Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Do not be afraid of a career change

Sometimes, our careers become such a part of us that we lose sight of who we truly are and what are original dreams were.

It is alright to explore change, it is alright to dip your feet in the waters of a different career. Not risking anything could lead to questioning everything.

Life is full of surprises and it might show you your true path.
Lessons learned by a longtime educator….

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Excerpts from an MBA Leadership Lesson

      Communication is a matrix of oral, visual and emotion. Your spoken words, voice quality, and body language come together to communicate a message.

      Successful communication is measured in how well these components are applied and balanced.

      Is what I said, what you heard?

      Communication requires a transmitter and a receiver. Both must be tuned to the same frequency.

      As a manager, it is your job to ensure proper tuning.

      You communicate to your staff at the frequency they are on. Words, phrases, ideas, concepts, theories and directions must be tuned to their level of comprehension. You do not talk down, but find a commonality where both you and the staff can meet and communicate on a level plane. 

Seems simple eh? Then why do many managers in higher education not practice this?

Lessons from an MBA program

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, April 20, 2017

At some point, you have to acknowledge your company is really not that into you: when to walk away


There is a humorous video I show in the first part of one of my HR classes called “when Barry Met Sammy- A Funny View of HR and KM”,

While it is funny, it underscores a serious problem companies have, and industries have (including the higher education industry): leadership often does not show that they value their employees, in fact the reward for good work is often more work.

What is the difficulty with acknowledging the work your employees do on a regular basis and rewarding them for it?

I have said a million times before and I will say it again: YOUR EMPLOYEES ARE YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSETS! This is a simple lesson to learn, and in theory it should be simple to practice; there is data that proves this. But the data is not being looked at, or at least not until it is too late.

We teach this stuff in our universities, but why oh why, can we not learn it ourselves?! Education and specifically higher education, will need to go through some major changes over the next few years, whether it likes it or not, and practicing what we are preaching/teaching needs to be lesson number one.
The creation and implementation of certifications for higher educational leaders should not just be a pipe dream, it needs to be a reality.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

Friday, April 14, 2017

If you do not attempt to communicate effectively you reap what you sow


Communication is a buzz word in business/leadership, and you will find many different variations of what it is, but the root of it is simple; get the message you want to send to the right people in an effective manner.

Communications says nothing of what modality one should use, it does not say how often, it simply needs to be clear.

A complete lack of communication is still communication, except, what you are communicating to your people is that you really do not care about them. This is a common complaint from employees, not knowing what their boss wants of them or not knowing important things that could affect their job.

As a leader, effective communication should be at or near the top the list of skills you have or are trying to develop. How can you give that employee a bad review when they had no clue what the goals were? How do you expect employees to show up to a meeting that they heard nothing about? Etc.

Simple lessons from an MBA program.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

When did banks stop serving the community? The cost of being poor


Do you remember actually going into the bank on a regular basis? Do you remember going into the bank and the manager knew your name? Do you remember when you knew all the bank tellers by name?

There was a time when the bank was a part of the community, where they made you feel welcome, where they actually wanted to see you come in. Today’s modern banking costs more money to regularly go into the bank and deposit money, because that kind of account is often an extra fee; nowadays they want you to use the machine or online only.

Banking fees have also gone up exponentially for everything, and the banks have a clever system of offering you overdraft protection, with a cost of between $25 to $40. In fact, you must opt out of that costly protection program otherwise it is automatic. Sometimes, using your overdraft is necessary though, especially if you live paycheck to paycheck; but paying $30 for a $15 check, really?

God forbid your account goes into the negative and you physically go into the bank to pay it because it seems part of banks’ training today, is to make you feel guilty for not having enough money to live.

·         “So why did you let your account go negative?”

·         “You really should avoid the fees”

As if you did it on purpose!

For the record, credit unions are operating just like regular banks now, so they are not exempt from this criticism.
Community is key because a community helps each other, they teach each other, and they look out for each other. If you are poor, often your community has entities in it that do not care about you and do not know you. Banks, you need to be part of the community you are supposed to be serving.
These are just thoughts, things observed by an educator.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Race Relations in America and why we are not ready: an educator’s view


Sociology 101 tells us: “Race is defined as a category or group of people having hereditary traits that set them apart. While race revolves around the idea of biological traits, ethnicity is based on a shared cultural heritage. Sociologists and other social scientists accept that race is a socially constructed concept. It is an idea that was created in society to justify inequality. Race is a modern concept”.

