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Farewells

It is with mixed emotions that I draft a blog post this morning…today is my last day working at Opportunity Foundation…which also serves as my final blog post as a Certified Trainer.

The last few weeks have served as weeks filled with many lasts.  Our final service at our church, my final meeting with my supervisory staff, my final staff meeting, my final administrative meeting, many farewell lunches and dinners with friends, and now today my final day of work.  It has almost been an emotional roller-coaster for my family.

It has been a joy taking my agency from the world of paper to where we are today with little paper usage and being dependent on Therap.  I had the honor of being the first Certified Therap Trainer in North Dakota.  My first Therap Conference took me to Denver.  Using Therap Points, I had the opportunity to take an all-expense paid trip to New York for the National Therap Conference a few years ago.  And…of course…several Therap Conferences in North Dakota where I had the opportunity to train a few classes.

I have been lucky to meet all the fine folks at Therap, and the other Certified Therap Trainers.  It has been an awesome journey with all of you!

Till we meet again….

Tony
Therapite-for-Life!

Training your employees to use Therap…

My reminder popped up on my calendar this afternoon reminding me…’It’s time to submit your monthly Therap blog’…

I pondered what I should write about…it seems only obvious that I should write about training your employees to use Therap.  After all, today I trained a Therap class…last Friday I presented my annual webinar…on what else but training your staff to use Therap!

We all have our own individual ways of training staff to use Therap.  No one way is wrong, or better than another. But we do have the opportunity of improving our way but learning how other agencies train Therap.

At our agency, we have a monthly Therap class.  The class last approximately 8 hours.  We demonstrate how to enter information, and have our employees practice entering information.  For more details on how I train Therap, feel free to go to Therap’s YouTube page and check out the webinar.

That brings me to this question…How does YOUR agency train Therap?  What materials, cheat sheets, work sheets, etc. does your agency use during this process?  Who does the Therap training, and how were they selected?  What policies do you have in place in regards to Therap documentation?

Please share with the rest of us, so we can all get a little better!

Therap Ideas

There was a day…when you clicked on Ideas…you would be blown away at the number of them!

Therap Ideas seems to be slowing down.  I personally hadn’t looked at them in some time, and just clicked on the Ideas to check them out.  The last one was entered 9 days ago, and the one before that was about a week prior!

We all have those great ideas that would help Therap do more for us…so why not share them!  When you are logged into your Therap account, click on Ideas at the bottom of the page.  Add your own suggestions, and read through the suggestions that are there.  Add your comments or feedback, and vote for ideas!  Let your voice be heard!

One recommendation though…before you ask for spellcheck, talk to your system administrator and see about using a browser that has spellcheck, installing iespell, or other options.

Making it through a tough week…

TIME FLIES!!  (Whether you’re having fun or not!)

It is hard to believe it is already March!  The last few months have been quite exhausting…hopefully this means we can relax for awhile!

My daughter turned 7 in January, and my oldest son turned 10 in February.  (Happy occasions.)

The last week of February, our state surveyors showed up for their surprise visit, ending my long weekend early!  In the middle of ‘dealing’ with them, one of our long time residents passed away suddenly.  It was an extremely difficult week for the group home.  He was very dear to all of us and will be extremely missed.  For this blog, I thought I would share an article written by one of my employees, Ardell.  It explains very well how we make it through difficult weeks!  (I inserted ‘—’ in place of client names.)

People always ask me why I work a full time job, which I love, and spend 3-5 hours a week at a group home where people with challenges live … my passion. The question came up again today and as I thought about an answer on my way to Lenten services with a couple of my extended famly from the group home. It suddenly hit me that my pal — aka “ Mickey” — had gone home to heaven, and would never attend Wednesday church services with me again. I reflected on that first day when I was hired at 17th Court group home and met the eight people who lived there, — and now — both gone ahead.

I firmly believe when you meet someone who touches your life, it is through Devine intervention, and God knows you need that person or those people in your life and I landed at 17th Court going on five years ago. Apparently, at that time and even today that is where I needed to be. I was introduced to everyone including —. He said, “Nice to meet you Mrs. Olson.” We all thought he misunderstood when they introduced me.

As the days went by, staff kept reminding him I was “Nelson” not “Olson.” It didn’t take long and I was wrapped around all 8 people’s little finger and I said, “No, for — ONLY, I am Mrs. Olson” and I was until he went to his beloved Jesus in heaven last week. (I always hoped it was some nice Mrs. Olson I reminded him of instead of crabby Mrs. Olson on Little House on the Prairie.”)

I could be dragging and I would walk in and he would cheerily say, “Hi Mrs. Olson, I am so glad you are here” or ” Mrs. Olson, how was your day?” and he revitalized my energy. We did “our thing”, He would call me Mrs. Olson, and I would respond with “How was your day Mr. —.” He loved it; otherwise he was “—” or “Mickey” on a one to one basis. He was aware of the happenings of his housemates and of his staff. I was sick for a month, and when I returned to work he said, “Mrs. Olson are you feeling better?”, and “Mrs. Olson I am glad you are back.” The staff did not realize he had been listening to their conversations.

