Abundance of Blessings in 2016!

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Travel - New year around the world

With grateful hearts, we bid farewell to 2015 which has given us opportunities to help others and to share our skills and gifts!

With a strong faith and great anticipation, we welcome the blessings and challenges of 2016!

We wish our client partner, contacts, our friends and families a wonderful New Year! May we all shine at our very best with the passion to serve and to excel in both our professional and personal life missions.

May the heavens rain on us an abundance of blessings this 2016!

Happy New Year to all!

Photo credit: www.bonjourdefrance.com

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Passion and Compassion

TGBLS joins the world in celebrating World Wildlife Conservation Day!

As HR practitioners and Learning & Development professionals, we at The Green BOX Learning Solutions not only have passion for growing and harnessing the potential of our human resource.  We also value and have compassion for another important type of natural resource – our wildlife.

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Sadly in this day and age, this type of resource is rapidly decreasing mainly due to the activities of “human” resources.  When people cut and burn trees on a massive scale, we consequently deprive wildlife living in forests and jungles of their natural habitats.  When people improperly dispose of non-biodegradable materials in rivers and oceans, marine life suffers the consequences.  When people use animal parts for traditional medicine, clothes and accessories, lucky charms, status symbols, or trophies, hunting and poaching wildlife for this purpose leads to whole species of life becoming endangered or extinct.

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We may think that we are not one of those “human” resources that are involved in bringing about the demise of wildlife. After all, we don’t directly cut trees, nor do we dump toxic waste in the ocean.  It’s also unlikely that we are involved in poaching activities or in illegal wildlife trade.  And so we tell ourselves that we’re not part of the problem at all and that the responsibility of conserving and protecting wildlife falls on the shoulders of government and non-government agencies instead.  And why should we care in the first place?  Some of us may say we’re not really animal lovers nor are we wildlife advocates.  Some of us may say we prefer to focus our energies on improving the human species instead.  Let those who love animals do the heavy lifting in conservation efforts.

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However, this way of thinking is just as damaging as the actual problem.  If we don’t take responsibility for the actions of humanity against wildlife and continue to think it’s someone else’s problem and not ours, then we’ll never be part of the solution.  And we all have a stake in the solution.  UN studies show how even animal agriculture contributes greatly to global warming and thus to climate change, which impacts everyone and everything in the world.  Ensuring healthy populations of wildlife helps maintain ecological balance needed to sustain all life – including humans – while contributing as well to biodiversity. We may be the dominant species on this planet but we are interdependent with all the other species of life on earth.  We need them just as much as they need us.  We cannot survive without each other.

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Today as we celebrate World Wildlife Conservation Day, we recognize those human resources who have both the passion and compassion for this precious and much-exploited natural resource.  One need not be at the forefront of the battle for conservation, but at the very least we can spread awareness on the plight of wildlife.

Forest PondPhoto by Jakob Lawitzki

As world leaders meet in Paris to discuss climate change this week and the next, there is hope for all species to continue to flourish. Human progress and development need not occur at the cost of endangering wildlife and nature.  Let us all do our part however direct or indirect in saving all species on our planet, and in turn save ourselves.

This article is wriiten by Ms. Katrina Llona – a Learning Consultant in The Green BOX Learning Solutions, Inc. and a Wildlife Advocate. 

Color Me Rainbow, One La Salle Animo! (LSGH HS Family Team Building Event)

Last August 11th, the LaSalle Greenhills (LSGH) High School (HS) Community demonstrated that La Salle’s color isn’t just green – but ALL the colors of the rainbow!

In a short team-building session with the theme “Color Me Rainbow,” the LSGH HS Family came together for a fun-filled afternoon of getting to know each other and working together to show their “True Colors” and how their colors and diversity complemented one another.

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The event kick-started with each LSGH HS Faculty/Administrator “diving into a rainbow ocean” of various colored balloons to find their individual name-balloons.

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As a testament to the spirit of faith, service, and communion that LSGH values, all 150+ participants got a hold of their balloons within a short span of 5 minutes by helping each other.

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Then, individuals with same-colored balloons teamed up to create and perform an energetic chant for the whole group.

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After presenting their enthusiastic cheers the color-teams regrouped with their facilitators who asked them to reflect and share personal experiences and associations related to their assigned color via their balloons.

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They then came together again to prepare a creative presentation that represented their team for the entire HS group to see.

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TGBLS LSGH12TGBLS LSGH089In the final wrap-up activity called “Our Rainbow Connection,” each participant displayed their personal commitments written on their balloons that were lined up next to each other to form the colors of the rainbow.

