Daring Adventures

By Janet DiVincenzo

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Helen Keller was quoted as saying “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” I took a daring adventure myself not long ago.  I signed up for an online art workshop. Now, let me just say, I was just about the last person who would ever take an art class in high school or college. I never wanted to draw. Can’t draw. Don’t like to draw.  Can’t even draw a credible stick figure, really. But I do like to make things — not just electronic things! I’ve done the odd assortment of craft projects over the years — collages, decoupage, things with cork, etc. And I’ve been a pretty competent card maker for about 15 years. My dream is to do mixed media collages using the stashes of sentimental paraphernalia I’ve picked up during my travels over the years and other assorted personal clutter, like concert tickets, museum receipts from foreign travels, and the like.

Like any dutiful student preparing for class by buying a textbook, I set out to the art supply store to purchase the recommended materials for the class.  Now I know my way around Michael’s pretty well. But this was an art supply store — where artists shop (not me!). Canvases? I don’t know from canvases!  She said we should buy 10 x 10 sizes. Uh-oh, I only saw 8 x 10. Hope that will work! These canvases seem so permanent, so professional! What if I screw up? Plus, they’re kind of expensive for a newbie. Oh well, in the basket they go. Oh, but wait. Maybe I should also buy a heavy duty sketch pad so I can first practice on paper — you know, get the hang of the paint, the brushes, etc. so I don’t go messing up one of the canvases. In the basket it goes. Oh wait. Here are some tinier canvases, like 5 x 5. So cute! How badly could I mess up those little guys?  Buy 1 get 2 free?  Whoosh, in the basket they go. Paintbrushes? Man they are expensive! And there are literally hundreds of them. How many do I need? I want to make sure I’m buying exactly the right ones!  But which ones!?  Now, on to acrylic paints — also kind of pricey. She said we should just get a few to start. But what colors? How much do I need? What if I buy the wrong kind? Am I spending too much money? Argh!  Anyone can see I’m a poser. This isn’t my tribe! Who do I think I am?

On the drive home it hit me. I was sounding like a lot of my newbie students — “Oh, I can’t really be a project manager yet.” or “I still need practice with the charter.” or “I’m just not comfortable with cost estimates yet.” Well, duh!  Of course!  Nobody hits it out of the park the first time. You just have to silence that inner (perfectionistic) critic that tries to tell you you’re not good enough. You just have to DO IT. Honestly no puppies will be harmed when I mix red with blue and discover, hey, that’s not the color I wanted.  And no kittens will be harmed when you produce a cost estimate that is less than accurate. You just have to decide you’re going to do it and not look back. Be daring. Be adventurous.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Thomas A. Edison

 

How to Network Like Casanova

 

By Melissa Allison & Zen Yieh

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Assuming you’ve read hundreds of articles on the virtues of networking, we won’t waste time trying to convince you of its importance. Think of this post more as a means to assess your current perspective on networking, and perhaps even your prowess.

So, pretend you’re on a date.

Just like dating, if you’re networking you obviously have an agenda, whether it is to sell something, find a job or meet new people (or get that second date). That’s cool; the people you meet likely have an agenda too. Here are some simple tips that may help improve your game.

Stop talking; ask questions.

Not only will you be a more enjoyable companion, you will also gain insight into someone’s unique needs and desires. Networking, like dating, is about building trust and putting yourself out there in the hopes that a person will somehow make your life better. May sound a little selfish put that way, but as we all know, you have to give a little to keep a good thing. Actively look for ways you may be able to help this person achieve their goals.

Don’t burn bridges before they’re built; stay open.

Do your best to stay in the moment and be polite, even if you don’t want a second date. If you become an avid networker, you never know when your paths may cross again. It’s easy to pass judgment and assume what people can and cannot offer you… in fact, it’s nearly impossible to avoid. Resist; at least for the length of your interaction. Instead, try to find things you like about that person and be willing to share them, if appropriate. If it helps, pretend you’re talking with the next Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, or whatever influential and wildly successful individual you can think of!

“Let’s stay in touch!” (… maybe)

We all say it, but what does this look like for a proactive networker? Were you listening? Honestly, nothing can replace attentive listening and it also fuels the follow up! For those you’d like to stay connected to, try dropping a line referencing what you two talked about, or something you think may interest them based on what you learned from your exchange. You have to be profound, but a quick note lets them know that you value the connection and would like to stay in touch.

It’s a numbers game.

