Category: Uncategorized

20
Apr

Free Membership – Interactive Project Advancement Site – Advance My Project

Written by: Shannon Snow

To sign up, visit www.advancemyproject.com and use code Launch 2017 to receive a free Silver Membership for a year!

Snow Consulting Services is excited to announce the launch of Advance My Project, a website designed to help businesses identify their project needs, and connect them directly with peers and vendors for both advice and quotes.

Advance My Project – or AMP – was born out of our direct need to create efficiency within our own company and with our clients. By coming together through an online community to provide quality advice and expertise, we will be able to provide better advice for clients and develop another pipeline to secure leads.

Some of the early features you can expect in AMP are:

  • A community of peers and vendors to discuss projects
  • Assistance developing the scope for a multitude of projects
  • A central library of project advancement resources

The site will be launching in Beta mode soon, and signing up now will allow you to take an active part in creating a product that is designed to increase efficiency in your organization.  Features planned to launch this summer include:

  • RFP and scoping generator
  • Worksheets, questionnaires, vendor lists, and more interactive tools
  • Automatic notifications when a post is created on a topic of interest to you
  • Integration with social media

Meeting Clients’ Needs

The primary reason for development of the site is to provide increased services to our clients. Often, we get calls from organizations that need a small amount of advice. We help them as much as we can, but some of these projects are not large enough to even justify putting a proposal together. As a small company we can’t afford to give all of our services away, and our smaller budgeted clients still need help.  Nobody wins.  This lead us to ask, how can we provide meaningful services to clients on a small scale? AMP will help us solve this by:

  • Creating a guided network of questions and forms, developed by our team and other professionals, to empower clients to find the answers to common questions that are most appropriate to their organization.
  • Connect clients to peers and experts to receive project related advice without requiring them to invest time in a formal meeting.
  • Assist clients with determining what additional services may be needed and help them secure these services through our virtual network of vetted professionals.

Streamlined Business Development

While we love seeing the people in our network, we can’t help but think there has to be a better way. In March, Rachel and I estimate that we had 30 one-on-one meetings. This paid off with several new contracts, but we will not be able to maintain this level of business development and still provide quality support. It is our belief that other vendors have this same problem, and AMP will help improve your prospect pipeline by:

  • Providing project-focused discussions that allows you to identify potential clients in your area and their level of interest before investing time in a business meeting.
  • Allowing you to establish an online relationship with potential new clients that may not have hit your radar otherwise.
  • Decreasing the amount of time you need to spend giving AMP clients “free” advice. As an AMP member, they will have access to a plethora of resources to help them understand what they are asking for before meeting with you.
  • Establishing you as a trusted professional in your field.
  • In the future, AMP will award badges or rankings for our members who contribute the most meaningful content. This will allow you to separate yourself from the competition in a vetted and meaningful way.
  • No fears – if it would hurt your business it would hurt ours so we will be keeping the site positive and productive. We are in this with you, which means that you benefit from the work we are putting in to improve our pipeline development process.

All of this being said, AMP is not intended to be:

  • A replacement for all business development activities. Effective use of AMP should make your face time with prospective clients more meaningful.
  • A relationship builder. You have to build the relationship, we are just giving you a really cool tool to identify the new relationships that need built.

We hope that you are as excited about the launch of AMP as we are, and we invite you to join us in the journey to build a tool that will help all of us be successful. To sign up, visit www.advancemyproject.com and use code Launch 2017 to receive a free Silver Membership for a year!

Shannon Snow is the Principal at Snow Consulting Services. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners who focuses in facilities planning and operational support.  She has over a decade of professional experience and founded Snow Consulting Services in 2016.

10
Mar

More With Less: Do Personal Choices Impact Professional Outcomes?

