Three steps from Surviving to Thriving!

Three steps from surviving to thriving!

Do you enjoy change? Does the unknown of tomorrow thrill you with anticipation and excitement for the surprises that await you? Are you eager and prepared for whatever the day throws at you?

I’m not.  There, I’ve said it.  Sometimes I’d rather just close my eyes and wake up in the morning and take whatever life tosses my way, one thing at a time.

As an entrepreneur, I don’t have that luxury.  Just as I’m sure you have days where you’d just rather…not. But you have to, because of responsibilities.

We do the best we can, we try to plan ahead, accounting for every eventuality and contingency, and hope that things go according to plan.  But they don’t always, do they? When things go awry as they have with the Coronavirus outbreak, we all are facing changes unlike any we’ve experienced before, and we have decisions to make.

For some people though, change is particularly hard. Making a decision with so little clear direction or reliable information can be daunting, even if you’re pretty comfortable with change. For others, it’s almost impossible to make a decision. Fear can lock them into a cycle of analysis-paralysis which is great for procrastinating, but unhelpful for decision making.

This simple 3-step process can be applied to almost any situation where change is evident or required. It can be applied organizationally, individually, whether you’re a leader or a follower. This universal approach is the first step in improving your ability to deal with change: Identify, Pivot, Adapt.

Identify

The first step is to identify the problem, and the source of the problem as best we can. In my business, classroom-based training and consulting services, the problem is obvious. Nobody wants to sit in a classroom (neither do I), and employers are actively laying off consultants first.

Identifying the source of the problem is also important because that’s how you can determine what your level of influence is. What part of the issue are you able to control? I know for example that the outbreak is like to come in waves over the next 1-2 years until a vaccine becomes available to the public at large. I know that it’s got a widespread infection rate which has resulted in businesses shutting down, mass layoffs, and an upsurge in people working remotely and self-distancing. I don’t need to know every detail, but this information alone helped me pivot.

Pivot

Pivoting is an intermediary action. When a basketball player is blocked, they pivot on one foot to shift their body in a different direction. We have 360 degrees of pivoting available to us, so choosing the direction you want to aim for really depends on the information you have available.

To help me make a direction-based decision, I use the hand method. I lay my hand flat on a surface and spread my fingers. My middle finger is the undesired direction I’m currently heading in, and that I know needs to change.  Each of the other four fingers represent four different options for changing direction.

I don’t worry that I don’t have all the information to make an informed decision…pivoting is about making a quick decision to evade trouble by retargeting myself to aim for a different outcome. Keep it high-level, broad strokes. The details come later. Can you think of four ways you can respond to the problem you’re facing?

Will one of those four “finger options” represent a higher chance of success for a better outcome? If none of the options is particularly better, then choose one randomly and prepare to pivot again. This may go on until more informed decisions can be made, or one direction becomes clearer than the others.

Adapt

Once you set a direction, make a list of all the things you need to adjust to make that direction work. 

Maybe you’re suddenly working from home 100% of the time. If you have a spouse, can you work together in the same house? What about the same room? Are you competing for resources? Do you have a quiet area for phone calls? How will you adapt your schedule? Do you have a support system in place?

For Get Up and Learn, I’ve adapted by delivering training virtually instead of in classrooms. Also, because it’s online, I’m delivering all training in 1-hour segments, which can be linked together to fill a morning or a day, delivered as lunch & learn virtual group sessions, or provided on a pre-scheduled basis for example.

Three steps from Surviving to Thriving

By following the Identify, Pivot, Adapt approach, I was able to determine the problem I was facing including a general idea of the scope, duration, and probable impact.

By pivoting I was rapidly able to determine the most at-risk direction (which was to stay the course and do nothing) as well as four other reasonable options. The best of those was to move everything online and virtual.

A lot of work went into adapting and will continue over time. The training material & resources, delivery methods, website content – all of it needed adapting as a result of the Coronavirus.

The best part is my business is well-positioned for the future and I can see many opportunities to grow that weren’t available to me under the old model. Following this three-step process not only helped me navigate the emerging crisis, but it also strengthened the business potential for the future.

