Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Working With "Difficult Populations"

While doing some research, I discovered that a huge emphasis on Staff and Professional Development will require best practices training for working with what is now referred to as "difficult populations."  The problem statement might be summed up like this:

Most adults work easily with the traditional leaders of a school but are looking for the skills to work with “difficult populations”

Working with over 60 schools across 20 states, we have found that a real "GAMECHANGER" can be in understanding the difference between a "leader" and an "influencer".  Adults will quickly seek the input of "traditional" leaders like the Student Council president, the captain of the soccer team, the Lead in the annual musical, etc.  However, there are so many more "influencers" who are GREATLY affecting the culture and climate at any given site.  Instead of lamenting this fact, we empower people to harness that influence and power!  You see, it's possible, that students being identified as "difficult populations", in reality, may be the students whose gifts, talents, opinions and thoughts are underutilized and underincorporated, resulting in feelings of disenfranchisement and disconnectedness.  No doubt that there are those with addiction issues, mental health challenges, and any number of issues affecting their behavior in school who do need additional services.  But we are saying that many young people are thrown into a category and labelled as "difficult" when, in reality, they may have never been given skills, opportunity and recognition they are seeking.

We will be announcing a 1-Day Professional Development training called "Harnessing the Untapped Power Hiding in Plain Sight". 

Want a sneak peek or more information Email me at:

Friday, March 23, 2012

Getting the Results You Hope For? Want Others to Join You in Your Work?

Let me challenge you to:

1.       Think Differently
2.       Act Differently
3.       Achieve Differently

In today’s economy, school budgets are significantly smaller, leading to teacher lay-offs, leading to larger class sizes, leading to increase in teacher workload, leading to teacher frustration and not feeling valued.  So much responsibility is placed upon one segment of the educational system, faculty and staff.  We hear the outcry from teachers asking other stakeholders to share in school improvement and academic achievement, namely the students themselves and their parents! 

If you are a faculty/staff member, you have an ally with us!  It is our sincere belief that often we expect action from people who probably have never been organized, empowered or mobilized to share the work.  We must believe that most people want to do the right thing most of the time.  Maybe the problem isn’t with the desire, but in the design. 

I learned a valuable lesson as a varsity basketball coach.  I whined and complained that the parents never got involved or rarely committed to helping.  A parent said to me, “If you really want us to help, just tell us exactly what you want.”  “Tell us specifically that you want brownies at the gym every Thursday at 3:00.”  Let’s organize, empower and mobilize the students themselves, and yes, even the parents, to become “carriers” of school and community improvement!  Let’s stop assuming that others know what to do and how to do it.  What we can and should do is to provide skills, opportunity and recognition so that others can join us in our work.

Feel free to contact me at

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Does the Concierge Approach Align with the SPF?

As coalitions and agencies write and submit their strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, it is important to note that our staff has extensive experience regarding SAMHSA'S Strategic Prevention Framework that grantees must adhere to. The Concierge Approach™ absolutely aligns with SAMHSA’S Strategic Prevention Framework.

The Strategic Prevention Framework steps include:  Assessment, Capacity Building, Planning, Implementation and Evaluation.

The Concierge Approach™ Steps:

Phase 1: Planning & Training (organize& empower)

Phase 2: Data Collection & Information Gathering (assess target audience & target issue)

Phase 3: Campaign Development (create campaign branding & marketing plan)

Phase 4: Campaign Implementation (empower/ mobilize/ call to action)

Phase 5: Review & Evaluate (is anyone better off?)

You will notice that Assessment, Capacity Building and Planning occur throughout Phases 1, 2 and 3 of The Concierge Approach™.

Implementation of the SPF aligns with The Concierge Approach™, Phase 4.

Evaluation occurs in The Concierge Approach™ Phase 5.

We have collaborated with many sites as they write their strategic plans that meet the requirements of the funders and wish you the best as you continue your efforts!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Can Employee Satisfaction Equal Great Customer Service?

Competition can be great within companies as they compete for the same markets offering similar products.  The real “gamechanger” may be GREAT (not just good) customer service!  Many believe that employees who are bonded and attached to their company may be the best kept secret in improving customer service.  Being bonded and attached is not enough, I would argue.  Utilizing Hawkins and Catalano’s “Social Development Strategy”, your employees need skills, opportunity and recognition.  When you provide skills, opportunity and recognition appropriately, with fidelity and with cultural competency, a natural outcome might just be improved employee satisfaction and greater customer service to consumers of your products. 
Is there a process that can be implemented?  Consider organizing, empowering and mobilizing your existing workforce to be the very carriers of the behaviors your company desires. 
  1. Data Collection and Needs Assessment
  2. Strategic Planning and Implementation
  3. Evaluation and Sustainability.
Valuing your employees can lead to a natural outcome of employee satisfaction.  Then, employee satisfaction can lead to great customer service which, in turn, could lead to capturing a greater share of the market in a competitive world of similar products and services.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Youth Listen To Youth

While researching some material for a new book, I was reviewing the writings of Nancy Tobler, PhD.  I had become a big fan when I was the Student Assistance Coordinator for our local school district.  She had made a tremendous contribution to the field of prevention with the completion of her meta-analysis of 120 prevention programs available for children and adolescents.  I relied on her findings when making curricular and programming decisions for our students and prevention specialists and much of her writing contributes to what many people refer to as research-based or evidence-based material.

The following statement caught my eye and was new to me; “During adolescence, establishing relationships with peers takes priority over those with adults.  Groups offer support and define reality for adolescents and furnish an excellent opportunity to challenge the almost universal tendency of adolescents to overestimate the extent of drug use among their peers.” 
These two sentences capture the essence of what our student-implemented campaigns are intended to accomplish.  Through custom designed surveys and focus group interactions, the data we collect confirms what Dr. Tobler stated; that teens consistently overestimate the extent of negative behavior of their peers.  When such a misperception exists, teens are more at risk to engage in similar behavior or attitudes because of a second universal tendency, that of wanting to belong and fit in.  When these youth become the collective voice exclaiming that most teen behavior is actually healthier than they presume and market this reality in an edgy and youth-centric fashion, meaningful things can happen.  Youth listen to youth as Dr. Tobler points out. We need to capitalize on this reality.