Category Archives: May 2016

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How to Boost Productivity in a Busy Office

How to Boost Productivity in a Busy Office

Busy offices are hard to focus in, with the hustle and bustle underfoot and endless meetings. If you don’t have the luxury of secluding yourself to do some deep work, or working from a private office, here are a few tips you can follow to boost productivity.

Limit Meetings

Limit the amount of meetings you have. Let your colleagues know that you only have meetings in the morning, or simply say no to a meeting. Before scheduling a meeting, always ask yourself if the same communication could be accomplished with an email instead.

Listen to Ambient Noise

To get away from the noise and avoiding being pulled into conversations around you, plug in some headphones and play ambient noise. This could be as simple as the sounds of a rainforest, but you can also look up instrumental music. Anything that you can play in the background, which won’t distract you but will still block out the distractions around you.

Add a Plant

Plants have been shown to boost productivity in busy offices. Some arguments for this include the fresh air that plants provide, and others say it’s because of the pleasant splash of green you can look at while you work.

Use a Project Management Tool

PM tools are great for easy communication. They create online meeting places and record discussions that employees can refer to at any point. By keeping all of your files, discussions, and checklists in one place, there’s one easy place to go when you need to find information. Project management tools also make responsibilities clear, because you can assign due dates and projects, so it’s clear who is in charge of what, and when it needs to be done by.

What are your tips to boost productivity? Share them in the comments below!


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Public Seminar: Organization Development

Public Seminar: Organization Development

Join us from June 23 to 24 for a public workshop on Organization Development. There is one constant thing in life, especially in organizational life, and that is CHANGE. Organizations experience more rapid change. The nature and forms of organizations are changing dramatically, specifically due to globalization, Information Technology and managerial/leadership innovation. Hence, there is a real need for Organization Development.

This seminar-workshop will provide an introduction to OD, explains why OD is needed by organizations to adapt in a complex and rapidly changing world, and present the process and practice of OD in a logical flow.

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This workshop is ideal for HR and organizational development practitioners, team leaders, external and internal consultants, planners and implementers of change who want to learn a leading-edge methodology for understanding and achieving optimal organizational development.

Course participants will learn what organization development is and its relevance to the organization, learn and understand the process, and distinguish the different OD interventions, then apply some to meet the desired organization’s outcomes/results.

About the Facilitator

Dr. Rosario Alzona holds a Master’s Degree in Statistics and Ph.D in Organizational Development. She is an accomplished Organizational Development professional with almost 20 years of experience in diverse workplace environments. She has varied experiences in organizational assessment, OD intervention design and implementation, learning and development and process/procedure design and development. Dr. Alzona has taken various Information Technology and OD Consultancy projects with several Consulting firms and has taught for ten years in the Graduate School of several universities and colleges in diverse topics of management and leadership. She is a frequent speaker at various seminars and workshops with topics on Leadership, Team Building, Organizational Assessment, Strategic Planning, Change Management and Appreciative Inquiry. She is a High-energy Trainer and Creative Facilitator, skilled in guiding learners through engaging breakthrough learning opportunities.


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How to Start an Internal Newsletter

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Having a company-wide form of communication is beneficial because it can help build culture, disseminate information, and collect feedback. This post will go over a few things to consider when you start a internal newsletter, and some helpful tips to ensure a smooth process.

Select your newsletter platform

The first step to start an internal newsletter is to select a platform. It’s important to choose one with a good idea of what your company needs. Some email newsletter providers and expensive with a lot of features you won’t be using, whereas others are more affordable but don’t offer features you want. Look for the perfect balance between price and features. For example, if you want the option to send customized newsletters by department, your email service should allow multiple different email lists.

Determine the logistics

Who should get the replies? How often should the newsletter go out? What is the main purpose of the newsletter? How many articles should be in the newsletter? How long or short should it be? Decide on the logistics of the newsletter so once you begin setting it up there are no unanswered questions that lead to lags and a longer delivery time.

Draft a template

Set up a template that’s easy to read and allows for lots of engagement (depending on what your objectives are). If you want to share important dates, set up a calendar with events that are hyperlinked to more information. If you want to share information while keeping it engaging, design something with interesting visuals to lead the eye.

Decide on the content

99% of your newsletter content should change every single time you send it out. If you send out internal newsletters that are almost identical to each other, people will stop opening them. With each issue you should take special care to craft interesting content, include useful and relevant information, and give them an incentive to open those newsletters.

For example, you could announce the employees of the month (and their rewards) in the newsletter, so people on the team open it to check who got it.

Send it out to a few employees first

Before you email your entire company, send your internal newsletter to multiple people to read, edit and review the content. Make sure no spelling or grammar errors slip by, and check that the facts are all correct.

Have a system for feedback

Finally, as with any newsletter, you should have a good system for feedback. Have a call-to-action at the bottom that says something like; “If you have any questions about what you read, want to see something in the next newsletter, or see something that should be corrected, just hit reply.”


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Public Seminar: Train the Trainer (Advanced)

Public Seminar: Train the Trainer (Advanced)

Join us on May 30 and 31 for an advanced Train the Trainer public workshop. Behind every spectacular training session is a lot of preparation and meticulous attention to detail. The truly skilled trainer can make a program exciting. The learners will have fun while they are learning. The facilitator has been able to involve their emotions as well as their minds. You will see the involvement, and you will feel the energy.

To reach this stage as an adult educator isn’t always easy, but success isn’t just for the naturally gifted. It is possible for all of us who put effort into our personal growth and development, because we want the enormous satisfaction that comes from working with others to help them reach their potential as human beings. This workshop is your start to that goal.