Identify, Pivot, Adapt helped me determine what was right for my business, and it can help you make choices too!

Necessary Sales Pitch Section

Jim Longman, through Get Up and Learn provides consulting, contract, and training services for employers in all industries. Our soft skills training helps people develop new thinking and skills when it comes to handling change, making better decisions, and much more. For more information, click here.

 

 

 

The pandemic is here. The luxury of time to plan has passed. We can help you stay operational…and stay safe.

The world is drastically changing and the Pandemic is now here. Municipalities no longer have the time to prepare. We are providing this information to help you Get Ready.

Get Ready is an Ontario-based company. Since 2011 we have been providing cloud-based Emergency Management, Business Continuity and Infectious Disease Outbreak programs to Municipalities, Healthcare and businesses across Canada.

Our Infectious Disease Outbreak Program has 4 main components:

  1. Cloud-based application with IDO best-practice policies, procedures, forms, signage, and communications
  2. Real-time Absence Reporting Tool
  3. Online employee Pandemic training
  4. Individual “Get Ready – Emergency” mobile App for all staff

Get Ready Programs meet CSA Z1600, Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management, Ministry of Labour, PHAC and Health Canada standards.

Our cloud service maintains Federal government-protected B clearance, as well as, SOC2, ISO 27001, ISO 27017, ISO 27018 and PCI certifications.

The IDO Program is available for immediate deployment (onboarding takes 12-24 hours). The ROI is estimated to be 4 to 5 times the initial cost within two weeks of implementation.

Please contact us to learn how we can keep your staff healthy and safe and your municipality operating.

 [email protected]

1-888-217-2329

 https://getreadyglobal.com/programs-and-apps/infectious-disease-outbreak-program/

people with masks

Is Your Municipality Ready for a Disruptive Event? Business Continuity Planning 101

Every municipality needs an Emergency Management Program.

There are a number of components that make up a comprehensive emergency management program, (i.e. Emergency Response Plan, Business Continuity Plan, Communications Plan, Employee & Family Support Plan, Pandemic Plan, etc.).

When I was with the Office of the Fire Marshal I was responsible for emergency management and the development of these plans for the OFM. And now in these times of global uncertainty, I am once again reminded of just how important it is for organizations to have them – and particularly a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place.

What is a BCP?

A BCP is a plan that outlines the critical services to be delivered during a disruptive event and how full operations are going to be resumed after the event.

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is, your BCP needs to address planning/mitigation, response, recovery and restoration.

Generally, a Business Continuity Plan outlines:

  • Who is responsible for recovery actions

  • What is needed to deliver, resume, continue, or restore the municipality’s services

  • Where to go to resume operations if necessary, and,

  • How the municipality’s critical services and operations will continue to be provided during a disruptive event (detailed procedures for provision, recovery, resumption and restoration of services)

Basic Elements of a BCP

It is important to remember that while the unique characteristics of your municipality must be reflected in the plan, the basic elements detailed below represent the foundation on which every BCP should be built.

  • Gather the necessary Baseline Information – This is used to identify municipal services, where the service is located, who uses the service, dependencies, alternate service delivery, critical infrastructure, etc.

  • Conduct a Business Services Risk Assessment Needed to help identify areas of potential vulnerabilities and to examine current and necessary control measures to mitigate threats.

  • Undertake a Business Impact Analysis – Gathers information concerning the exposure and impact on the service should the service experience significant disruptions and assesses the potential financial and non-financial impacts of a disruptive event.

  • Develop a Business Continuity Recovery Strategy – Assesses the advantages and disadvantages, estimated associated costs and determines the recommended strategy for each critical service and the resources that may be necessary for quick recovery.

  • Identify Emergency Response and Operational Protocols & Procedures – This is a checklist of protocols and procedures that help to simplify the necessary activities even further (i.e. notification protocols, call trees, etc.).

  • Create the Business Continuity Plan

Of course, once it’s completed don’t let your BCP collect dust. Keep it dynamic by updating it to reflect any changes to personnel or processes, and practice it with your team so when a disruptive event occurs, like we’re experiencing now with the COVID-19 pandemic, your organization will be ready and well prepared to resume operations.

