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