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Course participants will understand the key principles of effective communication in a workshop setting, use a variety of training techniques to stimulate participation, develop a plan and prepare for an effective training session, understand the different levels of evaluation and when to use each, and learn how and when to add fun and humor to your training session. The workshop will also identify advanced interventions for difficult situations and attendees will practice the skills needed for a team presentation.

Course Outline

  • Preparing to learn
  • Understanding learning
  • Competencies for adult educators
  • Accommodating learning preferences
  • Adult learning
  • The art of facilitation
  • Planning a workshop
  • Visual aids
  • Your role as an effective communicator
  • Questioning as a training technique
  • Kirkpatrick’s levels of evaluation
  • On-the-job support
  • Dealing with difficult situations
  • Adding some fun
  • Team teaching
  • Training preparation and presentations

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An investment of P8,500 includes instruction by an expert facilitator, all course materials, a personalized certificate of participation, and snacks and lunch.

About the Facilitator

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in Organizational Development as a Human Resource, Training and OD practitioner. She authored three books on Psychology/HR Management namely “Psychological Assessment: Theory and Practice”, “Uses of Psychological Tests”, and “Human Resource Management” and was a Trainer Delegate of DFA-Foreign Service Institute in Italy and Singapore in 1999-2000. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards and also a professor in prestigious universities.


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3 Tips for Empathetic Decision Making

3 Tips for Empathetic Decision Making

When you’re leading companies or teams, it’s important to make wise, empathetic decisions. Considerate decision making is empathetic decision making, keeping all of your stakeholders, from clients to employees, in mind.

Before moving forward, especially with big decisions, leaders should have an understanding of how that decision will affect everyone involved. This makes it easy to predict any potential push-back and preemptively deal with problems and complaints resulting from change.

How to keep your decision making considerate

1. Ask

The easiest way to figure out how your decisions will be accepted by your stakeholders is to simply ask them. You can do this using surveys or a quick email asking for feedback. A quick and easy template on asking for feedback is below;

Hey, I just wanted to let you know we are considering implementing a change in the company. [Insert proposed change]. The reason this will be a good idea is because [insert rationale], but I wanted to get your feedback on the matter.

The issue with this method is that depending on your range of influence, it will take time. Not only will you have to read survey results and respond to your email feedback, you’ll have to analyze and read between the lines.

2. Plan

Plan and predict the outcome of your decisions for each stakeholder. Create a list of pros and cons from their point of view before moving forward with the decision. Even if you don’t have time to ask each individual employee how a change in schedules will affect them, you should be able to deduce how they will feel from this list.

Once you have a list of pros and cons, take the cons and brainstorm how you can turn them into opportunities. For example, if you’re switching from an evening to a daytime schedule for your entire company, some of your employees with toddlers may have problems with their childcare schedule with their partners. You could offer a daycare service at the office, or allow some employees to opt for flexible time.

3. Learn

Learn from your past experiences. Looking at how your decisions have shaped the company in the past can provide valuable insight into your future decision making. Pay particular attention to the results of your previous decisions, and how they affected your stakeholders. Here are a few questions you can ask.

  • Have you ever faced a similar decision before? Think about what happened last time, and how your stakeholders reacted. Did you meet with resistance? What can you do this time to make the transition smoother and help your decisions get accepted more quickly?
  • Did you make a similar decision previously that ended up being a poor choice? Why and how should you adjust?
  • Was there a similar decision that was widely accepted? Why? How can you recreate that acceptance?

What are your tips for decision making?

Anything we missed? Share them with us in the comments below.


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Public Seminar: EQ Management in the Workplace

Public Seminar: EQ Management in the Workplace

Join us on May 26, 2016 to learn more about EQ Management in the Workplace and how it can impact your productivity and output. Emotional intelligence, also called EQ, is the ability to be aware of and to manage emotions and relationships. It’s a pivotal factor in personal and professional success. IQ will get you in the door, but it is your EQ, your ability to connect with others and manage the emotions of yourself and others, that will determine how successful you are in life.

We have all worked with and listened to brilliant and not-so-brilliant people. The mean and the meek and all those in between can teach us more than they realize. When we look at the truly extraordinary people who inspire and make a difference you will see that they do this by connecting with people at a personal and emotional level. What differentiated them was not their IQ but their EQ – their emotional intelligence. This one-day workshop will help you develop your emotional intelligence.

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Course participants will come away with an understanding of what emotional intelligence means, how our emotional health and physical health are related, the difference between optimism and pessimism, and how to manage different emotions. The course will cover techniques to understand, use, and appreciate the role of emotional intelligence in the workplace, validate emotions in others, and participants will all create personal vision statements.

Course Outline

  • History of emotional intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence defined
  • EI blueprint
  • Optimism
  • Validating emotions in others
  • Understanding emotions

An investment of P4,500 includes instruction by an expert facilitator, all course materials, a specialized student manual, a personalized certificate of participation, snacks and lunch.

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It also includes a FREE Emotional Stability EQ Profiler (when applicable) – this assessment covers seven dimensions of interest to examine an individual’s emotional stability-instability. The dimensions covered are:

  • Self-esteem
  • Happiness
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessiveness
  • Autonomy
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Guilt

About the Facilitator

Dr. Maria Vida G. Caparas holds a Master’s Degree and Ph.D., Summa Cum Laude, in Psychology. She is an Accredited Trainer of the Philippine Government with invaluable experiences in Organizational Development as a Human Resource, Training and OD practitioner. She authored three books on Psychology/HR Management namely “Psychological Assessment: Theory and Practice”, “Uses of Psychological Tests”, and “Human Resource Management” and was a Trainer Delegate of DFA-Foreign Service Institute in Italy and Singapore in 1999-2000. Dr. Caparas is a recipient of various national awards and also a professor in prestigious universities.


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