Written by: Rachel Murdoch

Last time I checked, no one is raising their hand for an opportunity to do more with less. There are a lot of catch phrases and words that come to mind for me when I think about being required to do more with less. Here are a few:

  • Tightening the belt.
  • Up-cycling.
  • Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.
  • “Getting creative.”
  • Thinking outside the box.
  • Prioritization.

When our circumstances shift, suddenly we are forced (challenged) to look at our lives differently. We receive an opportunity to navigate new realities. Perhaps we have to loosen our grip on some of the things we once felt were non-negotiable.

Often times, major players shift, resources are allocated differently and a new landscape emerges, requiring us to create a new map!

Personal Choices:

I feel certain of this: the way we inhabit this new (more pressed) space has a lot to do with who we are.

It is easy to think that our personal and professional lives are separate and have no relationship with one another. Certainly, it is good to have a good work/life balance and to have boundaries around our personal and professional lives. However, I do think that our personal lives have more bearing on our professional lives than we think.

We are not robots. We are humans. Our choices don’t happen in a box! They are real & dynamic, impacting other areas of our lives—maybe even our professional lives!

More With Less: A Personal Story

Situation: The Freezer

My refrigerator freezer is FULL.

My deep freezer is FULL!

AND>>>I still go to the grocery store to buy MORE!

It’s a situation…I promise it is!

We are full and we are still filling!

Let me personalize this a bit. I am full…and I am still filling!

Consequently, one of the things I have become determined to do is EAT FROM MY FREEZER. Obviously there are a few fresh items that need to be purchased to fill in the missing ingredients, but for peat sake>>>there are 365 versions of dinner waiting to be created from the ingredients I already have!

>>>>>MORE meals with LESS trips to the store!

The end result is, more money in my pocket and a more wise use of available resources!

Professional Outcomes: Impact

When we shift our thinking and practice in one arena of life and experience success and positive benefits, we become more likely to do the same in other areas of life as well.

This has certainly been true for me. Across the board I am learning to do more with less.

In my work at Snow Consulting Services I have a limit number of hours in a week with which to move projects forward. Thus, my personal time limits and constraints have given me an opportunity to grow in my capacity to accomplish more in less time.

I am excited about this movement, as the opportunities are endless and my leadership tools are sharpened as I become a willing participant in the school of MORE WITH LESS.

Question(s):

  • What is one area of your personal life where you can do more with less?
  • What is the potential impact of this personal choice on your professional outcomes?

Rachel Murdoch is a Project Facilitator with Snow Consulting Services.  She has extensive experience in Student Services, including housing and student compliance.  She has worked nationally, and brings her professional network and vast expertise to Snow Consulting to represent the Program Focus area with our clients. 

02
Mar

Doing More With Less: Staff Development to Increase Effectiveness

Written by: Tracy Dunn

As today’s workforce continues to age, the demand for replenishing the pool of workers grows and it is not just about filling a schedule.  In recent years, the workplace has seen an increased demand for professional healthcare positions such as nursing, allied health and even physicians.

Years ago, a health system I worked for experimented with the concept of “patient centered care.” In this model, many extra professionals were needed to fill specific discipline areas of the hospital.  The idea was to give the patient and their families consistent, excellent care by providing a team of professionals to be involved in their care from admission to discharge.  These teams consisted of a nurse, a respiratory therapist and a care tech.  Teams were placed in various parts of the hospital but especially in the critical care areas.  While the concept certainly had its merits regarding consistency of care, ultimately it was not sustainable.

The most obvious issue was monetary resources. The increased need for professional staff to cover all shifts elevated the amount of salaries and benefits provided.  The less obvious was what was happening to the current workforce.  As staff were assigned to specific areas, development of staff and skill levels began to dwindle.  This led to a lack of experience by limiting staff development to specific area and in turn specific skill sets.  For example, a respiratory therapist in the critical care areas would develop ventilator skills and critical reasoning skills.

Most of the seasoned, more experienced staff were placed in the critical care areas.  The less experienced staff remained in various areas of the hospital such as telemetry, med surgery etc.  Overtime, it became clear that lack of workforce development resulted in decreased experience, lack of critical reasoning and crucial skill deficits.

