Thursday, September 22, 2016


I know, I know…I have already, many times, lamented the fact that change managers often talk about what they want to have happen but seldom give a plan.  Examples might be to increase graduation rates, decrease drug use, get more parent involvement, clean up a neighborhood, etc., etc., etc….  I can NOT help myself but to lament again during this interesting political season.  I hear candidates, news commentators and contributors talking about increasing the minimum wage, decreasing crime, eliminating racism, providing more jobs, making college more affordable, providing healthcare for all and many other promises.  FOLKS, these are all OUTCOMES!!!  We need to hear the steps; the HOW of what they are going to do!!!  Give us the vital behaviors that will be used to achieve the goals and outcomes.  Then, give US, the general population, steps on how we can be part of those solutions.  Now that would be real leadership!

It is no wonder the general voting population, students, parents, communities feel detached and separated from solutions to the issues.  What is NEEDED to connect desired populations to the issues of concern is a JOB and an ACTION PLAN!  Maybe the job of REAL leaders is to provide a blueprint that includes vital behaviors that concerned citizens can get behind.  Maybe we are all tired of talk and want to help take ACTION.  Oh, don’t worry, when people want change, they will devise a way and it may not be to the liking of the leadership. 

No better time to consider Jim’s constant drumbeat: “When a group of people is organized, empowered and mobilized with an authentic voice and message, they can become a formidable influence capable of impacting a culture of success”. 


Monday, September 19, 2016

Perception Does Matter!

We got a call to work in a school where enrollment continued to fall.  We learned that the community perception was that this was the “ghetto” school.  In reality, the scores and other data revealed that the students were actually performing as well as, and many times even better, than the other schools in the district.  Focus group data as well as survey data showed that people had the perception that this was a trashy school and that violence was an issue.  Using one of our techniques of assessment we like to call, “Community Walkabouts”, we saw that the garbage dumpsters were placed in the front of the school.  Of course this made the school look “trashy”.  Additionally, the School Resource Officer parked the squad car in the front parking lot nearest to the main traffic area.  We soon realized that the perception was that the police are always going to that school and that MUST mean violence. 
Sometimes, change can be as simple as “cleaning up” negative appearances.  Perception does matter, so we developed a campaign to clear up the misperceptions and to publicize the health that actually existed at that school.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Is That REALLY the Issue???

Since you are thinking about addressing issues in your school, community, business or organization, let me save you some time, money and grief…NEVER dare to identify an “issue” without first engaging the very people you hope to change!  Our motto is:  When a group of people is organized, empowered and mobilized with an authentic voice and message, they can become a formidable influence capable of impacting a culture of success”.

In Phase I of “The Concierge Approach”, you MUST identify and involve key stakeholders.  Some necessary participants may include: students, faculty, program leaders, coaches, parents, law enforcement, mental health professionals, business leaders, governmental authorities, coalition members, funders, just to name a few.

1.      You might learn that most of the people are concerned about a different issue

2.      There might be underlying causes or precursors to the issue

3.      The very people you  hoped would participate may not want to address the issue you have identified

4.      You could alienate the target audience because they may think you don’t care about their opinions

5.      Etc., Etc., Etc.,

One example of too much assuming and too little listening:

School leadership and community leaders thought the abuse of prescription drugs at the local high school was a huge problem and data showed that that use was a growing problem.  However, the students themselves identified that the underlying cause was STRESS.  We built a campaign around the cause, which in turn addressed the problem.  The students themselves came up with strategies.  They advocated for and got a “no homework day”.  They formed a stress reducing room where, during exams, they could go and listen to relaxing music on their breaks.  They also had funny movies streaming in the commons area during lunch period.  All of these strategies proved to affirm the concerns of the students and the students themselves reported positive results.

So, what do you do?  We use two techniques at the very beginning of a project.  After identifying key stakeholders, we use focus group techniques which provide the opportunity for a group interview.  Focus groups create an interactive medium where participants feel validated and listened to.  We then hold what we call “Key Informant Interviews” which provides the opportunity to learn from individuals who possess historical, political and cultural perspectives that can prove to be invaluable to the project.  The inclusions of key informants may generate allies and champions to the cause and these allies usually wield various levels of influence.