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TGBLS LSGH07TGBLS LSGH10The LSGH HS Family truly showed the beauty of their individual colors and their oneness with the whole community.

Them’s the Rules @ Atlassian Philippines

Along with thousands who graduated last March, Atlassian Philippines produced its own graduates who completed the course on “Effective Written Communication” held from March 16th – 27th.

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Through its partnership with The Green BOX Learning Solutions, Inc. (TGBLS), Atlassian Philippines was able to revisit their own company values to rediscover what it’s like to communicate “The Atlassian Way.”

It also looks like the Atlassians had great fun while learning through sets of activities and exercises that allowed them to build their knowledge and skills.

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These also helped them gain a deeper appreciation for their fellow Atlassians and customers in other regions such as Australia, the US, and Europe by being made aware of the differences in communication styles and culture.

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After going through the program, they say they now feel more comfortable and confident in using the Atlassian way of writing.

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When Green meets Green

LSGH HS English Faculty Team

LSGH HS English Faculty Team

The start of the school year frenzy is on! Parents and children couldn’t get enough preparation for the long journey ahead. But they aren’t the only ones gearing up for the uphill climb. The La Salle Green Hills (LSGH) High School English Department Faculty team also had its share in getting “amped” for the school season through a team building workshop held last June 4 through a partnership with The Green Box Learning Solutions, Inc (TGBLS).

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LSGH09The session focused on personal awareness as a step towards strengthening of interpersonal relationships, listening and trust-building. Team cohesiveness exercises were also facilitated highlighting the role of both the formal and the informal leader, cooperation and strategy planning.

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LSGH06LSGH04Over-all, the learners displayed enthusiasm and creativity, more than enough to solidify their vision towards moving as one team, all set for the new school year ahead.

LSGH 05Thank you, LSGH HS Faculty Team! Animo La Salle!

A Whole New World: The Role of Leaders in a Multicultural Environment

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Take a look at your workplace, is any of these familiar: some if not all members of your team are located in another city or in another continent even; your work group is composed of people from different departments and report to different managers, coming in at different shifts, maybe speaking different languages; your entire team shares one office but when you interact and work together, it sometimes feel that you all come from different planets, with misunderstanding multiplying the time and effort it takes to get things done.

A new  challenge is beWoman Having Birthday at Working faced by leaders today,  how does one manage employees’ perception that they are isolated  from co-workers and are set apart at work and how do you maintain  productivity and morale as offices feel  less like an employee’s home away from home and feels more like an  impersonal and technology- driven paper factory? Remarkably, these feelings of disengagement are brought about by our growing reliance on technology to communicate, on the need to work with others across distances and on the growing diversity in a workforce that is not just increasingly global in culture but also  becoming a mix of people from four different generations.

Last November 12, the Rotary Club of Pasig East through Past President Ammie Llona, invited the Green BOX Learning Solutions Team to talk to its members and guests about this leadership challenge. The Green Box Team delivered a short but well-received talk titled “Leading in a Multicultural Environment”  for the audience composed of  entrepreneurs, people leaders  and managers from government agencies, community organizations  and businesses.

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The speaker des1cribed what are commonly known as  “Virtual Teams” , work groups who, while having shared goals and responsibilities, has the added challenge of having to  see and talk to each other mostly through electronic media like phone, e-mail or web chat.  Members of such  teams are usually  divided  by physical distances  such as geography, site location and /or time zones  or  work shifts.

The part of the talk though that generated the most interest was the discussion on the  psychological distance that may exist  between the members of a Team even when they are in the same location and sharing the same shift.

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The Green BOX speaker described the conditions that cause  geographical distance, operational distance and affinity distance and the effect of each on the employee and on the team’s ability to collaborate and work smoothly together.  During the presentation, members of the Rotary Club of Pasig East and their guests took notes and frequently nodded, perhaps recognizing the effects in their own teams and companies. The talk ended with practical steps that a leader can take to  reduce the effects of physical distance.

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Among the techniques a leader may use to reduce physical distance were: scheduling  meetings fairly and maximizing the benefits and uses of face-to-face interactions. To bridge operational distance (which occurs when technology fails, is abused and /or is inappropriately or incompetently used)  leaders may discourage multitasking when over the phone, communicate more precisely and use a commonly understood language avoiding jargon and acronyms.

Affinity distance (which is brought about by differences in social status, culture and lack of a pre-existing  personal  relationship among members)  may be mitigated  by appreciating individual accomplishments and skills, providing opportunities for informal interactions when members can network, connect, and share personal experiences and establishing a culture of respect for various communication and working styles.