Skin color does not now, nor has it every been a race; and because the United States has never confronted its history fully, the good, the bad, and the ugly, this conversation makes people squirm.
“The 1924 Racial Integrity Act defined race by the “one-drop rule,” defining as “colored” persons as anyone with any African or Native American ancestry. This law was in effect to purify the white population, while also expanding the scope of Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage (anti-miscegenation law) by criminalizing all marriages between white persons and non-white persons. In 1967 the law was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in its ruling on Loving v. Virginia”. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kimberly-cooper/a-look-into-race-as-a-soc_b_6787574.html

Discussions on race nowadays are met with sayings such as: “that is in the past”, “we are post racial”, “it had nothing to do with me”, “I am not a racist”, “discussing race is reverse racism”, “other races had it bad as well”, etc. It is a pity, because the fact that we still have race listed on official government documents, the fact that there are still hate groups that openly espouse and emulate racists beliefs of past evil regimes, and the fact the statistics we collect daily still show we have a problem, means we are nowhere near ready to truly confront this.

The other day I was watching a film clip from a 1980s Clint Eastwood movie that contained the famous line “go ahead, make my day”. The movie was pure Hollywood, , with the typical Hollywood bad guys (young black males). I take that movie for what it is and nothing more, pure entertainment. However, today we also have social media, something that did not exist when that movie came out; and social media makes people feel safe, it brings out the “trolls’, it brings out the things people say in private and often think about in their head, it brings out the ugly side of the country that we refuse to deal with. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ishbTwXf1g Go ahead read all the comments and see for yourself.

The comments on social media posts reveal many truths, they reveal the cesspool of hate that bubbles just below the surface and they reveal peoples’ true feelings. In some cases people do not understand what social media actually is (it is not private)  and they just post straight out what they feel not even waiting for the comment section, including members of law enforcement who really should behaving at a higher standard considering the responsibility they have: https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20170113/downtown/cops-racism-facebook-twitter-social-media-racist-rahm-department-of-justice-probe-laquan  

As I write this, I am well aware that I will be inviting trolls into my own world, but here is the reason why I write this: OUR CHILDREN ARE WATCHING AND LEARNING! Kids do not grow up that way, they emulate the people around them, and with the access to technology that exists today, there are more “people” around them.

If you ignore a disease, it does not go away. Perhaps the disease will go into remission for a while, and we can certainly treat the symptoms with medication: but that is not a cure. Civil rights bills, updated laws, diversity training, sensitivity training, and all the other things are not the cure, they are merely Band-Aids on an open wound.

There is no quick fix because we are not ready. We are still in blame mode, pass the buck mode, we still do not really want to find solutions; and before you disagree with me ask yourselves this: how can we put a man on the moon but we cannot solve this? The answer is simple; because we wanted to put a man on the moon but we do not care to solve this.
These are just some of the observations from an educator.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Undocumented immigrants, an educator’s perspective


There is no doubt that the largest proportion of undocumented immigrants in the U.S come from or through Mexico. It makes sense considering the proximity of the country, our history with the country, for example: states like California, Texas, and Arizona (there are more states I know) used to be part of Mexico. Also, not everyone coming through Mexico, is Mexican. There are large groups coming from other places.

So where do the other groups come from? Let’s look at some numbers:


1.      6.72 from Mexico
2.      1.78 from South and Central America
3.      1.17 from Asia
Here are some specific 2012 numbers

2012 Country Populations
1. Mexico 6,720,000
2. El Salvador 690,000
3. Guatemala 560,000
4. Honduras 360,000
5. Philippines 310,000
6. India 260,000
7. Korea 230,000
8. China 210,000
9. Ecuador 170,000
10. Vietnam 160,000
All Countries 11,430,000

Why do people want t come into the U.S? Opportunity, and we should be flattered because that says a lot about the potential in the U.S, and there are enough stats out there proving that these undocumented people are not here stealing our jobs. Quite the contrary.

I am not going to get into politics, because I am not looking at this from a political point of view. I should also point out that there are whole continents missing from these numbers because somehow, they are not reported in the same way (save that for another post).

This is a nation of immigrants remember, and history is repeating itself; but is it for good or bad? Let us not fear each other, let’s just learn who are.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The non-interview interview: why do employers do this?


Are you aware that most jobs posted (especially in the education sector where I work) have already been filled? Are you aware that it is a common practice for employers to interview people that they have no intention of hiring?

I am not going to try and analyze the various reasons as to why because that is not my problem; I am going to discuss why this practice is unprofessional and does a disservice not just to the candidate, but also to the company.

