Saturday, October 27, 2012

A Call to Action –We Must Protect Our Society’s Most Vulnerable Citizens – Our Children and Our Elderly!

Doing all we can to protect our most vulnerable citizens is what can define us as a society and as a nation.....



Consider this quote:


When you read this, what comes to mind?  Is it more government aid programs?  Is it funding for local community centers and care facilities?


In my case, that quote prompted me to think more about how we, as a society and as individuals, can step up and create a world where our children and our elderly are protected and safe.


I think first we need to recognize the types of abuse that victimize our vulnerable.  There are two basic categories of abuse:

·        Domestic – abuse by a family member or caregiver


·        Institutional – abuse within a facility such as schools, day care centers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities


The abuse in each of these cases can cover physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment.


During my research, I was amazed to discover that the first case of documented and prosecuted child abuse was in 1874.  The case came to be known as the “Case of Mary Ellen”.  The outrage over this case actually prompted one of the first organized efforts against child mistreatment.


Since then, there have been efforts to enact laws and regulations to protect our nation's children.


In 1909, President Theodore Roosevelt convened a meeting of the White House Conference on Child Dependency and started the first publicly funded volunteer organization to establish standards in child care.  By 1926, 18 states had adopted some type of child welfare board to oversee the treatment of children.


More recently, the “Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act” (July 27, 2006) created a National Sex Offender Registry and a “tier system” to categorize them depending upon the level of their crime.



Specifically concerning elder abuse, more state laws govern than federal ones.  In 1992, the Federal government organized the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program.  This program does not support a direct Federal role, but it does promote state generated legislation and provides funding programs to assist the elderly.


All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have enacted legislation that authorizes Adult Protective Services (APS) to act in cases of elder abuse.  Many states limit these laws to abused adults that also have a disability as defined by that state’s law, although some states have broadened this to include those elderly not labeled as “disabled”.


Probably the most promising program to help our abused elderly is the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program (LTCOP).  This program advocates on behalf of Long Term Care residents who are victims of abuse or neglect.  In many states the Ombudsman, upon discovery of the abuse, is authorized to make a referral to the state’s APS program requesting an investigation.  However, some states allow the LTCOP to initiate that investigation themselves.


While the presence of these laws and programs are unquestionably valuable, I believe we still have a long way to go.  We need to make the reporting and prosecution of the abuse more consistent and effective.


I believe this “under reporting” of abuse has much to do with the “secrecy” abusers are able to wield.  It is one of the strongest tools an abuser has to continue in the abuse.


There is also the “shame” of the abuse, both to the victim and, in many cases, their family.  The stigma we have placed on this horrific act allows many instances to continue to go unreported.


So where do we go from here?  I believe there are definite steps we can take to not just “talk the talk” but “walk the walk”.




What Can We Do?

·        Prevent the Abuse – We need to employ our best tool and take a “proactive” approach.  Without fail, we need to require all people who come in contact with our children and our elderly to undergo a Background Check.  I would also suggest this be repeated every 2 years in order to prevent those committing more recent crimes from slipping through the cracks.  This should not be at the discretion of each institution, but national law.  Consistency is the key here.


·        “Unveil” the Abuse – We need to allow the victims, especially our children and elderly, to tell their story with the confidence that they will be believed, and provide “safe havens” for them to do so.


·        Personally Recognize the Abuse - We all need to become better at “listening” and better at “observing” when it comes to our children and elderly.  We need to listen, not only with our ears, but with that inner voice that tells us that something is “not quite right”.  We also need to observe.  Do you see any sudden changes in behavior or physical well being?  If so, have the courage and interest to “step up”.


·        Report the Abuse – We need institutions and individuals who are willing to “Speak Up” and report the abuse.  We also need to be able to have definite consequences for those who do not.


·        Equally Prosecute the Abuse – We need to hold everyone accountable for their actions, even the most powerful.  There should be no “covering up” for anyone; be it friend, relative, or well-known “respected” figure.


·        Permit Greater Prosecution of “Past Abuse” – We need to broaden the Statute of Limitations on abuse.  The stigma and shame surrounding abuse keep many from pursuing prosecution.  Victims need to know that the abuse in the past can still be brought to light and prosecuted.


Let’s take the words of Ronald Reagan to heart and remember that the "government" he spoke of is Us.  We need to stand behind our children and our elderly and shout out “Enough is Enough”, and have the integrity to follow through!

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Mentoring – How You Can “Make A Difference”!


Mentoring & Paying it Forward!


A great way to make a difference in your own and someone else's life is to think about what you can do for others.  Why not take what you have learned and "pay it forward"?  Become a Mentor!


Many of us can say we had a teacher or parent that helped guide us into becoming who we are today.  They encouraged us, led by example, and gave us the tools to achieve our goals.  But does it, or should it, stop there?  I believe we need to keep that momentum going and Mentoring, especially in our professional lives, is where I believe we can shine!



