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Phoenix Jobless Benefits Call Center Closing – It Is Not What You Think

January 28th, 2013

Arizona Republic Reprint

By Josh Brodesky
Fri Jan 25, 2013 5:06 PM

The state Department of Economic Security has closed its Phoenix call center for unemployment insurance, citing cuts in federal funding as fewer people claim benefits.

Although DES officials say it reflects an improving Arizona economy, the closure of the Phoenix call center means the loss of 29 full-time positions. The agency is working to find new positions for the former call-center employees.

A call center in Tucson will remain open.

Although businesses contributed to the unemployment-insurance fund, administration of the Arizona Unemployment Insurance program is 100 percent federally funded. That funding is largely based on how many people are claiming benefits. More than 200,000 people claimed benefits in 2010, but that number dropped to less than 75,000 this month.

“The job market in Arizona is improving, and that naturally leads to a decline in the number of people who are receiving unemployment benefits,” said Mark Darmer, deputy assistant director for employment and rehabilitation services at DES.

Arizona’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent in December. It was well above 10percent for much of 2010.

Darmer said people exhausting their unemployment benefits also factored into the reduction of claims being filed.

The agency said declining federal funding may lead to similar cuts in at least 21 other states.

The call-center closure comes just before DES moves to an electronic filing system for all new unemployment-insurance claims. Beginning Feb. 1, any person filing a new unemployment-insurance claim will have to do so online at www.azui.com. The agency said about 80 percent of all people file their claims electronically.

That means the change should affect only about 1,000 to 2,000 people a week, Darmer said.

He said county-run One-Stop job centers across the state can help people with their online applications as well as provide training and workforce-development opportunities.

37 Things I Have Learned from Genius Leaders

January 9th, 2013

In my almost 37 years of life, I have been privileged to work with, learn from and study some amazing leaders. Leaders I call Genius. As I approach my 37th birthday I set down to really think about what I have learned from these awesome teachers. Below you will find a summary of what I have learned from these Genius Leaders.

1.They are humble.
2.They are comfortable in their own abilities so they can share responsibility with others.
3.They guard their time.
4.They live by a big vision.
5.They acknowledge the team more than themselves.
6.They are constant learners.
7.They can communicate well both verbal and non-verbally.
8.They love a great challenge.
9.They are aware of their fears; they just don’t let them get in the way.
10.They see delegation as shared power, not weakness.
11.They say thank you a lot.
12.They use goals as a tool to accomplish great things.
13.They are great listeners.
14.They meditate daily.
15. They take good notes on life.
16.They put a high value on relationships.
17.They invest their wealth wisely.
18.They have a unique perspective on life.
19.They have learned to silence the critics with their results, not their reaction.
20.They read valuable stuff daily.
21.They are willing to challenge the status qua.
22.They have learned to overcome procrastination.
23.They rewrite the book on impossible.
24.They have thrown away their iron fist of leadership philosophy.
25.They have learned to work hard on themselves and inspire others, rather then try to change others.
26.They have great faith.
27.They enjoy life.
28.They are disciplined.
29.They have a positive attitude.
30.They manage their stress well.
31.They work on their character often.
32.They live from their Genius Potential.
33.They are not intimidated by feed back.
34.They have a strong sense of their legacy.
35.They have mentors and they mentor others.
36.They have a compelling why for what they are doing in life.
37.They are problem solvers, not problem fixers.

——————————————————————————–

About Dr. Will

Hi, I’m author of the critically acclaimed book,
Genius Potential: Learn to Identify, Develop and Release
Yours!
I am the CEO of Will Moreland International, LLC a think
tank that is dedicated to developing world class leaders in
life and business. I also speak on leadership, personal development
and organizational excellence. To learn more about me >>>

Every Monday I share my thoughts on leadership and life. My simple
philosophy is that the better leader you become the better you can lead

The Seven Worst Communication Habits

January 1st, 2013

The quality of your communication is always important, and increased skillfulness offers many benefits. Yet in more difficult times, such as when the economy is in recession, the quality of your communication becomes even more important. Sometimes the cost of poor communication is immediate, and sometimes it takes a bit longer for the negative consequences of unmindful communication habits to become evident.

The good news is that if you know what some of the nastier, poor-communication habits are, you can become more mindful and look for ways to increase your skillfulness. The positive results can be seen in interpersonal interactions as well as improvements in the quality of your marketing communications and networking.

