as some personal discipline, it is more than possible to find your focus once again, even in a hyper-distracted world. Learn “game plan” ideas for getting and keeping your distractors under control and finding critical “focused productivity” time each day, leading to improved performance as well as clarity of mind and purpose.

Managing Meetings – Wednesday, February 12

With company resources tighter than ever, and staff and management busier than ever, frivolous meetings are simply not an option. Yet they continue to occur more often than ever. And too many unproductive, wasteful meetings create a major drag on staff morale and motivation, thus affecting productivity, turnover, and the corporate “bottom line”. If you are the organizer or leader of meetings, you simply cannot afford to look unprofessional when you are “on stage” in a competitive or political environment. Use this program to better plan, lead, and follow through on your meetings and enhance team productivity, coordination, and cohesion.

Crucial Conversations – Wednesday, February 12 and Thursday, February 13

By learning how to speak and be heard (and encouraging others to do the same), you’ll begin to surface the best ideas, make the highest-quality decisions, and then act on your decisions with unity and commitment. Learn step by step tools for promoting an open, honest dialogue around high-stakes, emotional, or risky topics—at all levels of your organization.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership – Wednesday, February 19

A strong leader ignites motivation and unleashes productivity creating an environment in which individuals want to “follow.” A person with high emotional intelligence has mastered self-management and interpersonal dynamics. Combine the two and the result is an emotionally intelligent leader!

Honing Your Emotional Intelligence – Wednesday, February 19

Isn’t it interesting how some people have a seemingly natural talent for handling themselves and/or others with ease? It is an amazing feat considering our high stress, multi-tasking, spread-too-thin world today. Most likely, these individuals have mastered the principles found within Emotional Intelligence. The essence of Emotional Intelligence is our ability to identify and manage our own emotions and our ability to identify emotions in others and manage interpersonal relationships.

Crucial Accountability – Wednesday, February 19 and Thursday, February 20

This two-day course teaches a step-by-step process for enhancing accountability, improving performance and ensuring execution. A combination of role-playing and interactive scenarios allows participants to practice how to talk about violated expectations in a way that solves problems, improves relationships and improves team and organizational effectiveness.

You can find all the current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign-up through the EBS Portal. Questions? Contact HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Events Round-Up – November


Friday, November 1

Arts Night Out

Thursday, November 7

Block Printing with Regina Pericini

Friday, November 8

The Broadcast Exhibition Opening Preview

Friday, November 15

Project & Sign pARTy

Saturday, November 16

Twelfth Night presented by MSU Dept. of Theatre

Community Events

Saturday, November 2

Public Plant and Succulent Sale

Thursday, November 21-December 29

Wonderland of Lights

Friday, November 22

Silver Bells in the City

Saturday, November 23-December 24

Family Farm – Christmas Season

Sunday, November 24

Breakin Bread with the Blues

Thursday, November 28

Bordeaux’s Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving Buffet or Dinner

Family/Kid Friendly

Saturday, November 2

PhUn Day

Jungle Book

Family Day at the MSU Broad Museum

Nighttime Scavenger Hunt

Monday, November 4

South of the Border: Celebrating the Music of the Other Americas

Thursday, November 7

Sensory Friendly Movie Night

Saturday, November 9

Zoo in Your Neighborhood

Monday, November 11

MSU Bug House Open House

Friday, November 15

Sensory Friendly Story Time

Saturday/Sunday, November 23-24

Brunch with Santa

Saturday, November 30

Caroling at Schuler Books


Saturday, November 2

Lansing Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday, November 6

Jazz from Detroit

Saturday, November 9

Live Music w/ Time2Play

Singers on the Grand “Fifties Favorites”

Jazz Octets and special guests

Sunday, November 10

JAMM Tribute Concert

Saturday, November 16

Sensory Friendly Spartan Concert

Sunday, November 17

“Feel the Beat” Drumming Circle

Thursday, November 21

Wind Symphony

Professional Development Opportunities

Tuesday, November 5

Managing Difficult Customers

Wednesday, November 6

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths

Thursday, November 7

Thriving Through Change

Identify and Maximize Your Strengths

Saturday, November 9

Lean In Michigan Leadership Conference

Tuesday, November 12

Payments to Non-Resident Aliens and Foreign Vendors

Roadmap to Retirement

Wednesday, November 13

Supervisor Strategies for Performance Planning

From Distracted to Productive

Thursday, November 14

Communicating and Influencing Up

Fundamentals of Supervision

Creating and Sustaining a Positive Workplace

Tuesday, November 19

Capital Asset Management

Wednesday, November 20

Presentation Skills 101

Thursday, November 21

Ten Tactics for Powerful Business Writing

EBS Financial System Roles/ Onboarding

Sustainable High Performance


Sunday, November 3

Run-A-Munk 5K Trail Run

Thursday, November 28

Lansing Turkey Trot

Registration is Open for Summer Courses!

Do you have any personal or professional goals that you’re currently working towards? Or maybe you’re a support staff employee looking for courses to support your Performance Excellence plan? There are a variety of courses offered in July to help you grow and succeed.

Support staff should note that their Educational Assistance benefit resets with the fall semester. If you still have money for registration fees left over, now is a great time to use those remaining funds!

Learn Strategies for Personal Growth

Develop Your Leadership Skills

Improve Your Communication Skills

Become a Skilled Project Manager

You can find all current OPD courses on the HR website. Sign-up through the EBS Portal. MSU support staff should remember that they may have access to Educational Assistance to help with any course registration fees. Questions? Contact HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.

Performance Excellence Resources

Do you have a Performance Excellence annual review and/or planning meeting coming up soon? Performance Excellence is a collaborative process between MSU support staff and their supervisors that ensures employees are continually developing their skills to contribute to the success of the university. Employees should be meeting regularly with their supervisors to discuss their Performance Excellence development plan and goals for the year. This encourages everyone to stay engaged and allows goals to be adjusted if needed. Whether you are an employee or supervisor, we have resources to help you get the most out of the Performance Excellence process.

Find Tips and Tools on the HR Website

There is a wealth of information available about Performance Excellence on the HR website including:

  • Detailed info about the process
  • Required training
  • Learning opportunities to help meet performance goals
  • Related forms
  • Tips and tools for success

Visit the Performance Excellence webpage and then select whether you’re looking for resources for employees or supervisors.

Professional Development Courses

Are you looking for resources to help you build skills in certain areas? Organization and Professional Development (OPD) offers a variety of instructor-led courses to help you reach performance goals. Find courses on how to thrive through change, manage difficult customers, or identify and maximize your strengths, among many others! Find a list of all current OPD courses here.

Supervisors can also find courses to help them navigate the Performance Excellence process, including this upcoming course:

And remember, eligible employees have access to Educational Assistance for any course registration fees.

Online Resources through elevateU

No time to attend an in-person course? No problem! elevateU is a free online learning platform available 24/7 for MSU employees with courses, books and videos to assist with skill building. Resources cover a variety of topics and you can print off a learning transcript to show your supervisor a list of resources you’ve completed. Learn more and access elevateU here.

Questions? Contact the HR Solutions Center at SolutionsCenter@hr.msu.edu or 517-353-4434.