If you’d like to receive a free Business Continuity Plan template to help you get started or information on any of the other emergency management plans mentioned, please feel free to contact me. Susan Shannon at s[email protected]

Canada Job Grants Program

keyboard key with the word Learning

For the last number of years, each fiscal year, (April 1st to March 31st), the Canadian government provides funding to employers to invest in training for their employees. 

The Canada Job Grant provides direct financial support to individual employers or employer consortia who wish to purchase training for their employees. It is available to small, medium and large businesses with a plan to deliver short-term training to existing and new employees.

The federal government works with each province to roll out these grants.  The particular programs we were able to locate were; the Canada-Alberta Job Grant, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant (COJG) and the Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant

Generally, employers can get up to $10,000 in government support per person for training costs. It is important to note though, that in the Ontario program at least, municipalities are not eligible for this funding.  So while each program is similar, eligibility criteria can vary from province to province so be sure you check the program offered in your province. 

If you’re a Canadian employer with a particular skills demand, the Canada Job Grant might be right for you. 

And, if you’re a muniSERV member don’t forget you’re eligible for member discounts off any of muniLEARN’s digital training solutions that ensure your investment in training is aligned with today’s expectations for your people and your organization.

Contact us and we’ll help you find the right courses to address your needs.

What you need to know about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 11, 2020 – Web Group Benefits

washing hands with soap

COVID-19 is an illness caused by a coronavirus and are a large family of viruses. Human coronaviruses are common and are typically associated with mild illnesses similar to the common cold. COVID-19 is a new disease that has not been previously identified in humans.

How to look after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak

Infectious disease outbreaks like the Coronavirus, can be scary and can affect our mental health. It’s normal to experience both fear and anxiety. Outbreaks like the COVID-19, can trigger a feeling of powerlessness. There are many things we can do to manage our mental wellbeing:

  • Try to avoid speculation. Rumour and assumptions can cause anxiety.
  • Stay informed but monitor how much time you are listening to the media. The ongoing news coverage can be stressful and cause panic.
  • Accessing reliable resources about the virus can help you feel more in control and informed.

You can get up-to-date information and advice on the coronavirus here:

COVID-19 Symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Difficulty breathing

Symptoms of the coronaviruses may be mild to serious and could take up to 14 days to appear after exposure to the virus.

Coronaviruses are most commonly spread from an infected person through:

  • respiratory droplets when you cough or sneeze
  • close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • touching something with the virus on it, then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands

What are the risks of getting COVID-19?

The public health risk associated with COVID-19 is low for Canada and for Canadian travellers.

Is there a vaccine to protect against COVID-19?

There is currently no vaccine to protect against COVID-19.

The best way to prevent the spread of infections is to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, especially with unwashed hands
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Cough and sneeze into your sleeve and not your hands
  • Stay home if you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others

