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End-of-Year Celebrations: How to Plan Something Different This Year

Up till the seventies at many American workplaces, holiday parties for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, used to be scandalous affairs in which men got drunk and women got sexually harassed. Those were the days before working women started to file law suits against companies that engaged in these practices that denigrated women and sexually harassed them in the name of fun and celebrations.

It took a decade or so for most organizations to start modifying their holiday celebrations. Although the types and activities of celebrations vary wildly from one organization to the other depending on the work culture and type of business, it's safe to say that the vast majority of businesses have changed their end-of-year celebration practices to make them more safe and pleasant for everyone. Some mix business with pleasure as they incorporate ways to add value to such celebrations and connect them more to the business of the organization.

If you've been asked to plan your organization's year-end celebration, here is a list of ideas to help you:

• Assign a small team the task of planning the event. Small organizations (up to 200 persons) can join together in one celebration. Larger organizations might have each department hold its own celebration.

• Hold your event at a time most people can attend. If possible, have people attend during work hours, or at least for part of the event. For example, if work normally ends at 5:00 PM, invite people to attend at 4:00 and then stay till 6:00

• If you are going to mix a bit of business, the best way is to focus on accomplishments. Have each team or department present their accomplishments in a creative way to the entire organization. If you offer prizes or other means of recognition, do it at that time.

• Don't go to extremes in either direction. Don't go overboard on lavish and fancy items unless the organization's performance and financial health can justify this. But don't be too stingy either. People shouldn't feel that you are too strict when it comes to acts of appreciation of them and their year-long efforts.

• Some organizations dedicate a whole day to an off-site retreat with the theme of "Lessons Learned and Accomplishments Achieved." This could be a very exciting and memorable way to end the year, offering a mix of learning, recognition, teamwork, and celebration.

• You may invite a speaker to talk on a relevant topic, such as Humor at Work, or Team Building, with a humorous bent.

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Choices for Culture Change with HumaNext Programs

HumaNext offers you a number of choices to build a stronger, more collaborative and creative culture at work:

1- Bring Us to Deliver Onsite Training: We have a number of programs that we can deliver to your organization with powerful results.

2- Your trainers can get trained by us either at your site or online, and get certified to deliver the process and training to create employee engagement and culture change.

3- Your trainers can purchase one or more of our off-the-shelf, ready to implement programs on this page, and run them themselves to create a culture of collaboration and innovation.

Below are various programs that enable you to change the culture and build one that fosters team relation-shifts, creativity and innovation, employee engagement, and diversity and inclusion. Request to see a free sample of the one you need, then order on this page.

Or contact us describing your need and we will be happy to help,


How to Engage Employees to Change the Culture

At last: Off-the-Shelf Employee Engagement and Culture Change Program that supports your Employee Engagement and/or your Change Initiative.

Many employee engagement or organizational and culture change programs fail to produce the desired results. Yours don’t have to. Typically, these initiatives fail because they focus on complex processes and number crunching. In the process, they lose the people who they wanted to engage and those who are supposed to make the change happens, wasting time, efforts, and resources. Now HumaNext is offering a program that engages employees to play a vital role in the culture change process. It is called “Employee Engagement for Change” Program.

In the “Employee Engagement for Change” Program, we recommend that you start your employee engagement or organizational change effort with a personal engagement and change drive that engages people’s hearts and minds for change. In the Heart & Mind 4 Change drive employees take a pledge: to refrain from doing three specific things for 3 weeks, the period usually needed for forming a new habit.

Order the complete "Employee Engagement for Change Program" with Leader's Guide, PowerPoint Slides, Reproducible Participant Workbook.

Order a Single user license for $195.00

For enquiries or to place an order


The Training Program that Builds a Better Team Culture

A transformational training experience that changes the way employees view their job and relate to their colleagues and the organization. The training builds a sense of ownership of one's work and shows managers and staff alike a more effective and liberating way of working together to achieve extraordinary results:

  • It is a highly inspiring, deep discovery, passion-filled half-day or full-day session that goes beyond traditional motivational / team building training.
  • It is an opportunity to understand, accept, and create significant change in employee relations, the team and the organization.
  • It is an invitation to experience and adopt a different Mental Model for doing business in a Not-As-Usual way to create extraordinary business results.
  • It is an introduction of a new way of communicating and working in a positive, emotionally intelligent manner that creates collaboration and commitment.
  • Regular price for one user license is $495.00-    now get it   for$195  

    Click here for more information on this unique training experience

    For enquiries or to place an order, please


Create a Culture of Creativity and Innovation at Work

The human mind, once stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

The avalanche of new ideas that participants explore and create during our Creativity & Innovation at Work workshop causes an irreversible expansion of the mind. Once they are back on the job, they view things very differently. They overcome the paralysis by analysis and paralysis by problems syndromes. Their capacity to generate ideas on demand become one of their greatest assets.