IMG_0814The short talk emphasized the  importance of having a diverse team capable of providing for everyone’s benefit  a wide range of work experience, different approaches to problems, creativity and innovative thinking that may not be possible in a  more homogenous work environment.  Such diversity  can be found built-in into virtual teams ready to be maximized.  business womanHowever, since such a diversity may bring out conflict among members, especially in a  geographically spread team,  it is a Leader’s  responsibility to  establish and promote an  environment  that  is  open and inclusive, embracing  and appreciating  individual members and  sustaining warm personal relationships even across distances.

For our host that evening , The Rotary Club of Pasig East, itself is an organization  of great diversity bound by a common need to be of service to their community, the talk was  both an eye opener and a helpful learning add-on to their weekly meeting.

This blog is authored by Majalla Gabrielle “Gabbie” Silverio. Gabbie currently works as a Learning and Organization Development Consultant in TGBLS. She had HR L&OD career experience in industries such as the BPO and Automotive. A graduate of B.S. Physics in U.P. Diliman, Gabbie enjoys writing for the TGBLS blog, reading, and playing as the favorite aunt to her grade 1 niece, Miko. 

Future Ready Leaders

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For a business to thrive, it requires the full commitment of its workforce and the focused efforts of it various departments towards clear, reachable goals. With the limited resources available, the growing number of competitors offering the same products and services and the changing and growing demands of customers, shareholders and government agencies, it is difficult for a business to survive, much less grow without competent and trustworthy leadership. In today’s political economic environment, effective leadership is rare but is critically needed.

Most leaders, to be effective, utilize best practices, analyze and learn from past mistakes and make decisions and create innovations based on the careful study of patterns and trends in employee performance and customer behavior. These practices are no longer enough. In a business environment that is Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA), doing these effectively does ensure success as demonstrated by the companies Nokia, Eastman-Kodak, IBM and Xerox. There is now the need for leaders to anticipate changes, plan for these changes and manage the workforce in such a way as to maintain employee trust and engagement amidst change.

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To assist a Business Partner in its efforts to enable its Leaders to be future-ready, the Green BOX Learning Solutions Team recently created and conducted LEADERSHIP TRENDS AND FUTURE ORIENTED PRACTICES, a 3-hr talk/workshop.

Supervisors, Managers and Senior Managers participated in the learning activity wherein changes that are currently taking place in the global business environment and in the characteristics of the workforce were discussed. The Green BOX Team shared key findings from prominent leadership survey reports that identified leadership competencies and development strategies that are widely viewed as critical to the current and future success of organizations.

The Green Box Team also facilitated a workshop during which the participating leaders identified the present and future changes that their organization is implementing and the effects that these have on their employees and on themselves.

AIMG_1056fter assessing their own readiness to lead others successfully through and towards organizational Change, the leaders identified the support that they currently need in terms of learning and development. To provide real work context and end the workshop on an inspiring note, videos of leadership success stories in the midst of change were shown.

Participating leaders shared that, aside from increasing their awareness of leadership trends and understanding of critical competencies like employee engagement and change management, the workshop also motivated them to invest time and effort in developing themselves. The Leadership Talk also encouraged them to be more assertive in communicating to their own leaders, their need for support and development knowing that the current and future success of their organization depends on how well they lead their workforce.

Images courtesy of:  http://www.all-free-download.com/ and http://offers.hubspot.com/free-stock-photos-business

Strengthening Teams Thru Trust-Building Workshop

Steve Tamayo, Owner and President of Asia Pacific Catering Services and Restaurants Inc., walks around during events catered by his Company. He checks if the plates are clean, if the coffee’s hot and the chafing dishes warm. He feels that he owes this to their clients, to make their events memorable through excellent food and best in class service. As their Company grows, he knew that he needed his Leadership Team to share this mission and to be empowered as his partners in leading the Company forward.

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When the Green BOX Learning Solutions Team met Mr. Tamayo and the Top Leaders of Asia Pacific Catering Services and Restaurants Inc, they said that they want to be a Team that values each other and the Company, that shows concern for its members (“may malasakit”), that listens and communicates openly, appreciates each other’s efforts and believes in each other’s abilities. They felt that this is the kind of Team they need to be to if they are to effectively implement the organizational changes that growth demands and to respond to employees’ need for direction and confidence under the stress that is sure to come with growth and development.