So what are some of the worst communication habits? Here are seven candidates:

The Big Seven

The seven worst habits of communication are bad enough when they happen occasionally. They become “big and bad” when they’re practiced habitually. And they do, ultimately, exact a cost, whether it be in miscommunications, lost projects, lowered productivity, missed opportunities, or poor relationships. The Big Seven bad habits are:

Contacting Others Only When You Need Something.
You’ve no doubt experienced this, or perhaps (if you’re honest with yourself), you can recall doing it yourself. Maybe it’s even one of your own bad communication habits. The person who perpetrates this bad habit is the one who routinely surfaces when they’re job hunting, when they’ve got a problem, when they need a reference, or when they want ideas from you. Between their “periods of need,” you don’t hear a peep from these folks, and they might not even respond to your communications. Telephone and email messages go unreturned. Ick! Whatever the reason that people do it, it’s unpleasant for those on the receiving end. Let’s face it–no one likes feeling that they’ve been used. What’s more, as the pattern becomes evident, more and more of “the used” become reticent, if not resentful, and reach a point where they don’t care to be used any longer.

Not Following Up, Or Closing The Loop.
This is a sibling habit of the aforementioned, and is pretty much self-explanatory. This is when someone asks for your advice, requests a reference for an upcoming job interview, seeks out contacts for their job search networking, or asks for (or receives from you) a referral for a new project. You get the gist. These are all normal enough activities, but where this habit goes bad is when the person fails to follow up or close the loop by letting you know how things turned out, or even saying “thank you.” In the worst cases, the next time you hear from this person is when they need something from you again.

Not Returning Telephone Calls Or Email Messages.
As with other breached hallmarks of civility, this bad habit is becoming fairly typical. In some corporate work cultures, it’s actually a norm. But that doesn’t make it anything other than what it is: A nasty, inconsiderate communication habit. Just to be clear, we’re not talking about returning automated sales calls here, which one can be forgiven for ignoring. Rather, we’re talking about telephone messages, personally written notes, and email messages from real, live human beings, that go unanswered and unacknowledged. Nasty habit!

Foregoing Basic Courtesy.
At its most simple, this nasty habit shows itself in an individual’s failure to say “please” and “thank you” when requesting and receiving something. They might not send a thank you after being treated to lunch, or they might send a snappish email that is more of a demand than a request. The three previous nasty communication habits are also examples of discourteous behavior. Basic courtesy goes by the wayside for a number of reasons: people are in too much of a hurry, they might have an attitude of entitlement or self-absorption, or they might not have ever been taught basic courtesy. But each failure to be courteous contributes to an uncivil workplace and community, and exacts a cost because people don’t tend to like being treated rudely, and are less likely to extend themselves on behalf of someone they consider rude.

Not Listening.
You’d be shocked at how many unpleasant and costly situations arise from a failure to listen. Medical malpractice suits often cite poor listening skills as a key problem, for example, when physicians fail to listen to what a patient is saying, and allow their own egos and assumptions to prevent them from truly hearing crucial information. A similar pattern can be found in other types of work environments, too. One hallmark of poor listening is a person who won’t ask any questions. Another hallmark is that he or she might repeatedly paraphrase incorrectly, or “put words in your mouth” that you neither say nor agree with. On an interpersonal level, poor listening skills result in miscommunications, lost opportunities, lower productivity due to mistakes or redundant efforts, employee turnover, and other costly scenarios.

Telling Lies.
Intentions for and examples of lying run the gamut from telling “little white lies” to avoid hurting someone’s feelings (something few people like to do to others) to purposely misleading whole groups of people for the purpose of one’s individual material gain (something we saw en masse during the dot-com boom and subsequent string of corporate ethics and accounting scandals). The former is often deemed understandable, if not optimal, and the latter is seen as unforgivable. Both are examples of someone not being truthful. Truthfulness requires courage and, ideally, skillfulness. With courage and skillfulness, and a bit of self-awareness, we can find ourselves telling the truth in both cases, and all of the cases in between. The truth may occasionally hurt, but lies tend to be far more destructive.

Spewing Chronic Negativity.
Everyone can see and point out flaws, which is an essential element of problem solving. And we all entertain opinions that are focused on or sharpened by things we don’t like. But the chronic negativity spewer takes it to a more toxic, less discerning level. He or she is ardently negative–about a lot of things–and delivers his negative opinions energetically and regularly. Imagine meeting with such a person, who from the first to the last minute of your time together has nothing positive to say about anyone or anything. He might use powerfully angry, negative language, and repeat phrases such as, “I hate…” or “…stupid idiots.” When you’ve had an interaction with negativity-spewing Ned or Nellie, you feel like you’ve been slimed, and may even feel a bit in shock from the sheer force of their negative energy. A chronic Negative Ned or Nellie can have a dampening effect on his or her whole work group.
Fortunately, these and other nasty communication habits can be averted or changed by cultivating habits that are nasty-habit opposites–meaning, in this case, more skillful and considerate. For example, in order to enjoy the many benefits of more positive, skillful communication, you might commit yourself to speaking honestly, cultivating “right speech,” treating others more courteously, and so on.

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