The candidate’s job at an interview is to bring their “A” game. They need to be prepared, have researched the company, have poignant questions to ask, etc. In today’s market, it is common to have most candidates prepared like this.

The employer’s main job is to have looked at the candidates resume, done some basic research such as LinkedIn, be prepared with good interview questions, and to be objectively considering every candidate they interview. From a candidate’s perspective, there is nothing worse than walking into an interview where it is obvious the employer knows nothing about you, where they are late to start the interview, people enter the interview late, and at the end, it is also obvious that they are not really serious about hiring.

A professional interview deserves professional interviewers who are truly looking at you as possible fit for their company. This current practice of the non-interview also explains why employers are not getting back to candidates at all after interview: lack of forethought about their company reputation and taking advantage of people in this saturated job market.
Word does get around, and if the company is not careful, it could become known as the company of “do not waste your time applying because they are not serious”.

At some point, we must understand it is not the candidates fault. Lessons in leadership.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Do not despair and know your worth


The social contract between employers and employees is all but dead; employers are not promising longevity and employees can no longer count on retiring where they started. Add to that is, the market worships youth, or seems to value youth more than experience. We see this in the high numbers of skilled over 40s in the job hunt, we see this in the want ads stating “recent college graduate wanted” (or some variation of that).

It is important not to let the actions of others affect one’s outlook; it is important that you try and keep your head up and know your worth. I say try, because we are all human and everyone has bad days.

Do not give up! There is an employer out there who will thank their lucky stars once they have you. You are worth it.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Monday, January 30, 2017

The punishment for being poor 2017


When you do not have money, you are often expected to do without certain things. For example: a nutritious diet, little treats such as an ice cream cone, gym membership, TV, vacations, etc. All these pleasures are well known to increase life and quality of life: why then are they often the first things expected to go?

We no longer have debtors prison, but we still have many people in this country locked in a cycle of debt, often “legal debt” such as parking tickets, child support, and lord forbid you have a probation debt!

If you have the money, you can pay these things off right away and move on, but if you do not have the money, these debts can quadruple in cost when you factor in payment plans, interest, penalties for losing your job and therefore a payment, etc.

These are issues the average American cares about, these are issues of which there is no solution proposed or even thought of because there are companies who make billions of dollars a year because of the status quo.

Misery should not be a for-profit industry.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Retaliation in higher education


Retaliation is a real thing, it is an unfortunate thing, and it happens more often then we like in higher education.

How does it happen? I am glad you asked. As an adjunct faculty, it is easy for a supervisor to do this, and sometimes they might not even realize they are doing it. Perhaps the supervisor med a scheduling error, and it caused a professor to lose a class. While we know there are no guarantees for adjuncts; it is still a loss. What happens is when the adjunct complains the supervisor leaves them off the list for the next term classes; and keeps them off.

People often leave an institution because of a boss or because the culture supports a toxic environment; and when a person mentions this in an exit interview, often times, they are blamed instead of the issue being investigated.

I have often written about how educators sometimes are the most indiscreet and inconsistent employers out there, and it is an unfortunate truth.

Why is it that as higher educators we often do not hold ourselves to a higher standard of management? Why do we let a culture fester to the point of jeopardizing an institution?
Make no mistake, higher education is in a crisis mode for so many reasons, and a lack of consistency is one of them.
Are we going acknowledge this or wait for the institutions to close one by one? The proof is out there, especially when we look at accrediting bodies, school closures, and position turnover.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Friday, January 27, 2017

When does it become your fault? A question for leaders/managers

One of the most common reasons people fail at a job is because expectations and details of the job were never clear. This happens from front line workers all the way to CEOs. When people have to get fired, “under performance” is often put as a reason. Maybe you write, “they were not good at their job” or “they did not have the right skills”, etc.

However, whose job is it to make sure that your employees are ready to the job? Whose job is it to make sure they are making progress throughout the year? The managers and HR.

I recently wrote about unprofessional behavior by the HR departments and hiring managers during the interview stage. The general consensus is that it has become a common occurrence for companies to simply ignore candidates who are not chosen after a professional interview. Some people are of the mindset that maybe the candidate was not “properly prepared” and did not “set the right expectations”. However, at some point we have to acknowledge that it had nothing to do with the candidate and everything to do with company bad habits.

Give credit where credit is due, but also take blame when the blame is on you. Stop excusing company bad behavior no matter how common it might be!

The leaders are responsible for setting the stage for employee success, at the very least they do their best to give them all the tools needed to be successful. Leaders are also responsible for any culture of rude unprofessional behavior that exists in their company.