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To begin addressing these issues, Green BOX designed and facilitated a Trust Building Workshop participated in by all of the Company’s managers. In one and a half days, the participants established a common understanding of what trust is; they identified, described and agreed on behaviors that will build trust; practiced these behaviors and planned and committed to a course of action that will maintain and grow trust within the Leadership Team. The Company’s top leaders were present during the entire workshop, listening, participating in the activities and sharing their insights along with the heads of the different departments (Kitchen, Warehouse, Accounting, Sales and marketing, Corporate Office and Admin, Purchasing).

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During the activities, the participants worked together in getting tasks done; they got to know each other’s working styles, values and needs and they collaborated on working principles that will be included in their Team’s norms. Green BOX facilitated the processing that came after each activity when participants reflected on how they worked together, identified strengths and areas for improvement and formulated individual and team commitment statements that can increase trust, openness and eventually, effectiveness as a Team. At the end of the workshop, the Team was able to agree on and commit to an action plan and a list of five trust building behaviors that they will practice and monitor.

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As with all Team Interventions, sustaining the effectiveness of the workshop depends on how well changes in attitude and behavior are practiced and supported when the team members are back in the workplace. As part of its consulting process, Green BOX provided complete documentation of the workshop, recommendations for follow through activities as well as tools and references. Knowing how committed and driven the Leaders of Tamayo’s Catering are, the confidence in this Leadership Team’s success is high.

 

You’ve got a Green Box Mail!

Filipinos are known for their warmth and hospitality. This should make Customer Service a cinch but how can the caring and concerned attitude be shown through non-face-to-face interactions with internal and external customers? Communications provider, PhilCom wanted their Sales employees to demonstrate customer orientation and effective service even through e-mail and The Green BOX Learning Solutions Team was there to assist them as designer and facilitator of “EFFECTIVE SALES COMMUNICATION TRAINING.”

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Using a simple but powerful model of Message, Medium and Measures, the PhilCom Sales Team analyzed real life e-mail. By comparing their responses against standards and principles, they were able to identify points for improvement and rewrite clearer, more professional and customer pleasing email communication. The learning experience was rounded out with the module on Artful Listening where they gained a new, learning-oriented approach to this most important but commonly underrated and badly-practiced skill.

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At the end of the training, PhilCom Sales Professionals went through a practical skill assessment and wrote his/her own responses to actual customer inquiries. By applying the guidelines they learned, the PhilCom Sales Team ensured that they can seamlessly transfer their experiences and skill they gained to the workplace. In the end, the customers and the business win again.

Customer Engagement brings TGBLS to Cebu!

Finding New Customers and Keeping Existing Ones Happy

When we discovered that our current home’s second floor had termites, I immediately called the pest control company who treated our old house. The technician who came looked capable, informed us of what he was going to do and why and, afterwards, made sure we knew what to do to avoid re-infestation.

That was 10 years ago. We are now living in the south, 2 hours away. There were ads for local exterminators posted on our village’s bulletin board but I wanted that same company, that same technician if possible. That one transaction years ago has made me a loyal customer.

Representatives from the member associations of the Philippine Federation of Pest Management Operators’ Association, Inc.(PFPMOA, Inc.) learned how to build valuable customer loyalty when The Green Box Learning Solutions Team presented “Finding New Customers and Keeping Existing Ones Happy” last November 2013. This event was part of PFPMOA’s 2nd National Convention in Cebu last November 14-15 at the Sarrosa International Hotel, wherein they hosted various learning tracks focusing on the latest industry trends and practices in the Pest Management Industry.

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Expert speakers in-country and outside were invited, and we are honored and happy to have been part of PFPMOA’s historic milestone. In a 2-hr targeted session, The Green Box Learning Solutions Team shared latest research and best practices on Customer Engagement. It was a short but sweet interaction among 160+ delegates from the North to the South of the country plus guests from other ASEAN countries.

The Philippine Federation of Pest Management Operators’ Association, Inc. (PFPMOA) is an umbrella organization of a 6-member association which seeks to unify all professional pest management associations in the country. Part of its mission is to uplift and institutionalize high industry standards and practices in urban pest management. Its member associations are the following:

a. Philippine Association of Professional Fumigators, Inc. (PAPFI)

b. Pest Control Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PCAP)

c. Pest Exterminator Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PEAP)

d. South Luzon Pest Management Operators Association, Inc. (SLPMOAP)

e. North Central Luzon Pest Management Operators Association, Inc. (NCLPMOAI)

f. Pest Control Association of Visayas (PCAV)

Our many thanks to Mr. Ulysses S. Dagan, PFPMOA President, Mr. Joselito U. Aquino, Over-all Chairman, Ms. Evangeline Alonzo, Ms. Emilie Paulate, Mr. Victor Young and Mr. Elmer Baradas for the warm accommodations.