Thank you to our partner HumanaCare for providing this information. HumanaCare, is an Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) providing confidential, compassionate support and counselling for individuals experiencing work-life challenges.

~~~

ASSOCIUM Benefits is a very unique employee group benefits provider, focused on supporting benefits advisors and their employer clients. We provide Brokers and Plan Sponsors with a range of solutions from traditional group benefits to more customized, cost and tax effective employee compensation. Let’s connect to find out how we can help.

 

Enterprise Security Risk Management

Perhaps you’re aware of the recent culmination of a managerial approach in the security industry. As an aside the Michael White Group has been promoting the very fundamentals of this approach for years. However, this approach changes how security has been managed for many years.

Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) is a business decision making tool. So, let’s clear up some of the confusion. This is not Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). Although utilizing the exact same risk principles as ERM, ESRM is an additional tool for ERM.

Unfortunately, more than ever, your municipality’s reputation and brand are at risk. Incorporating ESRM into your organization strengthens your municipality’s security program and puts you and the other leaders within your organization as leaders in your vertical.

Organizational Resilience Management

ESRM drives your security program in developing a stronger relationship to your municipality’s Assets and overall risk and security mitigation strategies. It allows you as the security leader to see the bigger picture.

ESRM is not something that happens overnight. It takes careful thought, planning, decision making and involves change. A cultural change. Long gone will be the days that one or two people are essentially responsible for the security needs of the municipality. It will be everyone’s task to be involved. All employees will be associated with the ESRM program and you as the ESRM leader will keep them on track to identify, reduce and mitigate risks.

ESRM creates a stronger brand for your municipality, a stronger brand attracts new business, new residence.

Ready for an enterprising change?

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, the application and benefits of a Enterprise Security Risk Management (ESRM) contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

 

 

 

Security Risk Assessments; high level breakdown

Critical Infrastructure Protection

Security Risk Assessments are a vital insight into your organizations security gaps, vulnerabilities and most importantly strengths. To not dive too deep into the technical structure and methodology of a comprehensive Security Risk Assessment, we provide this brief and mostly non-technical article to break down the basic components.

Recognize – more commonly stated as Identify the hazards or risks. Before you really can do that, you need to know and understand the difference between what a hazard is and what a risk is. A hazard is “something” with the potential to cause you, your organization, your employees, your reputation harm. A risk that “likelihood” of that harm actually happening.

Impact – more commonly known as deciding who is going to be harmed and how. Who’s going to feel it, how is it going to happen? Almost like trying to figure out whether or not it is the butler in the den with the candlestick …for those who appreciate a good game of Clue.

Bump – So you’ve recognized the hazards and risks and you’ve figured out where the impact is going to be. Now what? Now you have to protect it or at least put some form of management or control piece in to either slow it down or stop it completely from happening and affecting you. The virtual or very much physical speed bump.

Note it – Write it down, digitally record it, take pictures, tell a few people. Do what you need to, to record it. Why…because you want to monitor your success. You want to know that the bump you’ve put in place is working or needs to be re-recognized because the impact may have changed. It’s also due diligence. You can show that you know that there is or was something that raised whatever level of concern, you thought about it, did something about it and continue to watch it.

Recognize it again – Plan the Work. Work the Plan. Once you’ve done the assessment you need to do it again. You need to understand what is working, what has changed, what is new and what are you doing about it.

This article is to serve as a high level awareness tool. Unfortunately it doesn’t remove the complexities of your operation or the complexities of the security risk assessment. But boiling it down to it’s barest components allows you to understand the varying phases or steps that are taken during a security risk assessment. It’s important to note and understand that each of these components can be expanded and contracted as necessary to have a myriad of steps or components within each of them.

Nevertheless it all falls back to these high level principal components.

Should your Municipality be open to exploring the need, the application and benefits of a Security Risk Assessment, contact Michael White Group today, and we will be happy to answer your questions or provide quotations.

Is Road Salt Really Worth the Risk?

If you live somewhere that has a snowy winter, there is no doubt you are familiar with ‘ice-melts’ or ‘road-salts’ being used to create traction and melt ice build-up. Using an ice melt or salt makes it safer to get around outside, both on foot and while driving during these cold, snowy months. You can pick up a bag of salt at most corner stores, hardware stores etc. When a storm is coming, you’ll see fleets of large trucks spreading salt across the city streets and parking-lots alike. But – What is the ‘salt’ being used to melt the snow? Is it safe? Below we will outline 3 of the most common ingredients of ice melt products, and the potential effects on humans, children, pets and the environment.