Questions?  Email me at

Thursday, September 8, 2016

What Do You Want to Change in Your School/Community/Organization?

In our continuing discussion on “readiness”, you may be asking, “What behaviors can be changed?”  Many of you have read our book, Untapped Power, and have seen the results of desired change.  (Haven't yet read our book?  Request a copy and I will be happy to mail one. Here is a list of some of the issues we have helped schools, communities and other organizations address:

·         Student Empowerment

·         Graduation rates

·         School attendance

·         Distracted driving

·         Parent interest and involvement

·         Substance abuse prevention/Underage drinking

·         Motivating students in alternative education settings

·         Creating healthy culture and climate within an organization

·         Healthy community values

·         (to name a few)


Some of the branding “tags” used to address issues were:

·         “We Run This”-to increase student leadership and empowerment

·         “Crazy Mammas”-parent involvement

·         “Undefeated”-graduation rates

·         “#DriverFail”-distracted driving

·         “Slow Your Roll”-stress and pharmaceutical abuse

·         “We On That Next-Level Swagga!”-school pride

·         “El Patriota”-overcoming false community perceptions regarding Hispanic students

·         “OWN (Own My Life, Own My Future)”-accepting personal responsibility

·         “Not For Sale”-parent and community values

·         “Solid Gold”-school pride

·         “Manifest Your Own Destiny”-ownership of your future endeavors

As you can see, you can make change and achieve desired outcomes when a proven process is followed, when you have the right people “on the bus” and when the target audience is given important and meaningful work. The issues to be addressed are only limited by the ideas and concerns of the key stakeholders.  Remember, people support what they help create!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

HUGE Lesson Learned: Make SURE to Invest in READINESS...

Change management in any school, community or organization is usually worthwhile, yet extremely challenging!  Start by asking yourself, your team and your target audience the question, “Are we ready?”  Investing time, treasure and talent up front will surely pay huge dividends over the course of any initiative! 

What does it even mean to be “ready”?  Our best and most time consuming work is always in the readiness phase.  SAMHSA and other agencies and organizations identify this as the initial phase and tell you to “profile population needs, resources, and readiness to address needs and gaps”.  In our manual and trainings, we call the entire readiness process “Essential Attributes to a Successful Start”.   Whatever the terminology, here is what readiness encompasses:

1.      Vision and Sense of Purpose

2.      Mandate and Authority

3.      Project Manageability, Boundaries and Identification

4.      Time, Treasures and Talent

5.      Community Climate

6.      Cultural Competency

7.      Communication Plan

8.      Sustainability

For each of these readiness components, we take you through a series of questions, assessments and capacity building strategies.  As you follow the process, you are actually documenting so that much of your required reporting will already be done!  Who needs one more thing to do???

At the end of the above 8 steps, the lessons we learned are:

·         Is everyone at the table?  (This is a complete process in itself, but absolutely necessary at the beginning as people support what they help create!)

·         Make sure to maintain an accurate timeline and chart progress

·         Coordinate and document all details

Any Questions?  Contact me at:

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Strategic Prevention Framework Discussion #1

We are back!  Just updated our manual, Passport to Success, that is a compilation of processes and procedures for addressing identified issues, specifically prevention efforts!  This manual guides communities and coalitions in addressing issues while meeting the requirements of the Strategic Prevention Framework.  How do we know?  I have worked as the Executive Director of Safe & Drug Free Schools and Communities program within the Governor's Office, State of Louisiana.  We received a 5-year SPF grant and were tasked with implementing a plan in the days when little information and guidance was available.  Additionally, Jim, Ray and I worked as part of a team assisting 60 schools and communities across 20 states in the creation, implementation and evaluation of their strategic plans.  Number one concern for me is that after receiving an award, those overseeing the award are at a loss as to where to begin!  The beginning may be overwhelming!  That's why we chronicled processes, procedures, lessons learned and course corrections. 

In the next several blogs, I will share much of our evidence-based strategies that are universally applied and how all efforts are driven by relevant and current data.  We espouse a strength-based approach to prevention efforts which re-energizes staff and community and that shows positive outcomes. 

Stay tuned!  Much more to come!
Jan Campain