The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide”.  To me, being a Mentor requires that you be genuinely interested in another person’s growth, with no real expectation of tangible personal gain.



Take a look at this scenario……

You have made it.  You began pursuing your profession fresh out of college, worked hard, and were able to gain success.  By now you fully understand the ins and outs of your profession, have made wonderful contacts, and have achieved your goals.

Now you become acquainted with someone new to the professional world and eager to make their own mark.  They may be a new hire within your company or someone in your professional circle.  They are working diligently to learn and trying to make their own connections.  

But you know making those quality connections and “climbing the ladder” are tough.  I believe this is where you have a choice.  You could sit idly by – after all, you made it on your own – or, you could choose a different path.  You could be a Mentor! 




Mentoring ~ a Great Way to Pay it Forward!  "Tweet This"
   



What Does it Take to Be a

Good Professional Mentor?


A study of mentoring techniques most commonly used in business by Aubrey, Bob and Cohen, Paul (1995), "Working Wisdom:  Timeless Skills and Vanguard Strategies for Learning Organizations", outlined these Mentoring Strategies:


"Accompanying:  taking part in the learning process “side-by-side” with the learner

Showing:  using examples or setting your own example to demonstrate a skill or activity – lead/mentor through your actions

Harvesting:  focusing on “hands on experience” and asking “what have you learned?” or “how useful was it?”


I would add my own preferred technique, “Inclusion”.  This means ~ Invite the mentee into your “inner circle”.  Introduce them to who you know and include them in your professional groups.  In other words, “Pay it Forward”, “Make A Difference”, and Pave the Way! 




What are the Benefits of Mentoring?



One benefit of Mentoring is that it helps bridge the gap between “school” knowledge and “real-world” knowledge.  It helps take what the Mentee has learned and moves it to the next level. 


In the workplace, Mentoring also helps new hires “get up to speed” and allows new employees to adjust better to the new company culture.


In my opinion, the most important benefit of Mentoring is that it aids in the advancement of talented individuals.  Taking someone promising “under your wing” allows them to achieve, or even surpass, their professional goals. 



Mentoring also benefits the Mentor.  
As a Mentor you can hone your own leadership skills and gain great personal satisfaction by sharing those skills and expertise.  You can even feel more appreciated and respected. 


Many times Mentors will even increase their own productivity and job performances as a result of being a mentor.  The desire to be a worthy role model will kick in.



How do You know that Mentoring is Right for You?

  • You should want to share what You have learned and enjoy encouraging and motivating others.

  • You should truly want to be a part of helping someone grow and succeed.

  • You should realize the time commitment and be willing to see it through.

  • You should consider mentoring as a way to contribute and “pay it forward”.


I believe that at its finest, 
Mentoring can break down the perception of “cut 
throat” competition among professionals.  


Of course I am not na├»ve enough to believe that it will no longer exist (and competition does drive innovation and invention).  But I refuse to believe it need be the only way.



Mentoring promotes great professional and, in my opinion, personal development.  Truly helping someone on their own professional path can reward you with a fantastic sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.  




In an ideal Mentor/Mentee relationship, everyone wins!  And what could be a better way to “Make A Difference”? 



Please Pay it Forward and Share this! Leave a comment too ~ I would love to hear from You!




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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Bullying – Adults Do It Too! The Problem of Workplace Bullying.

#workplacebullying #backgroundChecks #SmBiz




Bullying in the workplace is a problem.  





Any time workers feel uncomfortable or afraid, job satisfaction and productivity plummet.  While more focus is given to the bullying of children, the fact is that many adults are subject to it too.




According to a recent Workplace Bullying institute survey;

"27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work; another 21% have witnessed it; 72% are aware that workplace bullying happens".  




These additional statistics are startling:

 “In a prevalence study of U.S. workers, 41.4% of respondents reported experiencing psychological aggression at work in the past year representing 47 million U.S. workers (Schat, Frone &Kelloway, 2006).  The research found that 13%, or nearly 15 million workers, reported experiencing psychological aggression on a weekly basis.”



So, what exactly constitutes “Office Bullying”? 





At its most basic,  Workplace Bullying is the on-going mistreatment of one or more co-workers by one or more office bully.  The key word here is “on-going”.  It is not an isolated incident, but is aimed at repeatedly causing harm to the intended victim. 



According to the Workplace Bullying Institute,  Office Bullying consists of any one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Verbal abuse

  • Offensive conduct/behaviors (verbal and non-verbal) which are threatening, humiliating, or intimidating

  • Work interference or sabotage that prevents the intended victim from completing their work duties


No matter in which form it occurs, 


Office Bullying creates an unsafe and unproductive workplace.  Tweet This! 