Sodium Chloride:

Sodium Chloride is the natural mined mineral form of table salt – rock salt or halite as it is sometimes referred. Sodium Chloride is “one of the most abundant minerals on Earth and an essential nutrient for many animals and plants. It is naturally found in seawater and in underground rock formations.” Source Sodium Chloride is generally inexpensive in comparison to other types of ice-melting products, however its “lowest effective temperature [is] 20°F (-7°C), [making it a] relatively slow and ineffective ice-melter when temperatures are coldest.” Source

Section 6 from Sodium Chloride or Salt Safety Data Sheet from Compass Minerals showing accidental spill measures

Every year in Canada, “5 million tonnes of road salt is used to de-ice roadways.” Source This salt “dissolves into sodium and chlorine ions” which often make its way to waterways, posing risks on aquatic life.  Other negative side effects can include “harm […] to plant life, so it shouldn’t be used near vegetated areas.” Rock salt is also “similarly dangerous to pets [and wildlife] since it causes disorders when ingested.” Source

Calcium Chloride:

Unlike Sodium Chloride, Calcium Chloride works in quite extreme temperatures. Calcium Chloride is “able to melt ice at a lower temperature point of -20°F (-29°C) … Over exposure […] can harm lawns and other plants if deicer is over applied.” Source Calcium Chloride not only melts ice at a lower temperature but it also melts it quicker, this is due to the heat it gives off as it dissolves after contact with water. “[A] study found that at -7 C (20 F), [Calcium Chloride] has 22% more penetration after 10 minutes and 38% after 30 minutes than [Magnesium Chloride].” Source

Section 6 from Calcium Chloride Safety Data Sheet Revere Pioneer RIM showing accidental spill measures

Magnesium Chloride:

Similar to Calcium Chloride, Magnesium Chloride also releases heat when it encounters moisture. It can work in temperatures as low as -5°F (-20°C). Unlike other forms of salt or deicer, Magnesium Chloride dissolves quickly when it is on ice, making it effective for a shorter period, in turn causing it to be more expensive. Source  However, the water created from the rapidly melting ice also dilutes the magnesium chloride at a quicker rate than other products, making it less corrosive on roads, parking lots and other surfaces.

Section 6 from Magnesium Chloride Safety Data Sheet from Innovative Surface Solutions showing accidental spill measures
Dogs playing and walking in the snow with their owners above a list of the dangers road salt and ice melt & dogs

Each of the three ice-melt products listed above have PROS and CONS when it comes to their impact on human health and the environment. While Calcium and Magnesium Chloride were oftentimes in my research being described as less harmful to the environment – as shown on the Safety Data Sheet sections above – in large quantities they can all be dangerous, especially to pets, wildlife and aquatic life. When it comes to choosing which product to use, it is best to consider your specific scenario before deciding on your ice-melt product. Location, quantity, temperature as well as checking for other toxic ingredients are all things to consider when making your decision. Many cities, businesses and environmentalists have experimented with alternative solutions; everything from pickle brine to molasses to volcanic rock! Until an alternative replaces the use of road salts altogether be sure to take the appropriate precautions when working with ice-melt/salt products this winter.

MySDS Inc. can assist you with hazardous material compliance in your workplace… contact us for more information! 1-855-282-4537 | www.MySDS.ca

Sources:

 

Canadian Government Entities Under Scrutiny for Lax Cybersecurity

Canada’s government sector is increasingly coming under scrutiny for both lagging privacy and security both in legislation and in practice

 

In a sign of the times, figures released in February to the House of Commons reveal that the personal information of at least 144,000 Canadians was mishandled by Federal department and agencies, including the Security Intelligence Service and Department of National Defense.  The breaches were widespread, impacting over 10 separate departments and agencies, with evidence indicating that these figures are being underreported due to inadequate reporting requirements.  The Canada Revenue Agency led the pack with 3,020 identified breaches over the last two years impacting at least 59,065 Canadians. 

 

Helical’s offerings meet the “Baseline Cyber Security Controls for Small and Medium Organizations” published by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security and can be scaled up according to need.  You can learn more about how we meet these requirements here or for more information about Helical, visit our website.  

Announcement – New Online Training Program: Lean for Municipalities White Belt

Leading Edge Group is excited to announce the launch of an online Lean for Municipalities White Belt training program.

This program provides a basic introduction to Lean thinking and how it can be applied across the municipality. Upon completion, participants will recognize the relevance of Lean principles and core tools and techniques as they apply in municipal environments as well as identifying specific processes in their organization where they see an opportunity for improvement.

Volume-based corporate rates are available upon request.

Get in touch to discuss any queries about the program or to enrol and arrange payment: https://courses.leadingedgegroup.com/lean-municipality-white-belt/