He knew the Bible, read profusely, had an inequitable faith and lead us all in prayer at mealtime and always thanked the Lord for the day and to protect him throughout the night. He taught me patience and perseverance when physical disabilities seem insurmountable as time passes, you move forward anyway; that God does not give you more than you can handle; that a smiling face makes the day go better; that love is the key to life with God in the center and so much more.

Mr. —, you touched Mrs. Olson’s life beyond words. Even though I felt very, very sad last night because I missed hearing you say, “Hi Mrs. Olson, I am glad you are here;” I had to wipe away an escaping tear and smile, when I was greeted with “Dell, Dell”; “Hi Ran’Dell” and “Ardell I am glad you are here” by your housemates.

Another individual made a profound statement saying to me, “When God says it is your time, it is your time and you had better be ready all the time” and we said good bye to her a week later. Today is a new day filled with lessons learned from special people last night and before who are wise beyond imagination — I can’t wait until next week’s life lesson — “Mrs. Olson”, aka “Dell, Dell”, aka “Ran’Dell” aka Ardell.

Some great technology from 2012…

Happy New Year!  (a little late!)

I have not been the greatest Certified Trainer in 2012…I’ve been awaiting the dreaded call/email from Allison to ‘chew’ me out…thankfully it hasn’t come yet!  (I think I owe her big time!)  Therefore…here I sit on a Saturday blogging…hoping to pacify her a little bit!  (And I should mention…if you haven’t met Allison…she’s really not a bully!)

In any case, we are always looking for some things to help make our lives a little easier.  Technology is always advancing, and there are always some new website or apps to help you out.  Some of them I’ve found I didn’t really like, some of them are actually quite nice!

DO.COM - Free

This website allows you to create projects, and within each project break it down into tasks.  Each task can be assigned to one or more people.  Each project also has a chat feature of sorts where everyone involved can make comments as to the progress of the task.  You can also attach documents to the tasks as you work on them.  Each task can be assigned a deadline, and the users will get emails reminding them to complete the tasks.  Once each task is completed, you simply mark it as completed.

The site also includes apps for Android and Apple.

AGREEDO.COM - Free

Another website…this one allows you to create meeting agendas.  First you create a meeting, enter the people you would like to invite, the date and time, location, and name of the meeting.  You then move on to create specific topics, and each topic can include information portions, tasks, and during the meeting you can enter decisions.  The meetings can be printed, exported to excel, and emailed.

Unfortunately, there are currently no apps for agreedo.

MAILCHIMP.COM – Free (up to 12,000 emails/month)

I can’t say I have much experience with mailchimp at this time, but in the near future I hope to be mailchimp savvy!  Most of us have heard of ConstantContact…Mailchimp is the cheap mans version:)  Create lists of emails, create your email, and mailchimp will send out the email.  Mailchimp also manages the subscriptions to your campaigns, allowing people to unsubscribe at will.

Mailchimp will integrate with your Google account or Facebook account…how this works…don’t know yet…but I plan to find out!

Mailchimp also includes apps for Android and Apple.

GOOGLE DRIVE - Free

Most of you are probably used to Google Drive (Google Docs).

I have used Google for a number of years, and it is one of the greatest options for portable documents!

I utilize it to manage time off requests.  Employees submit their time off requests via a Google Drive Form, it enters it into a list which I use when doing the monthly schedule.

All my schedules get backed up to a folder in Google Drive.

We just recently began doing a supervisor’s end-of-shift checklist via a Google Form.

Google Drive allows you to give access to multiple users based on folders or documents.

While I’m on the Google kicks…I should also mention that their calendar is the best as well:)

DOODLE.COM - Free

Doodle.com gives you a private page showing your times available for meetings, and allows users to submit a request to meet with you.  You get your own page.  Mine is doodle.com/tonypuckett and links right with my Google Calendar!

Well, there are some of my favorite websites…next time maybe I’ll move on to some of my favorite iPad apps:)

Till next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking ‘Therap’

Have you ever noticed that once you begin to use Therap…the language around your company changes.  You begin to speak ‘Therap’.

Therap Daily flairHere are some of the things I’ve heard…

“You need to Therap that!”
“I’ll S-Comm you!”
“Did you read your Therap?”
“You need to get that in a G E R!”

To an outsider the language can be pretty confusing at first.  When you hire someone, make sure you think about what you are saying so they aren’t left confused.

On an funny note, I had to laugh as I listened to an older employee without much computer experience, tell an ‘non-employee’, “I’ll send you an S-Comm.”  I had to correct her and tell her, “No, you’ll send her an email!”

So…what other things have you heard said in your agency in ‘Therap’?

The Dashboard

I had the privilege of training two Therap classes last month.  We offered both a day class and an evening class to accomdate the differing needs of our new employees.  I walked into my first class, and based on the fact that FirstPage will be ‘going away’ eventually, I decided to train using Dashboard instead.