Skilled professionals need continued development.  This is true no matter the industry.  They require mentorship from their older more experienced co-workers.  In a hospital environment, exposure to working in multiple levels of care is important for the newer worker to gain experience.  It diversifies their skill repertoire and increases their confidence in their clinical skills.  Without diversity of skills, workers learn only their assigned area and are left unchallenged to learn and grow professionally.

In this case, reduction of staff ultimately occurred.  These were done with consideration to cost center and then by seniority.  Many talented healthcare staff were laid off.  What remained was an inexperienced staff, lacking in diverse skills and few senior staff members to mentor and develop staff.  Further complications ensued as an aging workforce began to retire.  Today, an urgent need for skilled clinicians is on the rise in an economy trying to more with less.

Discovering new sustainable methods for delivering patient care will always be best practice.  The challenge is to develop the workforce once acquired.  Mentorship and continuing education are crucial for maintaining a diversely skilled workforce.  Develop the skill and compassion of the clinician and it is the patient and the employer that will benefit.

Tracy Dunn is a Project Facilitator with Snow Consulting Services.  She has extensive experience in healthcare management and sales, and assists our clients with developing sustainable business practices. 

 

23
Feb

Doing More With Less: Missouri Colleges Partnering to Meet Workforce Needs

   Written by: Rob Dixon

More than ever before, Missouri’s businesses demand a skilled, ready workforce.  Our economic development strategies have responded accordingly, but there has not been a similar refocusing in workforce development.  Substantial disruptions are already underway in the workforce due to many factors, causing serious concern among business about the quality and quantity of Missouri’s workforce. How our state addresses this issue now will directly determine our economic trajectory over the next generation.

Workforce development is often cited as one of the most important factors in business expansion and relocation decisions, but it can also be one of the most complicated and least resourced areas within the broader economic development process.  Over the last decade and a half, Missouri has dramatically reduced funding for its core workforce development programs.  

A confounding number of programs – federal, state, and local – intertwine to create our workforce development system.  Rather than a coherent effort to simply and strategically provide the workforce that grows our state’s economy, Missouri’s employers face a web of confusing programs and agencies.  

The number of agencies that comprise this web is seemingly endless: local and state workforce investment boards, career centers, local education agencies, multiple state and federal bureaucracies, proprietary technical schools, universities, and community colleges, among many others.  As a result, employers are confused about where and how to access the training resources they need to fuel their growth.  There is no single point of entry to help a business navigate through the complexity.  

Missouri’s workforce development process must be streamlined. We must improve the ease of access for businesses, improve the customer service and flexibility of the programs, and provide additional funding for workforce training to keep Missouri competitive with other states.  

As local entities, community colleges work with their local economic development organizations to assist with training programs for business attraction, retention, and expansion projects.  Due to the capacity of both the community college and the local economic development organizations, however, this process varies greatly across the state.  

By breaking down a number of procedural barriers and working as a consortium, Missouri’s community colleges can provide a nimble, single point of access with a solid customer-service orientation that aligns our workforce development system directly with our economic development efforts.

A consortium of all of Missouri’s community colleges, working together, can break down geographic boundaries, provide a single point of access, and help provide relevant information to win more deals for our state.  As a result, firms have the ability to access and leverage resources by engaging with a single point of contact.  

Community colleges will serve every square inch of Missouri, even if the local college is not the primary training provider on a project within its own region.  Our network allows community colleges to break down geographic boundaries by working together to serve the business’s needs.  

Rob Dixon is the President and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association. Previously he served as executive vice president of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce. Dixon has a master’s degree in public administration from Missouri State University. He received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Missouri – Saint Louis, and his associate degree from St. Charles Community College. Prior to that, he served during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, as a communications intelligence intercept operator and analyst in the Marine Corps.