It takes away from the environment most business owners are trying to create – an environment where each employee is encouraged and rewarded.  While it may be hard for many of us to believe “adults” bully, they do. 



Photograph by Ocean/Corbis via businessweek.com


We have all heard much discussion and emphasis on the need to stop bullying in our schools.   Workplace Bullying, however, has not been given the same priority. 



One of the main reasons for this is that, in many cases, we do not acknowledge Office Bullying even occurs.  Or maybe we believe adults should be able to “take care of" the problem themselves.




The reality is, Office Bullying does occur and any time we allow ourselves to put blame or responsibility solely on the “victim”, we all lose.




I Challenge All of Us to Believe We Can Make a Difference.  More importantly, I Challenge Us All to Take Action.




Here is what We Can Do!


If You Are the Victim of Office Bullying:

  • Admit that you ARE being bullied
  • Believe it is NOT Your Fault
  • Document the Dates and Times of the Bullying
  • Keep any Incriminating Texts, Emails, Memos, etc.
  • REPORT the Bullying



If You Are a Witness to Office Bullying:


  • Speak Up
  • Provide a United Front on the Side of the Victim
  • Offer to Be a Witness for the Victim



If You Are a Manager or Employer:

  • Be Proactive and Screen Before You Hire!
  •  Make Your Office a Zero Tolerance, Bully Free Zone and Use Background Checks in Your Hiring Practices
  • Draft and Implement a Strong Policy for Dealing with Complaints
  • Hold Meetings to Familiarize Employees with Your Policy and Create Awareness
  • Encourage the Reporting of any Bullying
  • Establish a Safe Contact for Reporting Incidents of Bullying
  • Investigate all Complaints Promptly and Thoroughly
  • Enact Any Changes Necessary to STOP the Bullying




Graphic via Laura Newcomer & Quill.com



We all need to take responsibility and refuse to tolerate bullying.  No one has the right to intimidate, belittle, or physically harm another.  We can all present a united front and stop bullying in its tracks by Putting the Bullies on Notice!



Remember, just because we are now adults, it does not mean that bullying no longer occurs.  Let’s set an example for our kids and SPEAK UP!  We will all be better for it!



Please Pay it Forward 
and Pass this On!  
Leave a comment too, I would love to hear from you!




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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Honesty in Business: Is it Possible?

#businessintegrity



It is important for each of us to periodically take a look at how we are doing business and focus on what we need to improve.  Being honest in my business dealings tops my list, and here is why......



Has this ever happened to you? 

Years ago we were undergoing a major home renovation.  We interviewed several contractors and reviewed their plans for our addition.  My husband and I decided on the one we thought had the best plan and at the best price.  The estimated time frame for the project was 2 months.  The contractor was local and promised to begin work the following week.

It ended up to be one of the worst experiences ever.  The contractor was rarely on site.  He sub-contracted most of the work and, while some of the workers that showed up did a fine job, communication was non-existent.  Bottom line, the contractor told us what we wanted to hear with very little thought of what was really in our best interests, the interests of his customer.


I learned a lot from that experience. Mainly I decided what I did not want to do in my own business!
    


Building a mutually beneficial relationship between your company and your customers makes sense. They gain and you gain.  They get your very best product or service, and you get that most coveted of things, a loyal customer.  



A Loyal Customer is the best Building Block to Your Small Business!  "Tweet This"



But what does it really take to provide “honest dealing”?  Is honesty in business even possible?  I believe it is more than possible.  I believe it to be my most important goal.



“Honest dealing” and trust can be achieved when You:


  • Put in the work to do your job well.  The more time you spend on providing that stellar service, the less time you will have to spend on the “sell”.  Be willing to constantly update and “tweak” your product.  Find that niche in the market where you are unique and work it!



  • Do what you say you are going to do.  Empty promises have no place in a good business.  Do everything possible to provide your customers with exactly the service you promised when you promised it.  Believe me, the effort it takes will not go unnoticed.  In this instance, actions really do speak louder than words.



  • Be in it for the Long Haul.  It is unrealistic to expect instant results.  A reputation takes time to build.  Be there when your customers have questions.  Work with them on their specific needs.  I have one particular customer who occasionally needs “rush” work.  I make it my priority to get them exactly what they need, with quality, each and every time.  This has paid off with a very loyal client.  


  • Come clean with mistakes.  Not everything is going to go perfectly each and every time.  It is how you handle those mistakes that will define you.  Be straight forward with what went wrong and what steps you are taking to make sure it does not happen again.  Your customers will appreciate your “above board” approach.    



The bottom line is, I believe in the Golden Rule we all learned as children; “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.  Truly looking out for your customer’s best interests is key.  When you can honestly say that you are willing to do what is necessary to provide the best, good things will follow.  I believe – and so should You!



Please Share and Comment on this post.  I would love to hear from you! Thanks!


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