Purchase a one-trainer-license for $195.00

Purchase Organization License for unlimited number of trainers / users


Create a Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

The ultimate program to help you deliver a Diversity and Inclusion at Work workshop that supports your organization's culture. It comes in MS Word files that you can customize and use. Covers all key elements of diversity, from the business case for diversity, the value of diversity at work, the respectful workplace, the relationship to Affirmative Action and EEO requirements, to creating diversity councils, and implementing diversity programs.

One-Trainer License Just $195.00

For inquiries or to place an order, please contact:For enquiries or to place an order

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A Profile to Discover and Boost the Culture of Your Organization or Team

Building a strong organizational culture, or strengthening a good one you already have, starts with understanding the various dimensions and dynamics of your existing culture. The ‘Understanding’ process involves answering the questions of: What does the data mean? What are our strengths? What are our areas that need improvement? Do various departments have cultures that are compatible with each other and with the organization? How do we know that?

The customizable and reproducible Cultural Compass enables you to find the answers to the critical questions about your culture, and provides you with ways for moving toward a stronger, more positive and productive culture at work. The Compass is a self-scoring paper and pencil tool that takes users through an exciting process of cultural discovery by answering, plotting, and analyzing 48 key questions about their organizational culture. The 48 questions cover four primary cultural orientations; People, Task, Values (and Ethics), and Synergy. The self-scoring results are then plotted on two dimensions; the People - Task dimension, and the Values - Synergy dimension. The resulting diagram reveals, both in figures and in a visual form, the current state of the organizational culture as viewed by the user(s).


Here is what users said about the Compass

A consultant who used our Cultural Compass with a client, wrote to us saying that the top executives loved the way the Compass revealed their corporate culture to them. They wanted her to use it with the rest of the staff. They wanted to better understand the values and perceptions that define the work environment and find ways to significantly improve it.

The Cultural Compass is designed to make it easy to uncover current cultural strengths and assets, as well as opportunities for improvement and change. The customizable and reproducible Cultural Compass is also used to uncover and compare the cultures of various groups, teams, and departments, and how to overcome the Culture Gap that might separate them.

A valuable by-product of using the Cultural Compass is to strengthen team spirit, ‘We Are One Team’ becomes more than a nice slogan. The Compass takes about 30 minutes to complete, but the discussion, comparisons and analysis of strengths and improvements can take as much as people need.

A comprehensive Facilitator’s Guide explains the culture discovery and improvement process with detailed instructions. The process can be a segment in a training session on leadership, supervision, culture, team building, diversity, ethics, or other training topics. It can also be done in a department meeting to help the department understand and improve its team culture.

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To Order the Cultural Compass

The Paper-and-pencil version of the Cultural Compass is sent to you in an electronic file in MS Word format, so you can customize it by adding your organization’s logo, mission statement, message from the president or the Training Department, or any other information easily and quickly.
We offer the Culture Compass in a number of options described below.

Paper/Pencil.A Facilitator's Guide with One Reproducible Culture Compass One Facilitator's License  One organization, face-to-face sessions only $149.00

For Multi Trainers in same organization, or multi organizations, divisions, or consultants, or to use on the organization’s intranet, contact us

Available online at $29.00 per user

For Ordering these products please visit 

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Seven Strategies to Stay Upbeat During Difficult Times

You've experienced the difficult times and the bad economy, the budget cuts and the layoffs, the bankruptcies and the belly ups. The result: Employee morale is sinking, and fear is in the air in many workplaces. But fear is not a strategy. So what should you be doing, and saying, as a leader, talent manager, or communicator? Here are seven strategies to consider duing bad times:

1- Play a leadership role, nomatter what your position is in the organization, and rise to meet the challenges facing you. Bad times are precisely the ones when bold leadership is needed. Don't waste time waiting for the other shoe to drop, or other people to take action. Consider this difficult time to be a great opportunity to prove your worth, apply your talent, and lead your team.

2- Don't dwell on the negative. Don't keep talking about the bad economy. What people focus on becomes their reality.

3- Create a new focus for your team, or your organization. Start a big initiative. Put your energy in productive work. Engage employees in an organization-wide, or department-wide, service enhancement or process improvement effort. Not only will this take people's minds off the negative news, it will improve productivity, wich will help the organization face the bad times.