You’ve heard the old saw: you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince. Well, that saying has some truth to it. As your network grows, you’ll have a greater sense of what you’re looking for (or NOT looking for), while increasing the number of meaningful exchanges that bring you closer to your goals.

This should be fun!

Even if the objective is to elicit another’s time, services, support etc., there’s no reason it can’t be enjoyable. In fact, more sincere and fun interactions will likely yield more lasting relationships and ultimately better results. Pulling from Dale Carnegie’s classic How to Win Friends and Influence People, in order to get people to do what you want, they must first want to do it (and it’s your job to get them to care).

Here’s a brief clip, in which Andie (Kate Hudson) has just intentionally left her purse at her boyfriend Ben’s (Matthew Mcconaughey) apartment after a first date to ensure a follow up. Clearly, both are aware that the other has an agenda, but they sure know how to make each other smile while getting what they want. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxLuG0BYYwE (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days)

 

Social Networking by the Numbers

There’s no arguing that social networking has become a global phenomenon.  As of the end of April (4/24) Facebook had established 1.28 billion users, and of that number, 757 million of those users visit Facebook daily.  There is an average of 58 million tweets per day on Twitter, and 60 percent of those come via third party applications (i.e. TweetDeck, Twiterriffic, etc.) Not to mention, Google makes $1,600 in ad revenue in just 1 second.  These metrics are staggering, and are hard evidence of the universal value and continued growth of social Internet communication.

Check out this fascinating info graphic below which displays the Internet in real-time (h/t Stefan Drew).

InternetinRealTimeAccording to its developer (http://www.dailydot.com/technology/internet-real-time-infographic/) you can “watch, in real time, several of the Internet’s most popular sites and social media platforms climb in activity.” This visual is amazing.

Implementing custom corporate education for improved productivity and bottom line results

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By: Brian Breen, Director, Corporate Education, UC Irvine Extension

Competition is fierce in today’s increasingly complex business environment. As your customers demand that you deliver more than just good products and service, gaining and sustaining a competitive industry advantage will depend on how well your staff executes. Research shows that well-trained employees are more efficient, more satisfied and are proven to remain loyal to the company. A well-trained workforce is the key to building a long-term, sustainable advantage in your industry.

Bringing corporate training to your workplace ensures that your employees are all receiving the same quality education, getting the most relevant and immediately applicable skills and knowledge, while meeting budget and company objectives.

When implementing a corporate training program in your company, there are several considerations to keep in mind. Here I will outline the top three steps you need to take when implementing corporate education in order to ensure corporate success.

 

I. Set Training & Development Goals

Your first step is the most important: identify your organizational needs and goals.

You need to be able to answer the question, what are you looking to achieve from corporate training? Are you simply looking to update your employees’ skills, or prepare them for career advancement? Is it an enterprise-wide initiative that all employees be given training in a particular functional or management area?

Investing in training will improve your organization’s capabilities, productivity and bottom-line results. Understanding the importance of continuing education for employees and the long­term advantage of having well-trained, efficient employees is a big undertaking, logistically and financially. Your company can only be successful if it begins with capturing the right content and specific training needs.

Focus on management expectations, performance goals and expected outcomes to create individually-tailored solutions. The best learning experience for students is practical education with real-world applications. You want to give your employees the valuable tools that they need to help your company gain a competitive edge.

 

II. Make It Convenient

Once you know what you would like to achieve, it is time to look at the best methods for integrating training into your organization for the greatest impact.

A well trained staff is one of the biggest investments a company can make. Having engaged employees participating in the training is crucial to the success of the program. Offering flexible training options will ensure that your investment does not go to waste.

Consider weekday on-site classes, short intensive weekend workshops, online, hybrid or any combination of these. A custom solution will be more flexible, with a number of delivery options available to select from, and ready to be tailored to your business and employee needs.

 

III. Partner with the Best

Finally, you want to select a training provider that can help you achieve your goals with a custom solution designed just for your organization.

For the greatest success, it is vital that your training partner should be fluent in your industry, and with the way you do business. You should ensure that your provider can deliver high-impact, collaborative solutions.

The instructors leading your training program should be seasoned professionals in their respective fields, with a results-oriented approach. The instructors’ expertise and real-world insights in the classroom can result in immediate improvements in skills and capabilities as employees take what is learned in class and apply it immediately on the job.

