Indiana girl at heart 46062 317-350-0037 tparke@terriswritings.com MWF 9a-12p Tuesday-Thursday 2p-4pm Also by appointment

PodCast: Moving to McKinney, Making Change, and Reflecting

Today’s podcast is based on the article of a similar name about our move to Texas and our opportunities included with that.

I am excited to announce that I have office space in McKinney (Craig Ranch) Texas, and will begin seeing clients on July 8th. Hope your day is going well-and that you enjoy listening.

https://www.podbean.com/ei/pb-chz3p-b5cb74

Thanks!

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Saying Yes!! Graduating from Indiana to Texas, and the Predictive Index

Hi!! πŸ™‚ I’ve known B since her mom turned green at a staff meeting when some burnt popcorn was put in front of her.

I read a blog by my friend’s daughter the other day

At the time, she was an embryo of, well, I would guess 9-10 weeks gestation. It is more likely that gestational number is 7 or so. She was fairly early along in her pregnancy

I remember when she was born and many stories about B while she was growing up, especially between the ages of 0-10.

Son and puppy in our yard in Indiana

Her mom β€˜Monkey’ and I worked together every workday for about that long.

A couple of years before her mom left, her aunt β€˜Sha’ moved to town and joined us. I worked with her aunt and mom for 15 years combined.

All of us are still friends, so the stories we told about parenting and life became less less frequent but a little more sporadic since we stopped working together officially in 2009.

B, well she’s one of my favorites.

Which simply means: I like her a lot

She’s one of my favorite ages (early 20’s) and she recently wrote in her blog about her year of ‘saying yes‘. Saying Yes even when things make us nervous, or create anticipation, cause a little fear, or create what we in the mental health business call anxiety.

Anxiety is the manifestation of anxiousness, nervousness, anticipation and excitement. Same feeling, different manifestations.

Her 2018-2019 academic year culminated in a trip she’s about to take to South Africa.

That’s one of the things I love about 20 somethings.

They have the whole world in front of them, they get to make choices that affect their lives in ways they really don’t realize until they are older, and they are full of dreams.

We are also ‘saying yes’.

We are moving to sunshiny Dallas.

pic of view of McKinney from a window
View of our street in Texas

Being nearly 50 years old and saying yes?

I mean, being just barely over 48 and saying yes??

Well, it is still fun, great, with lots of new opportunities, with a little fear and concerns about the people ‘left behind’ going on.

I currently have summer custody of the grand-puppy, so he will be my co-pilot as we caravan the 14 hours of driving to Texas (more like 16). Probably going to take us several more hours than that, with stops and overnights for our Grand-pup Mosby, me and my husband Matt who will be driving his car.

3.5 years ago, we made this plan.

3 years ago, my he changed roles in his job.

He went from working inside an office from 8am-5pm in Carmel, Indiana; to roaming around a 4 state territory, which is all centralized to Dallas.

In the social service world, we call him home-based. Or we say his office is his car.

Basically, he is a home based financial planner advisor.

He’s been traveling back and forth since we decided to try this out in 2016, waiting for me to be ready to make the move to Texas while our children, who were 18 year old freshman to be at the time, finished up their senior year/graduation preparations.

Personally, I wanted to wait until my two college age boys, who are the same age, were older, since at that time they were just beginning college.

Black eyed Susans Growing In IN

His boss is Mike McGlothlin (McG) of Ash Brokerage at ashbrokerage.com

Mike is a boss who leads with compassion.

He. Leads. With….

Compassion.

He cares about our family as much as he cares about his individual employees. Ash is a family owned company (started and still run by Ashes). The company is based out of Ft. Wayne Indiana, there are employees in my husband’s role all over the country.

We met Mike when Matt began working for him, for the first time out of 3, when they worked together at Jackson National (2000), them Highland Capital Brokerage ( (2010) was next, and then they have settled again together at Ash.