4- Get out of the "limited pie" pattern of thinking, where people fight for pieces of a perceived shrinking pie. Summon people's creativity to create a totally new pie, or enlarge the existing one. Break up the walls between departments. Open up the organization for the winds of innovation and change. Offer training on creativity and innovation, on leadership, on change management.

5- Resist becoming paralyzed, standing still, not taking action, waiting for the economy, or other conditions,to improve. Waiting will only push you back as the world keeps moving forward. Instead of reducing your efforts, consider doubling them.

6- Communicate often, delivering a message of confidence and hope. It's not the end of the world. It may be only the end of an old way of doing business. This could be your exciting opportunity to create a new way of thinking about business, and turning that thinking into reality.

7- If your organization has gone through a budget cut or reduction in force (RIF) , communicate the reasons for this action and then move quickly to communicate the expectations, vision, and plans for the future. You must model, in words and action, the message of hope you need to deliver. Ask everyone to become the change they want to see happening.

© 2010 Francois Basili, President,  HumaNext LLC  If you want to publish or reprint this article subscribe to Content for Communicators. Click here for more information and samples of Content for Communicators.


Creating the Spirit of the Olympics at Work

Creating the Spirit of the Olympics in the Workplace

In the Olympics, we see a lot of the same human issues that confront us in the workplace. If you look carefully, you will find that the ways world athletes behave before, during, and after the Olympics offer us a lot of lessons we can learn from to improve people's performance in the workplace. After all, sports have always offered us metaphors and models for coaching and leadership. Here are ways to create the spirit of the Olympics at work.

  • Every Four Years, Not Every Quarter: Most American organizations put too much focus on the quarterly reporting of results. Real change in human performance requires a longer view of things.
  • Coaching for Performance: To perform at their peak, people need to be coached, not managed. The Coaching process of tough yet friendly feedback, modeling of desired behavior, constant guidance and continuous, incremental improvement is a model that works well at work too.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: No athlete will perform in the actual competition without years of rigorous practice. At work, people cannot suspend work to practice. They must work and practice at the same time.
  • Build Teams, Not Individuals: Even competitions that do not involve a team require effective teamwork between the coach and the athlete, and perhaps other people as well such as the managers, administrators, and the medical team. No Basketball team or Soccor team can achieve much without effective teamwork. How much training on team building have you participated in at work lately?
  • Motivation and Rewards: The motivation for the Olympic athletes is never money. It's the global recognition of being the best. It's the satisfaction of beating the previous world record, and going just a notch beyond what was previously possible. That's the kind of culture you need to create at work.
  • Failure Is The Beginning, Not the End: No athlete will strive to participate in the Olympics just once in a lifetime. Most keep going back and trying more. If they fail, they strive harder to win. If they win, they try harder to break their own record and win even bigger.
© 2010 HumaNext LLC.. This article is part of our Content for Communicators program. You can get many positive, educational articles like this one to use as session handouts or publish in your electronic or print publications or inranet with Content for Communicators. Click here for more information and samples of Content for Communicators.


Spring Forward: How to Take a Spring Break at Work

Corporate Culture: How to Take a Spring Break at Work  

Spring is a time for renewal and new beginning. College students take a spring break to rejuvenate their senses, recharge their free spirits, and get a jolt of fun and joy to sustain the body and stimulate the mind. Spring break is a great concept.

There is no reason why you can’t apply that concept at work too. Here are a number of creative ways to “Take a Spring Break at Work”:

  • First of all, put yourself in the spring state of mind. You can’t create great things unless you have enthusiasm and energy. Your enthusiasm will be contagious to others. They will all catch it.
  • Start that project you’ve always dreamed of doing. Create a positive proposal and offer it to your boss or your team. Get their involvement.
  • Do a "Spring Cleaning" at your workplace or department. Get others involved and get the team to take a look at everything they do with an eye on cleaning it. Throw away what didn’t work and strengthen and polish what did.
  • Bring the spring in. Get the team to think of ways to brighten the workplace and bring the exuberance of the spring to it. For example, hang new motivational posters or corporate art pieces to stimulate new thinking and stir passion.
  • Designate a Spring Break Day and take the team on a picnic in a nearby park. Play Volley Ball or other group games.
  • Hold the next department or project meeting outdoors.
  • Create a Spring Break process to renew the organization’s culture.
  • Invite the editor of your organization’s publication to attend one of these events and write about it to the whole organization.
  • Ask others for ideas and add them to this list of Spring Break activities.

If you want to publish this article, and many others like it, in your organization’s publication or intranet, subscribe to Content for Communicators. See more examples and register here:

© HumaNext LLC- All Rights Reserved

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How To Thank the Admin Professionals in Their Week

Held annually since 1952, Administrative Professionals Week this year (2014) is April 20-26 with Administrative Professionals Day on Wednesday, April 23.