I began using Dashboard instead of the wonderful FirstPage, (which so many of us will mourn the loss of), when the announcement was made that we would eventually be ‘forced’ to.  I will admit that the more I use Dashboard, the easier it becomes.  There are times that I need to switch back to FirstPage to figure out what I’m feebly attempting to do, but otherwise I have the hang of Dashboard now.

What a shock though, when I began to train on Dashboard.  I realized very quickly that I needed to change my approach somewhat!  For example, I usually point to the little square that holds everything about T-Logs, and explain that that is the T-Log module, and move forward from there.  Not quite that way now…T-Logs waiting for you to review show up on the ‘To Do’ tab, and you go to the Individual tab to create or search for T-Logs!  The first class I trained took some adjusting, but we made it through.  Thankfully, that helped me prepare for the second class!

Lesson learned…just because you’ve trained something a trillion times, you may still want to take a little time for review before you train it each time.  Otherwise…you may get tossed a curve ball:)

Before closing out…let me also encourage you…SWITCH TO THE DASHBOARD…IT’LL MAKE IT EASIER ON YOU WHEN YOU HAVE TO SWITCH…and although I’ll never admit it out loud…it does make more sense when you really begin using it:)

Till next time!
-Tony

Change Ready…

Hey all…before starting my post I took a look down the right hand side of the screen!  Can you believe the number of certified trainers!?!?  Unbelievable!  No wonder it seems there’s a new post every time I turn around!

In any case, I had the privilege of attending the North Dakota Regional Conference…(cause North Dakota is where it’s at!)…last week.  What an awesome time!  Of course I got to see Deb, Stephen, and Sazzad, and I got to meet Brent and Leah for the first time!  What a time learning more about the roll-out of Therap for States and more about what is to come from Therap in the future.  It is also great to hear from other users about how they are using Therap.

Me…I like to think I’m progressive and ready for change…but then the discussion came up of First Page vs. Dashboard!  I’m not so change ready now!  (You may have already read about it in Justin’s blog here.)  In any case, in the future, you will lose your First Page view of Therap, and move over to a Dashboard only world.  Me…I’m a First Page kinda guy.  Buuuttt….as much as I’m not willing to admit it….it does kinda make sense:)  Dashboard does give you a very organized view of what you have access to in Therap, and a wonderful ‘To-Do’ tab that shows you what needs your attention.

My recommendation…do what I did!  Switch to Dashboard today, and refuse to switch back.  You will find that before you know it, you will be used to it!  It’s really not so bad!

My only request…can we please at least offer First Page a proper burial?  lol

Till next time….

Ramblings…

Wow…I was just reading through the blogs and realized, I missed my May blog! I figured I’d best get SOMETHING in here before Allison hunts me down:) (She’s really not THAT bad!) Therefore, here I sit on a Friday afternoon, at 10:36 PM, when I should be in bed, blogging! I guess Therap is a good way to start the weekend!?

May was quite the busy month! We had our annual NDACP Conference in Bismarck. While there I sat in on many sessions, including Therap. I also had the privilege of enjoying Olive Garden with Deb H. Also while there, one of my Assistant Managers, Milissa Tickle was awarded a DSP of the Year award for the state! Congrats Milissa!

This month I will get the privilege of meeting us with Deb again…at the ND Therap Conference…also in Bismarck! (Did I hear someone say Olive Garden, Deb?)

All of my fellow North Dakotans, if you haven’t made plans to be at the Therap Conference, head on over to the Conference Tab and register to meet in Bismarck in a few weeks! Hope to see you there!

-Tony

Motivation…

Greetings…I will start out by calling Allison’s attention…”Hey Allison…I’m bloggin!!!”  :-)

I’m kinda nerdy and am always trying out new little ideas on my employees.  I recently read an article on having ones employees complete a ‘Motivation Map’.  Basically it consists of several different options that the employee rank from most important to least important.

There are multiple benefits to knowing what motivates an employee.  Knowing what is important to an employee and guarding against such things that would cause an employee from becoming dissatisfied with their employment.

I found the results from our internal poll quite interesting.  The top four motivators among my staff were Work/Home Life Balance, Personal Accomplishment, Friendliness of Co-Workers, and Interesting Work.  Fortunately, in our field we definitely have personal accomplishment and interesting work on our side!  That leaves two goals to ensure I am meeting the ‘needs’ of the employees.

Also included on the Motivation Map were job satisfaction.  On a scale of one to five, the satisfaction score was rated at 4.2!  The lowest score given was a 3, and that was only by one employee.  This appears to me that the motivators are obviously being successfully met based on the satisfaction of the employees.

The least important motivator among my staff was Promotion.  It would appear to me that I probably do not need to worry about replacing some staff, beings they are happy in their position, their needs are being met, and they don’t necessarily have a need to ‘move up the ladder’.

I also enjoyed looking at specific staff and some of their motivators.  Without giving detailed explanations of staff, looking at the most important motivator for each staff I was able to identify why it was important to them.  This assists in keeping each staff motivated and happy in their position.

Well..until next time..take care!

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