The best corporate training solution provider for your company should take into consideration these key factors:

  • A pre-training assessment, building the foundation for a training program that meets company goals and addresses specific training objectives             
  • Development or adoption of a results-oriented program geared to meet your company’s exact needs
  • Selection of a provider that incorporates your company’s processes and systems into the curriculum to ensure immediate impact on performance    
  • Training delivery offered in flexible formats in order to reach all students without sacrificing productivity

 

Conclusion

This three-step approach toward corporate training will ensure that your employees learn and grow, ultimately improving productivity, and providing your organization with numerous benefits including:

  • An immediate return on your training investment
  • A better trained and more productive work force
  • Higher employee satisfaction and retention
  • Increased customer satisfaction

 

 

 

Hashtags: A History & Basic Guide

 By Lalida Sriyordsa

Trendsmap

Every minute, social media is changing around us. With the evolution of popular sites like Facebook and Instagram becoming integral parts of everyday life, the way we market our companies and businesses must also adapt to the way society conforms.

If you’ve ever seen images followed with the pound sign and a keyword (#swag is popular for the millennial generation), then you’ve at least seen what a hashtag looks like in the wild.

According to Lifehack:

“The very first hashtag EVER was #barcamp by Chris Messina. Due to this initial successful tryout (against the Twitter boss’s wishes) we now see hashtags as the first place to find information on the latest news and events on a global scale. Things happen on Twitter through hashtags faster than breaking news programs are able to catch them-the result being that Twitter is now a primary resource for many news stations.”

Without a doubt, whether you’re looking to reach audiences within a specific conference group or hoping to share your social media around the world, hashtags can (and should) be used as a valuable and fun tool to spread news.

Almost all social media sites such as Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, Pinterest, Google Search, and Twitter all allow uses of hashtags that allow you to search for anyone who is interested in that keyword as well. In fact, LinkedIn is the only social media outlet that doesn’t allow the usage of hashtags.

Here are a few tips and tricks that can help you effectively use hashtags:

  • Feel free to use numbers, but no punctuation marks. #50thUCI
  • Keep it simple and think of your tone. For example, Nike’s #makeitcount relates to the brand’s theme and resonates.
  • Keep it relevant to your brand. Anything too vague such as #happy or #fun may not attract the audience you’re going for.
  • Be creative and feel free to make your own. Whether you’re using the hashtag to run a promotion, giveaway, or just adding news, creativity always gets bonus points #uciegiveaway

You can also use some great tools to help find trending topics and related hashtags:

  • Trendsmap shows latest trends from Twitter for anywhere in the world based on a geographic location
  • Hashtagify.me gives you the latest trending hashtags related to hashtags updated daily
  • RiteTag can also help you identify hashtags that get results and leads you to use them more

Have any awesome hashtags you’ve found success with or have any other tools that you use? Share with us below.

Why Healthcare Needs Project Management

By Martin Wartenberg, UC Irvine Extension Instructor

At the dawn of the 20th century, Wilbur and Orville Wright developed the first airplane capable of sustained heavier-than-air human flight. Working from their bicycle shop, the Flyer was built of spruce, linen, and wire, and fitted with a crude engine of their own manufacture. It flew successfully on the Kill Devil Hills of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903.

But what if Orville had crashed on that first flight? Most likely, he would have been treated by a local physician, working from an office in his home, to whom Orville would have paid cash at the time of service.

Fast forward one-hundred years. Aircraft are now built in plants that resemble cities, with components and raw materials assembled from around the world. Yet air travel, even in the age of global terrorism, is still one of the safest activities in which a human being can engage, despite the myriad opportunities for a small glitch, whether in design or manufacture, to cause the plane to fall in flames from the sky.

So, what about the healthcare industry—how has it handled the process of maturing, as private practices have been swallowed by giant healthcare corporations? Indicators are that it has not done as well. A 2012 report by the National Institute of Health and the Medicare Inspector General states that as many as 440,000 deaths per year result from hospital errors… It is estimated that as many as one in three patients is affected by hospital errors and complications…” Since the initial NIH report of 1999 (“To Err is Human”), hospitals have risen from the sixth place to third place among the leading causes of death in the Unites States. Hospital costs and death rates have been doubling every decade.

These statistics are appalling. Consider the public outcry if 440,000 people died each year because of preventable errors in the aircraft industry. As the NIH report observes, the 2012 mortality rate from preventable hospital deaths was “equivalent to two daily Jumbo Jet Crashes.” When a single plane crashes, the FAA examines every possible cause to prevent further carnage. So, what can healthcare learn from the aerospace industry?

Let’s look at the years between the Wright Brothers and the Dreamliner—between the country doctor and the HMO—to find out. In both aerospace and healthcare, advances in research and technology exploded in the 20th century, spawning phenomenal growth within, and the birth of new industries to support them. But rapid deployment of new technologies came with a price tag, both in squandered money and in lost life.