Professionalism Should be the Focus In Observing Administrative Professionals Week- Suggestions for Employers, Supervisors

Administrative Professionals Week is an opportune time to recognize the valuable and growing contributions of administrative professionals in the workplace.

Members of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), sponsor of Administrative Professionals Week, suggest that observances of the event recognize and support the professionalism of administrative support staff.

Specific recommendations from IAAP for observances include:

Hold a company-wide observance or special event for administrative staff, such as a presentation by an educational speaker, or group recognition of administrative professionals by the chief executive.

Provide registration for a professional development seminar to build the individual’s technical, interpersonal or business skills.

Support membership in appropriate networking and professional associations.

Encourage study for and attainment of professional certification.

Additional gift suggestions include appropriate business-related items such as personalized business cards, a desktop nameplate, a gift certificate, ergonomically correct desk accessories or equipment, computer hardware/software upgrade, or a monetary bonus for exemplary performance. “Surveys of administrative professionals have shown that they prefer professionally oriented observances,” said Sandra P. Chandler CPS, 2006-07 IAAP international president. “While gifts of candy and flowers are appreciated, an observance related to professionalism is more meaningful. And, of course, it’s always wise to ask the administrative staff members in your organization how they would prefer to observe Administrative Professionals Week.”

If you want to publish this article, and many other informative and inspiring articles, ideas, and cartoons in your publication, subscribe to Content for Communicators at:  

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Creat a culture of Emotional Intelligence, Employee Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion- Get certified online on these vital topics and many others:

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Must your company be 'Lean and Mean' to succeed? Here is one that is caring and successful

One of the totally misguided notions of management is that for a business to succeed it must be “Lean and Mean.” Being “lean” is understandable, for it really means efficiency and effectiveness. But why “lean and mean?” Does it really take meanness to produce good products or services, market it intelligently to the public, and make a decent profit in the process? The “Lean and Mean” advocates used the need to make a profit as an excuse for treating people badly. But the facts of business life, not Utopia, have shown time and again that the opposite notion is the true one. Only when a business treats its employees well can it succeed in treating its customers well, thereby staying in business and growing a profit. Need a real-life proof? Here it is, from the highest pinnacles of power, the story of how Paul O’Neill, who served as Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, proved that what was good for people was good for business.

When Paul O’Neill became C.E.O. of Alcoa in 1988, he knew nothing about aluminum. Alcoa was in trouble at the time. In fact, the whole manufacturing industry in America was in bad shape. Experts were saying that commodities like steel and aluminum would inevitably be supplied by countries with cheap labor, and that the US would have to abandon its futile attempts to compete in manufacturing. Alcoa’s previous CEO listened to this advice and tried to take the company out of the aluminum business by buying other kinds of businesses. O’Neill did not give up on American manufacturing, though. He got rid of all the non-aluminum businesses and focused exclusively on making aluminum. Within twelve years, he doubled the company’s global market share and more than doubled the number of employees. After years of depressed earnings, he took the company from a profit of just $4.8 million in 1993 to a staggering profit of $1.5 billion in 2000. So what was his secret?

Here is how Michael Lewis, in a story in the New York Times Magazine, described it: “ He (O’Neill) also created, pretty much by an act of will, a new corporate culture. How he did this is actually interesting....He began by making a big pain in the rear of himself. On his first day, he told Alcoa’s executives that they weren’t going to talk people into buying aluminum and that they weren’t going to be able to raise prices, so the only way to improve the company’s fortunes was to lower its costs. And the only way to do that was with the cooperation of Alcoa’s workers. And the only way to get that was to show them that you actually cared about them. And the only way to do that was actually to care about them. And the way to do that was to establish, as the first priority of Alcoa, the elimination of all job-related injuries. Any executive who didn’t make worker safety his personal fetish- a higher priority than profits- would be fired.

On his second day, O’Neill told the same executives that he was eliminating the longstanding practice of paying their membership dues at a Pittsburgh-area country club that excluded women and blacks. He also, before it became fashionable, replaced the old corporate hierarchy with a flatter management structure. It took him several years, and he was forced to fire a few otherwise useful people who refused to believe he was serious about worker safety, but eventually established Alcoa as the world’s safest place to work. (To give you an idea of what he achieved, Treasury Department employees, most of whom don’t do much but sit at desks, missed work because of injury 20 times as often as Alcoa employees.) He proved to the satisfaction of people who worked for him that their old ideas of what was possible were based on artificial limits....Having persuaded the workers that he was on their side, they paid him back with greater efficiency.”