Login/Join

All posts

Post
May 2, 2011

Skills Matter. So Does Culture.

Audubon Magazine Profile of Newton, IA

Not change. Transformation.

When it comes to redeploying 1,800 people who lose their jobs in a plant closure, skills are only a part of the picture.

Maytag was the plant; Newton, Iowa, the community. The economic transition story is nicely documented in numerous publications, but we like this portrait in the (unlikely) Audubon Magazine.

In the past decade, Kim Didier, current Executive Director of Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Business Resources, has worked on the challenge of connecting people and firms in ways that helps each of them and in turn, helps her community to thrive. She's worked on the corporate side, then in economic development. She ran a business innovation network, then served as the Executive Director of the US Department of Labor WIRED (Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development) project in her region.

She has learned a lot about what it takes to advance big change in economic and workforce development.

"It's hard to prepare people for major transitions - it as much about culture as anything else," she notes while describing workers' experiences moving from a workplace characterized by traditional hierarchies to flatter organizations that require a different kind of personal initiative.

"There were demonstrable skill-gaps - we can assess those and help people address them. We're getting better at offering flexible, stackable training that leads to a credential. But there are also those soft-skills..." The ability to work in teams, personal effectiveness, communications skills - these determine whether people will make it long enough to demonstrate their credentials. Building comfort in these areas takes more creativity at every point in the transition process.

It's Not Just About Transitioning Workers
Responding to what was, at the time, an enormous crisis also required policy makers and service providers to step out of their comfort zones. Some leaders stepped up immediately, others took their time, but the effort that seeded a whole new industry in rural Iowa demanded broad, deep, and sustained collaboration. "For workforce, we had to move the conversation from 'training and placement' to 'talent development;' for economic development, we had to shift from 'creating jobs' to 'growing economic opportunity.'" This required:

  • Working with data in a whole new way - looking for trends, not opportunities for transactions;
  • Exploring self-employment and entrepreneurship as viable career options (and providing necessary supports); 
  • Building diverse networks that invite innovation and new ideas; and
  • Tolerating failure - without which there is rarely progress.

Big Ideas Matter
While Newton, Iowa now punches above its weight in the alternative energy industry, it wasn't always this way. "People had to imagine the impossible," and then take steps to make the impossible happen. Kim suggests we've got even bigger challenges now relating to the future of jobs, work, learning - and the way technology impacts our major institutions, "What will it mean anymore to go to work?"

An important role for leaders will be to communicate these changes in a way that makes people feel secure, while encouraging the social connections that allow information to flow, relationships to develop, and give rise to community resilience.

This work is not for the faint of heart.

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit #3: Nametags and Roles

Image of participant in simulation

Identities, Everyone Needs One
This is Diane. She's a workforce professional most days, but today, she's a small business owner - a jewelry manufacturer to be specific.

When you run a simulation like this one, be sure to think about the kinds of people who would not necessarily be at the top of the list of invitees to your simulated event, but could add significant value. For examploe, in our simulations, we typically include the roles: musician, poet, artist, and of course, data visualization specialist.

Here is the list or roles/identities we used for the industry simulations. You can use it as is, or as the basis for creating your very own. The numbers simply the group number. We had some idea of the number of attendees before we arrived, but we wanted to make sure we distributed roles appropriately - and that groups were approximately equal in size. As a result, we distributed the half of the first three sets first, and then turned to the fourth, fifth, and sixth, while filling in the remaing roles from the first, second, and third sets as more people entered the room.

Tip: Think about which roles needs to be in each group to enable a great learning experience, and distribute those role/nametags first.

Other resources you will need to complete the simulation include:

They are all available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit D: Prosperity Introductory Video

 

 

Prosperity Prize Introductory Video
This is the video we used in the community-focused version of the Leadership Simulation. You are welcome to view it and use it for your own simulations.

The video is one of four resources we used in the simulation exercise. The others include:

All are available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit B: Community Prosperity Letter

Letter from the Mayor of "Springfield"
This is the letter we used in the community-focused version of the Leadership Simulation. You are welcome to download and use as is or as the basis for your own custom version.

The letter is one of four resources we used in the simulation exercise. The others include:

All are available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit A: Facilitator Guide for Community Simulation

Facilitator Guide 
This is the Facilitator Guide for the community-focused simulation.  It provides details on how the simulation works and a script for those leading the activity.   You are welcome to download and use as is or as the basis for your own custom version.

The guide is one of four resources we used in the simulation exercise. The others include:

All are available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

 

 

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit #1: Facilitator Guide for Industry Simulation

Facilitator Guide 
This is the Facilitator Guide for the industry-focused simulation.  It provides details on how the simulation works and a script for those leading the activity.   You are welcome to download and use as is or as the basis for your own custom version.

The guide is one of four resources we used in the simulation exercise. The others include:

All are available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

 

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit #4: Prosperity Introductory Video

Prosperity Prize Introductory Video
This is the video we used in the industry-focused version of the Leadership Simulation. You are welcome to view it and use it for your own simulations.

The video is one of four resources we used in the simulation exercise. The others include:

All are available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

Post
May 1, 2011

Exhibit #2: Greenforce Prosperity Letter

Sample letter for simulation, downloadablle on slideshare.net

Letter from the Mayor of "Springfield"
This is the letter we used in the industry-focused version of the Leadership Simulation. You are welcome to download and use as is or as the basis for your own custom version.

The letter is one of four resources we used in the simulation exercise. The others include:

All are available for use/download. We hope you find them useful (and use the comment section below to let us know!)

 

Post
Apr 26, 2011

Workforce Leadership Contributors Map

Since February 2011, over 200 individuals have contributed to the Enhancing Workforce Leadership Initiative.  In order to provide a sense of who has contributed, we created a map reflecting the individuals, organizations, and agencies involved in the initiative.

The pins on the map represent the various contributors: the red pins represent public contributors; the green pins represent state-level contributors; the magenta pins represent post-secondary education contributors; the purple pins represent contributing association and organizations; and the aqua pins represent anonymous contributors (via large groups and post cards).

This map will be updated as the initiative engages additional contributors, so please be sure to check it periodically. 

For more information about the project, see enhancingworkforceleadership.org, follow us at @WFLeadership, or contact Kristin Wolff [kwolff@thinkers-and-doers.com].

 

 

 

Post
Apr 23, 2011

Linked-in With Workforce Leaders

Workforce leaders identified the PROS in Workforce and Economic Develompent Group on Linkedin as a valuable resource for leadership development. The group, currently with 847 members, invites all workforce and economic development professionals to join for peer-to-peer networking.  The group focuses on professional development and information exchange.

 

 

Syndicate content