Designing-Child’s-Play-Takes-Serious-Planning

Playgrounds are at the center of most neighborhoods in America and play a vital role in the lives of children. Children need access to open areas and facilities where they explore, develop, and challenge themselves as part of their physical, intellectual, creative, and social development. Providing safe, high-quality public playgrounds represents a valuable investment for organizations and society as a whole by laying the foundation for healthy, active lifestyles. Accessible equipment and surfacing is essential, so children have the opportunity to grow and develop through different types of play experiences. To increase safety and operational effectiveness, key team members in public agencies need to make informed decisions regarding playground location, design, accessibility, equipment, surfacing, and maintenance.

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The Bottleneck – A Lack of Succession Planning in HR

We are all faced with a hobbling paradox. Most agree that employees make or break an enterprise, but the HR team often seems to be constantly catching up. Business leaders complain that they have to “break in” new HR people, and that individuals with HR degrees in college are not overly useful. Finally, when business leaders do praise HR, it is an individual person who gets praised, not the department. Obviously, this impacts Training and Development efforts directly. Any real effort to develop Big Skills requires a trust on the sponsor’s part and a competency on the deliverer’s part that too often are just not there. And any T+D efforts not around Big Skills is just treading water for the training group. As I work with global organizations, I have recently been aware of a staggering truth. Most HR groups have no succession planning for themselves. This is true even when HR works hard to create succession planning for every other part of the enterprise. If this is true, it both provides an explanation and a surprisingly easy remedy for the Hobbled HR group. And best of all, HR is already good at it: they know the tools of identification, rotational assignments, fast tracking, retention for strategic talent, partnering with business groups on critical projects, and global exposure. We have all heard the jokes about the lawyer who died without leaving a will, or the shoemaker’s children going barefoot. So maybe it is time for the doctor to heal thyself.

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Succession Planning Presents Challenges for Most Companies

Future success for any business depends in part on who is leading the business, yet according to new research from the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) the majority of companies admit their efforts in succession planning are weak. As the global economy struggles out of the recession it is incumbent on business leaders to identify key positions, critical knowledge and skills, and the talent needed to meet short- and long-term goals, as well as put in place a working process for developing and advancing employees in the succession pipeline. Despite this demand only 14 percent of companies surveyed by ASTD said their organization’s succession planning efforts were successful to a high or very high degree. ASTD surveyed leaders from 1,247 organizations for its new study Improving Succession Plans: Harnessing the Power of Learning and Development. Key findings include: The study also offers recommendations for creating metrics, candidate selection, and key practices to cope with barriers to effective plans. A “Lessons Learned” section shares some of the wisdom gained from study respondents. Improving Succession Plans: Harnessing the Power of Learning and Development is free to ASTD members and may be downloaded from the ASTD Store at www.store.astd.org.

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Succession Planning – Building a Dynasty

There are generally three types of people in the world today – those who live for what was, those who live for what is, and those who live for what will be. If you take a moment to think about it, you can come up with people in your life that fit all three categories. Rarely do you find those who are wise enough to incorporate the lessons of the past, live fully for today, and plan accordingly for the future. As a volunteer leader, it is imperative that you become just that for the sake of your chapter! As an avid college basketball fan, I look not only at the current state of my team, but also to what the outlook is for next year, the year after, and the year after that. As they say in the sport, “Your program is only as good as next year’s recruiting class.” This mirrors a question that confronts chapter leaders every year, “How do we ensure that this year’s team maintains success next year?” The answer is simple – focus not on the team, but also on the program as a whole. To begin, take a look at your “starting lineup” – your current board. Who will be staying on next year? Who will be leaving? Who might be a rising star due for a breakout year, and who is burnt out and no longer contributing to the success of the chapter as they once were? Then, look at your membership. Specifically identify the members you will actively recruit to fill holes on the roster and list as “bench players”. Ask yourself, “Who is ready to step up and fill a gap immediately? Who needs additional training before they become a key cog on the board?” Once you have an accurate snapshot of your team, it becomes much easier to identify gaps in the roster and where to focus your recruiting efforts. A basketball team with a lot of returning talent amongst their big post players won’t make a pitched effort to recruit more big post players for the coming season. Rather, they focus their recruiting attention on the guards. This is the same strategy an effective chapter should employ. Let me use an example of a chapter that has an energetic V.P. of Membership that plans on remaining on the board for several years, but also has a V.P. of Programming that’s moving out of market. The best method to add to the team is to employ a targeted recruiting campaign rather than a “one size fits all” appeal to the membership. In this case, approach a member who has been vocal about programming (and they’re in no short supply!) to make the recruiting pitch directly. The other key distinction between team and program is prestige. How well does the name alone recruit? The University of North Carolina and Duke University are “bluebloods” in the college basketball world. The prestige of their names alone have the best of the best drawn to them on a continual basis. Their name brand sells itself, self-perpetuating the cycle of excellence. When your chapter has reached the point where people approach YOU to become the next generation of volunteer leaders, you’ll know that your chapter has arrived. All in all, your legacy as chapter leaders will be defined not only by the state of the chapter in 2009, but also by the state of the chapter in 2019. If you plan ahead, identify talent, fill vacancies before they become gaps, and keep your name brand strong through great programming, you will become a true program builder yourself by establishing a prestigious name that recruits on its own and becomes a “blueblood” ASTD chapter.

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