While some of the blunders and tragedies can be attributed to and the growing pains of these new industries, significant blame can be traced to the preventable human errors that came from a lack of proven, systematic processes, administered by trained professionals, to shepherd projects from inception to completion. Absent this overarching administration, projects that were not well defined to begin would receive more money thrown at them, often amid a cloud of miscommunication and resentment. When the money ran out, these projects would be judged as failures, or, worse yet, they would be deployed with their flaws in place, resulting in crashed planes, or in the case for healthcare, dead patients.

So what changed in the aircraft industry that the healthcare industry might learn from? Someplace around WWII, the aerospace industry, building on methodologies that date back to the construction of the pyramids, began compiling data and practical evidence on what caused projects to succeed and fail. This grew over the years into a body of knowledge that now guides those trained in its ways through the process of initiating a project, managing its scope, risk, duration, cost, and stakeholders, and succeeding with a quality deliverable.

Using these techniques resulted in:

  • Better control of financial, physical, and human resources,
  • Improved client and stakeholder relations,
  • Shorter development times,
  • Lower costs,
  • Higher quality and increased reliability
  • Improved productivity,
  • Better internal coordination, and
  • Higher worker morale and reduced stress.

But hold on—human beings aren’t airplanes, and all the aerospace engineers on the planet couldn’t create anything so elegant or complicated as a toddler’s left foot. Perhaps not, but much of the business of healthcare doesn’t involve medicine. Healthcare will continue its astronomical growth, and provide some of the highest paying jobs, each of which plays a critical role in delivering quality, affordable patient care. But the reality is that these jobs are frequently project driven, and the success of these projects can quite literally mean the difference between life and death.

Consider just a few scenarios:

  • Information Technology, including data management, records, and artificial intelligence systems, where wrong information can kill patients and intelligent mining of data can identify lifesaving patterns on which to develop new research.
  • Facilities upgrades, where development of new standards and specializations in operating theatres, clean rooms, ICUs, and in the wards can abate the spread of resistant bacteria.
  • Process improvement projects, targeted at each critical procedure, to reduce errors and cut cost, including nursing procedures, nutrition, drug administration.

These are clearly within the domain of project manager, and the application of good project management practices may be part of the overall solution of how to make hospitals safer. Much of the research currently being developed in this field is from the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics, led by Professor Joel W. Hay.

Indeed, as the healthcare industry continues to grow, it is being pushed towards upping its project management game. In a report co-sponsored by Georgetown University and the National Institute of Health, it is predicted that the healthcare industry will create 5.6 million new jobs by 2020. Americans spent $2.6 trillion on healthcare in 2010, which is ten times more than in 1980, and the demand for healthcare continues to grow at a rate twice that of the national economy. Rising costs are increasing scrutiny of how healthcare providers run their businesses. An example of this can be found in a provision of the Affordable Care Act that holds providers to higher standards for their major IT functions.

While the government’s desire to reduce overall cost of care serves as an external pressure to improve processes from admittance through discharge, internal pressure is also mounting. Healthcare organizations are realizing that, to remain competitive, they must develop skills to effectively select and manage the projects they undertake. They also realize that many of the concepts of project management will help them as they execute projects in such diverse areas as Information Technology, Facilities Management and Process Improvement. In addition to project management, healthcare organizations are embracing program and portfolio management as a means to address enterprise-level needs and to balance conflicting needs and priorities among stakeholders.

What is clear is that healthcare will need to hire or train employees to serve in project management roles. These jobs will require higher levels of education, along with continuous certification. UC Irvine Extension’s Project Management Certificate Program focuses on the specific areas of project management that are necessary in the healthcare delivery environment.

Business Marketers: Are New Facebook Changes Causing Concern?

Attention business marketers! You may have noticed that your Facebook’s organic reach has dropped, which some may say was bound to happen. Below are some eye-opening answers to questions and concerns you may be having.

Earlier this year, Facebook made a change to its algorithm again, which has altered which stories happen to appear in your newsfeed. This article “So Your Facebook Views Have Dropped, Huh?” – a repost from Small Business Trends, includes some fantastic tactical suggestions to respond to these changes.

Here’s an excerpt:
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The bottom line: As experts advise, businesses both large and small should be willing to shift their social media marketing tactics. We suggest the best course of action would be to continue to reach your demographics with Facebook, but to also diversify the overall social media piece of your marketing plan by participating in Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.