Highland Capital started in 2010 for us, which was fairly soon after the recent financial crisis.

Jackson National was early 2000’s, so they have been together through good times and bad.

Ash Brokerage is a hybrid of being modeled after Tesla (newest ideas, newest ways) and good old fashioned family relationships.

It was started by Jim Ash, and his children Tracy, Tim and Amy Ash still actively work. Their parents are working to hand off the company but still have a hand in things. It’s a great place to work.

Our children were about 2 when we met Mike, and they are now Juniors in college. You get the idea of how long he has cared about our family through working together with Matt.

The spouses and families of employees are as important in getting things accomplished as the employees themselves at Ash Brokerage.

Mike and the Ashes recognize this, and Ash Brokerage frequently wins awards for being the ‘best place to work’.

πŸ™‚

So, Empty Nest Syndrome x3 as my boys moved to Bloomington and my husband started traveling every other week, Monday-Thursday.

Incidentally, my next door neighbor friend Christy, who is also a therapist, chose at that time to put her house on the market because they had an opportunity to live by some close friends, and it sold immediately.

At the time they moved, she was a parent with her husband to 3 boys, 2 of whom were twins and one who is older.

They ran to greet me if they were outside when I came home from work (or if I was outside at all).

My energy level is ‘high’, so children and puppies can be drawn to that. It seems to both draw and repel adults πŸ™‚

I sit on my porch with great frequency, so if I was outside, with or without Matt, we (the children and us) hung out under their parents’ supervision. I became friends with the parents through the kids, especially the oldest son when his twin brothers were brand new babies.

My boys at that time were slightly less excited to see me since they were about 14 when my friend Christy moved in next door with her husband and son.

I used the time in between moving and knowing we were going to move to get used to the idea of leaving a job I loved, as well as getting getting used to the idea of having physical distance between many friends and family.

My husband used that same time at the beginning of his new job/role to get used to his new role at his job, and to make sure it was a fit, which it is.

We both used that time to get more used to being apart, and not always being around each other, as well as getting used to working from home together.

We met at the ages of 20/21, so we’ve been together for a lot of our lives. I’m a titch older, FYI

IT. Was a change.

It. was. (and is).

a change.

Also, Planning a 3 year graduation from your home state to your new home state?

It has worked out just as we had planned, but it is still quite a long time.

We are moving exactly when I we wanted to move.

Exactly.

When Matt realized we needed to go ahead and move because of all of our life stressors, and our kids were going to have internships During the 2019 summer anyway, we talked about moving up our ‘move date’ to 2019 instead of 2020.

This allowed them to be wherever they wanted For their internships and determining their internship location, while knowing their Mom, on the daily, was a little sad about our upcoming physical distance.

They could be whereever was best for them, and we could plan for and know when we were going to move.

My my kids have finished their junior year of college, have internships and aren’t living at home this summer.

As they figure out where they will be after graduation next year, we are settling in Dallas and will be the new home base.

Exactly like I planned. The 5 months our house was on the market?

Ehhh…it’s all good.

It’s all OK now. πŸ™‚

But this ‘saying yes‘ to moving is a big change for someone who stays in contact with pretty much most of my good friends and family I’ve made along the way from ages 0-48. πŸ™‚

I’m one of those 2-3 friends people, meaning I have several groups of, or are friends with, groups of 2-3 of us.

I’m the middle child, so in many relationships I am the ‘middle person’. Somewhat like a middle manager, which is also a fit for me.

Many of those friendships are by text and people I rarely see in person.

I am pretty social, and chat with people-I ‘know‘ the Starbucks people, (patrons and employees) at the one I frequent the most, because I like to sit and write there.

The servers at restaurants I frequent are on a just above say hello relationship, and I have a random group of retired/work from home friends I know quite well from sitting and chatting in Starbucks while I write this blog :).

My need for social interaction is fairly high, so I get it just by hanging out in coffee shops (like I’m doing now).

I hung out in a coffee shop in Noblesville as I wrote this, and I’m at a new one, HarryLu’s in McKinney, as I write and edit this again.

I need a pretty good WiFi signal, which they have here, and the ranch where we’re staying temporarily doesn’t have as strong of one.

It’s a leap of faith.

It’s a giant

change.

There’s a personality assessment we used at my former employee the Children’s Bureau, Inc called the Predictive Index.

People taking the assessment check words that describe themselves to determine where they fall in 4 general areas.

There’s a midline for each type, and you fall either above, on, or below the midline in each area.

Here’s a pic of my graph, with a picture of my brother’s below it:

The tool is used to help predict who is a best fit for positions.

At the Children’s Bureau, we used it as a hiring tool to help get a jump on interacting with staff, each other, and supervisors.

Shorthand, it helps indicate what motivates people you supervise, as well as those who supervise you and in understanding yourself.

It is a great tool to help with understanding each other.

It is not intended to be a tool to rule out potential employees, but would do a pretty good job of showing that an accounting job, sitting at a desk all day, would not be a fit for me.

However, if you add in supervising accountants and everything I do is related to managing them??

It might work, hard to say. I haven’t done it. Yet.

Once the potential person (or brother, or husband, etc) answers the descriptive questions, it helps me to understand what drives other people as we know we are not always driven by the same things.

A quick overview:

Dominance: Like to be in charge and make decisions? Your “A” is probably above the midline. The term is called Dominance, but I also think of it in terms of Authority.

People who prefer not to pick where they want to go to dinner? Their A is probably not very above midline, and they would just as soon have someone else pick where to go and have what we, in my immediate family, call ‘veto power’. I don’t care where we go, but there might be places I don’t want to go at all.

They could be someone who is more likely to lead by consensus (coming to an agreement), or just figures out a way to rule out things they really don’t want.

Someone who is farther above midline is more likely to prefer that ‘someone make a decision, preferably me’. It takes all kinds, right?? πŸ™‚

Another tendency of those above the midline are that they tend to like being the one who came up with the idea, as opposed to those below the midline where getting credit for making decisions, or being acknowledged for their power/ability to be in control, is less important to them.

Many managers are highest A.

They like to make decisions, they like to be in charge, and it is a fit for them. Sometimes being in charge becomes more important than what is happening, so it can be a drawback as well.

My A is just below the midline. I lead what can be called ‘from the back’. I will direct as needed but do not have to be in charge. If no one is in charge, however, I will be happy to do so.

It makes me a little bit of an atypical manager.

I am what is known as a manager without a high A. I love to help my employees feel like they came up with idea. I love to staff something, like an upcoming child safety fair, and talk about the roles we all have and come up with a way to help others feel like they have a say in what they do, knowing they have to be there.

When I am managed by someone who has higher A than me, they may come to a meeting with a list of roles, here’s what you’re going to do, please be there at 9.

Some people love this quality in others, and my way of leading can make them a little crazy, or ‘cause an amount of frustration‘, as I had originally written.

πŸ™‚

Extroversion: Someone with their extroversion above the midline has what we call a ‘social driver’

Like to interact with people a lot of the time? Like to chat with people about things like haircuts, or having a new outfit, or what you did over the weekend?

That is a B above midline.

It is called Extroversion, but it is really about being driven socially.

If you interview someone who is highest B, they are fairly likely to get the job. They are able to figure out what you want from them, can probably ask you some things about what you are doing to engage you and figure out what you want from them, and you’ll feel a connection.

Sometimes, they end up in jobs they really are not a fit for because they are good at getting hired. They are good at learning what is expected of them and meeting expectations.

Someone who is below the midline in this area, or what we call a lower B, is less good at figuring out what someone wants because they are not as driven socially. They are not as motivated by it.

They may be the one who doesn’t join the group to go to lunch because they don’t like that restaurant, or who is driven by a bonus vs. being told ‘good job’.

Their social drivers are lower, so someone asking them if they got their haircut is more of an annoyance than a way to connect.

Patience: This category has a lot of similarities to extroversion, but it is more about having meaningful conversations/connections. Sort of like a picky eater’s group of foods vs. a ‘I love to eat’ group of foods.

Have a small group of friends who you are close to? Like familiarity and routine? Have the patience to sit and figure something out as you either teach or learn because you want to know it to be able to do it in the future?

The 3rd category is called Patience, which is a little bit a misnomer because I’m pretty impatient in a line, etc, but that is called “pace

FYI, I am a high C who moves at a pretty quick pace, so if you don’t move up in the line at the grocery store I might crowd you JUST a little to help you move forward.

People who have a C above the midline are also driven socially, but it is different than extroversion.

As a highest C, it is hard for me not to describe this type as ‘the one that is the right way to be that frustrates some other people’.

Ever tried to teach someone something and they say ‘hang on, I’m trying to understand what you’re saying. Let me do that myself so I can understand‘.

Then, once they have driven you almost to the point of madness, they know how to do it well because they took the time to learn it.

For me, this area comes with a lot of trial and error-because I just try, then go back and edit/fix/work through the kinks. If you’d like to see, go back to my earliest blogs, take a look, and you’ll probably get an idea from the ones I haven’t fixed the typos on yet πŸ™‚

It is being social, but wanting familiarity. It liking routine and consistency, and then thriving in that environment. People who are highest C typically do much worse under pressure, so they can be difficult to supervise if the person who is supervising them needs deadlines and pressure to perform.

People who are below the midline in this category are not driven socially and people who do not have this trait might be someone who might say ‘can you unravel this necklace for me? I don’t have the patience’.

Can you figure out how to do this and tell me, I am getting too frustrated. The reason it is called patience is because it is more about having the quality to be methodical, like routine, etc. If you don’t have it, it is the absence of that.

At Chiro

Formality: The final category, called ‘D’, is about formality. It is an adherence to rules and the way things are ‘supposed to be’.

Love to be told what the rules are and follow them? Love to be told what is expected of you and you complete the task? Get frustrated when people do not follow the recommended rules even if they are not essential?

I call the people with this characteristic rule followers, and they are usually great with details, if they take the time to look at them. They can be ‘can’t see the forest for the trees people‘, as opposed to can’t see the trees for the forest people. . They are people who are great at going what I call ‘left to right’. They are usually pretty systematic.

People below the midline in this area are much less married to rules.

They may think ‘I know that we aren’t supposed to do it this way, so just let me try’. I am below the midline on this, but just barely. Some things I have tried are: cooking without baking soda/baking powder, because I get them mixed up and didn’t have them on hand (important rule). Not pre-heating the oven ( how much can it really matter?? I’m over that one. It kind of matters for consistency)

Someone above the midline in this area has feelings like ‘but that’s not what the rules say-the process is supposed to go like this’. One of my favorite employees with this characteristic said, frustratedly, at a meeting-‘all of this is in the manual?? Why didn’t they just read it??

My friend and co-worker said at the end of the meeting ‘who reads manuals??’ She did, and thank goodness for it. She knew her job front to back, right to left, upside and down.

Integration

People who have highest A and highest D (my brother and husband included here) have what is called the A-D conflict. I want to do it my way, I want to be in charge, but I want it to be right.

It is important to look at which is higher. In my brother’s case, high D is higher than his A, so being correct is more important than being in charge when it ultimately comes down to it.

Boy can that be stressful!

Wthout social drivers, people being upset or having feelings about which way to do it is preferred isn’t a motivator.

Conversely, someone who is socially driven, or who succeeds by learning what is expected, communicating, connecting, and having relationship?

They are going to be socially driven whether they want to be or not.

Some might call them ‘say yes’ people.

I have a friend who lives in a different state who took the PI. This person is highest B and highest C. She cannot help but know what people want socially, because she feels it. She doesn’t have to act on it, but she is driven to succeed based on social interactions because that is what drives her.

I am socially driven, but also really like to succeed and do well. I also like variety, and am not married to rules.

For someone who is higher A and C, they are driven to be in charge, they like routine, and being in charge is the most important thing of all OR the routine is the most important thing of all depending on which is higher.

If A is higher, than the preference to have things be their idea, or to come up with things and delegate, is more important than the social driver of being with other people or being driven by that.

As you may notice in the above picture, I am on the midline on extroversion (B) and formality (D). l am one to two clicks above the mean on Patience (C), and I am just barely below the mean on Dominance (A).

I like to say I have no personality. They call people like me, the ones with no personality, the CIA types. We tend to blend depending on the situation.

mailbox

Other Indicators

One of the other indicators on the tool is looking at how far apart the graph is. You know those friends who just have giant personalities and if they are there you can always remember them?

Now think about people you know who can slip into a room unnoticed, can join a group without affecting it as much. The difference is the variation from the midline, or how wide the graph is, which how strong their answer is in certain areas.

For me, I have a familiar face, people don’t remember me, and I am fine with that. I have what one of my friends/co-workers called ‘a small ripple’.

My husband, and friends I tend to choose to be around, typically have a much bigger ripple, and frequently have very different letters than I do.

My husband is highest A and D. My brother is highest D and A. Both of them like to be in charge, love to do things right, and sometimes have a conflict about whether to do things their way or the way he’s supposed to.

To which I have been known to say ‘who cares?? Does it matter?

Let me tell you, to them it does.

My conflict is-do I have to do this the right way, or can i do it my way without consequence? We’re a fit.

Pictured above are our grand-pup Mosby and his first friend, Smokey. Mosby is being socialized to be around other dogs, since he has spent most of his life around people very and he has very rarely had a conflict with another dog

And here we go to Texas.

Anybody want to join us??

It’s a beautiful city and all kinds of people are moving there.

Luckily my childhood friends Cara and Sara live here.

I’m editing from a restaurant in Flower Mound, so we’ll get to hang out more, particularly since Cara is about 5 minutes away from our real house in a city of about 150,000.

If you feel like moving to McKinney, Texas, let me know. I’ll see you there!

I have now taken my low ripple, CIA self to Texas, learning a new city, and figuring out how I will use my therapy license while maintaining relationships with my friends and family.

When I think about changes I have made in the past, I have also anticipated them with excitement. I have enjoyed every stage of my life so far, including my kids growing up on me and moving to college, so……..here we go!!

*how long until I start saying y’all?? I mean, it’s everywhere.

So….here we go!

Parenting with Fierceness: Moving from Pre-Teen to Teen, or Toddler to Pre-Schooler (Hint: It Is Pretty Much the Same)

3rd Grade School Pics

When my kids were about 12, I was in a meeting with a woman with adult children.

She said something wise, which has stuck with me since then and proven true time and time again.

Backing up a little, that day I was at a meeting with providers (which means people who work as professionals with families) discussing how to help encourage a family with a teenager to provide a safe environment where the child could either continue to live or that they could return back to living.

At the time, I was providing Home Based Therapy in Marion County, Indiana.

My role as a therapist was to work with the children and adults in a family to help the adults provide a safe, stable environment to the teens or children which had not been provided one at some point.

The families in this program had experience abused or neglect in some way.

Her words of wisdom went something like this:

‘Toddlers and Teen are just the same. A two year old and a four year old are bursting with the independence that they are trying to obtain. We expect it, and we allow for it.

They are small people, so they can be relatively easy to contain in general.

Teenagers are bigger versions. A 12 year old is like a 2 year old, and a 14 year old is like a 4 year old.

They are much bigger in size, are not nearly as easy to control physically, and are also generally bursting with ideas for their own independence as well’

One of my favorite things about this supervisor was her ability to get her team to provide quality work.

At that time, I was providing direct service (therapy) for 18 months, which was a break from supervising staff. I have supervised staff for the majority of my career, so this experience allowed me to learn from her a little differently than if we were peers.

She supervised her staff in a way which encouraged reliability, communication, and caring for the families they worked with.

She supervised people who worked for the Department of Child Services, which is a very difficult role to be in.

We know that anyone who has gone through their adolescent years, or early twenties, or whenever we ‘broke’ away from our parents in some ways, that it is part of adolescence.

Adolescents have the job of establishing independence. They are more interesting in their peers and their friends, developmentally. Their parents are trying to advise and guide them to making safe decisions.

One of the norms that i have noticed changing a bit in the last few years is about perceived safety and how do we deal with teens and those computers in their hands.

When I was a teen, back in the 80’s, I had some pretty emphatic boundaries. My parents were stricter than many of my friends’ parents in some ways, so if I went on a date in high school we stayed in Tipton.

Keeping my location local helped my parents with a sense of safety, while also extremely limiting our movie and dinner options.

We had one movie theatre with one screen, and a few places to eat but not many of them involved sitting down and ordering.

We were beginning to learn about typing on computers at school, but personal computers would come out a few years later.

How does this apply to you?

Think about how you parent your child, particularly if they are a teen.

I was able to hear Dawn Crossman speak on Saturday at an event called ‘SHIFT’, which was put on by the Peyton Reikoff Foundation.

She discussed some things about parenting intense teens that I have found in my experiences as well.

As teens work to establish that sense of self and figure out who they are, we need to protect them when we can and allow some mistakes, just like we do with our 2 and 4 year olds.

If a two year old is still struggling to walk well, we don’t tell them to stop walking.

We encourage them to figure out how to walk better through those falls where they plop down. I love to watch early walkers run, and just lead with those giant heads.

The same is true for 12 year olds and 14 year olds.

Let them make mistakes they can learn from, while staying aware of their own tendency to, as my husband coined ‘run with the bad ideas’.

He was talking with my son at dinner one night at during those pre-teens years and mentioned ‘you get a ‘bad’ idea, you think it is good, and then you run with it. You just run faster and faster with the idea’.

I tend to avoid using the terms good and bad, but think about this how it relates to you.

My son loves people, loves to have fun, and loves to spend time with friends. We worked, in high school, to encourage him to complete his home work at a pace possibly slower than 100 mph, but we did not monitor it.

Having academically strong children comes with its own sets of perks and balances, and for us one reality was that we never monitored their homework closely.

We did look at their power school, or the school website where grades were listed, and my guess is this conversation either had something to do with hanging out with friends longer than allowed him to have sleep, or it had something to do with turning in an assignment he had missed.

Either way, the example was used that day, and for years to come. Eventually it got shortened to ‘just keep running! Keep running with those ideas’, with a smile and some arm motions imitating running.

As we parent our children, we want to establish a sense of trust when we can.

We want to hold our children, pre-teens, and teens accountable to help motivate them to make decisions that will ultimately help them grow into accountable adults who are productive citizens.

Making it work:

Think about who you want to motivate, who might be acting like a temper tantruming toddler.

How do you encourage them, as they are demonstrating that independence so willfully, to continue to be persistent in ways that help them and to give-in in ways that are holding them back?

I encourage you to think of a way to use that accountability and knowledge of their developmental age as you make rules, consequences, and motivate those in your care.

I hope you enjoy your weekend! Basketball is everywhere if you enjoy watching it.

Podcast 5: A Team Success Story: Managing with Trust

Click below to listen to a Podcast about a successful team experience at a social service agency. Happy Listening!

www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-e23mv-ac3010

Managing with Trust: A Success Story

I love to lead staff.

I really enjoy building relationships where staff who are working begin to be able to do more and more on their own.

I also enjoy meeting with staff for what I usually call individual supervision where we  (the verb) ‘staff’, which means discussing the people they are working with and working to improve the skills the employee has, while at the same time I hear their perspectives on things that are going well and ideas they have to help the families make change to reduce the stresses in their own lives.

A few years ago, I had what I commonly refer to as ‘a really strong team’.

We were a group who enjoyed each other, which her its own perks and drawbacks, but for this team, it was a perk.

We had a group staff meeting each month.

At that staff meeting, I pre-printed an agenda which had pertinent information on it, such as processes that were changing or being updated, upcoming events where they had the opportunity to work at, and we staffed clients.

One of my staff referred to the staff meetings as a gathering where all of the kids come home.

For this group, we covered 4 counties in Indiana. One of the counties, Hamilton, has a huge number of people living in it, and 7 public school districts in it. Four of those are among the highest populated schools in the state, and one of them is among one of the most rural areas of the state where the closest grocery store is a 15 minute drive from the center of town.

The other 3 counties were very individualized as well. Madison County has one of the highest number of people in poverty and using illegal/non-prescribed drugs both in the state and nationwide.

Hancock is what is commonly referred to as a ‘bedroom’ community, with 4 school systems of its own ranging from just outside of Indianapolis (Marion County) to quite rural communities as well.

The final county in our area, where I was brought up, is Tipton. Tipton is historically a farm community with some of the richest soil in the nation where many of us who grew up there in the 80’s detassled corn.

So on these staff meetings, the 6 staff who served the 4 counties, our administrative assistant, and our safe sleep coordinator gathered with me to discuss upcoming events, things going well, and things to work on.

Recently, one of my staff from that time period posted a picture where she and her co-worker dressed as our male co-worker in his football jerseys.

Anytime you have a group that is cohesive and works well together, I think it is important to look back at what went well to try to re-create it.

For this group, I am listing below some of our strengths and areas that creative a positive work environment:

1. The job in and of itself is a hopeful job that allowed us to help people. We worked in prevention, which allowed us to work with families on a voluntary basis.

2. There was a whole lot of trust.

Three of the staff primarily worked in Madison County, and they developed a very close friendship with each other. They had a group chat where they were able to bounce ideas off of each other as they worked with some families in some extreme poverty.

3. Availability of office space.Three of the 4 counties had offices in them, which allowed the workers to have a place to land and decompress. The most isolated person was definitely based out of our Hancock County office, which was two rooms in a building with several other individual offices in there. This allowed her to get to know the services in the community on a closer level as she spent time in her office.

4. Each person who worked in the community cared about their community. Tipton, having about 16,000 people in the county and about 5,000 people who live in the town of Tipton, was always the hardest to hire for. Since I grew up, went to high school, and have worked in the community for most of my professional career I was able to help that along.

Each of the other counties had staff who worked in them who either lived in or near the community, which helped with the driving around the county and with their own sense of community.

5 Those staff meetings we loved? We ate at them. We started with having a bagel breakfast at our 10:00 meeting, but eventually switched to an 11-1 meeting time with lunch included and paid for by the agency to allow us to eat lunch. This allowed the staff to see clients prior to the meeting if they wanted, and it also gave us some casual, get your food time to discuss some of the ‘softer’ skills of their work.

6. It was a great team with great staff. I had hired, with the help of the VP above me, well and had a group that was skilled in many areas and helped each other.

The take-away from this article is this: think about how can you work well together with your team.

What can you do, that you have control of, to improve your work environment?

As in all situations, things evolve and change, and people who work in entry level positions who are pretty skilled in their role sometimes want to move up or move on.

How can you help staff who are in a place where they are ready for more challenges incorporate those new challenges or ideas into their role or be able to incorporate those skills into their next role?

As an employee, what can you do, in your role, to improve morale with your own behavior?

Recapping, my success story is not about one employee. It is about a work environment based on trust, workability, and good humor.

I hope you find some fun in your tasks today! It is sunny here, which always starts my day off a little better.

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