Leaders, time to stop blaming others and accept responsibility for mistakes. How you bring them in is how they will leave.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

What have you learned from 2016? A leadership and communication question

Leaders all make mistakes, but hopefully we learn from our mistakes, especially when it comes to our businesses.

What mistakes did you make in 2016? Have you corrected them or is it business as usual? Will we be having this same conversation five years from now?

·         Did you let those employees know they were valued?
·         Did you take the time to do one-on-ones with your employees so they can have a real performance review?
·         Did you give credit where credit was due?
·         Etc

If it can be documented (your word is not enough) that you did all these things, congratulations! If this is not part of your normal practice, why isn’t it? Do you realize the message you are communicating to your staff by not doing these simple things?

2017 could be just another year of many, or you can make the conscious effort to make some positive changes for the betterment of others. The choice is yours.

My observations from the cheap seats
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Our experiences: a thought on communication

If we think about it, we can probably find shared experiences for every human being throughout the world. However, just because we have all experienced something, it does not mean we all experienced it in the same way.

High school for some was a glorious time full of fond memories and future promise, yet for others, it was a time of despair, survival, and a time to be forgotten. The same could be said for going to the grocery store because depending on your neighborhood, it could have been a fun trip or you were running a precarious gauntlet.

In business (and in life), the first step to proper communication is to recognize that our experiences and our motivations are different (remember different, not better nor worse). As a manager, in order to understand why your staff comes to work every day, you must make the effort to know who they are as people. Common ground can be built from knowing who your people truly are.

Be careful not to casually dismiss someone else’s reaction to a situation, do not be so quick to tell them to “get over” something; especially if you have not made the effort to know more about them. This does not mean we excuse everyone’s bad behavior; this is more about generalizing, and thinking one size fits all. This is especially true in trying to understand cultural differences.

How we try communicate versus what we are actually communicating, can be the difference between closing a deal, retaining a good employee, and losing a deal, losing that good employee to another company.
Are you aware of how you communicate? Do you adjust your communication style to fit your audience? Or are you the type of person who believes everything should be adjusted to you?

These are things to ponder: lesson from an MBA Program.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Charter schools and school choice are not the panacea for education: Ask Educators

I have worked at charter schools, I have seen good charter schools in action, and when they work, they can work very well.  I have also seen bad charter schools in action, and when they fail, it can be an absolute disaster for students, parents, and the community.

The amount of work a charter school teacher has to do is extremely high because the funding is often less than a traditional public school (unless parents kick in significantly), so as a result, even the best charter schools that I have seen have high teacher turnover.

FYI, a majority of charter schools do fail, but that is another story.

School choice vouchers sounds good when you say it out loud, but the reality is a private school is free to decline or accept any student it wants. What happens if a Muslim student wants to accept a Christian school (or vice versa)? It does happen, because parents are looking for what is best for their child. How about if that private school hits capacity? If the student leaves the private school does the money go back to public school system (no)?

Education cannot be fixed during a political season, and it certainly cannot be fixed by non-educators (no matter how well intended they are). Having a large pocket book does not make you an educator. Have you tried putting that energy into repairing or rebuilding the existing schools? I mean really doing it!

Can educators alone fix the issues? Probably not (but then again, educators do not hold the purse strings). In reality it really does take a village, and not a dysfunctional “Hatfield and McCoy” village, but a true village working towards helping everyone.

Education is still the only profession where non-professional get to tell us what we should teach, how, and when (etc). Imagine if non-medical professional tell medical professionals how to operate or treat a disease?

Include educators in the conversation or you will fail.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

Keywords: Education, Educators Educational Leadership, Political Season, Public School Education


Saturday, January 7, 2017

Why is it so expensive to eat healthy?


I was buying some soy sauce the other day, when I noticed that the “low sodium” version was $2 more than the “standard” version. You mean it costs more to use the healthier version, really?

McDonald’s has a a dollar menu, where you can eat your fill, going to Jamba juice will cost you a minimum of five dollars and you will not be full. A bottle water at the movie theater will cost you $5 and a soda $2.50!

Organic vegetable at the store are separated from the non-organic, and I do no go anywhere near the organic section because you get half the amount of food.

It is cheap to eat unhealthy, it is expensive to eat healthy; heck there are no neighborhood gyms and PE anymore so kids are growing up unhealthy. Kids are getting “plugged in” instead of being sent to summer camp, because the camps are too expensive.

Time to ask ourselves: how serious are we as a country about health?

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam