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March 2012
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Archives for March 2012

Graduate School USA Delivers Training In Jamaica

The Graduate School USA and the Management Institute for National Development (MIND) worked in partnership to deliver a Management Analysis Training Program to the Government of Jamaica. The training took place in Kingston, Jamaica from February to August 2011.

Twenty-seven participants, representing the Jamaican Cabinet Offices, participated in the training program. Graduate School USA instructors Kathy McCleskey, Dit Talley, Art Casabianca, and Mark Meza worked with their counterparts from MIND to assess participants’ training needs, develop curriculum, deliver courses, and conduct assignments.

The graduation ceremony took place at the MIND training facilities on December 10, 2011. Dr. Jerry Ice, Graduate School USA CEO and Mrs. Ruby Brown, MIND CEO, welcomed the participants and awarded certificates to the 2011 graduates. Other guests who attended the graduation ceremony included The Honourable Arthur Williams, Minister Without Portfolio with Responsibility for Information, the Public Service and Cabinet Office; Mr. Wayne Jones, Senior Advisor, Public Sector Establishment Division, Cabinet Office; Mr. Oneil Grant, President, Jamaica Civil Service Association; and Mrs. Judith Ramlogan Chung, Chief Executive Officer, Companies Office of Jamaica.

For more information about the program and about partnership opportunities please contact Olena Yanakova-Lange, Program Manager, at

Workshops About Volunteerism

Are we volunteer ready?

Volunteers can be the cornerstone of assisting a nonprofit in delivering its services to clients and participating in activities such as fundraising. Using the skills and talents of volunteers helps to build capacity and extend a nonprofits reach into the community.

This workshop will enable nonprofits to examine their potential for using volunteers and/or to assess their current volunteer program. The ability to use episodic, pro bono, and consultant volunteers will help to extend the reach of any nonprofits capabilities. Using volunteer program quality assurance standards, participants will be able to assess their volunteer ready potential.

Is Your Nonprofit On The Right Track?

How do you know if you are on the right track if you do not know where you want to go? One proven method of keeping an organization on track is to develop a solid vision of where you want to be. To begin a successful trip, you must know why you exist and what priorities will take you to your vision. Thorough first steps will keep you on the right track.

The ability to articulate a vision for a nonprofit and understand how various programs are an integral part reaching an organization’s mission is a key competitive skill. Examining the trends, history, and what stakeholders think will enable a nonprofit to establish priorities and methods of measurement of success.

Managing Volunteer Expectations

The ability to manage expectations is central to a well functioning volunteer program. Examining why a volunteer’s performance is not up to expectations is one of the more difficult duties of a manager of a volunteer program or staff supervising volunteers.

How do you determine where the performance problem began, how do you determine what to do, and how do you approach and work with the volunteer are areas that are key to a positive outcome.

When performance is not properly managed, it can affect everyone in the organization. Performance management allows volunteers to be successful in all their endeavors. Consequently, managers of volunteer programs or staff supervising volunteers need to be able to not only recognize poor performance and work with the volunteer but also to recognize good performance and praise the volunteer. This workshop will cover several components of effective performance management and present a method for analyzing performance.

Professional Ethics In Managing Volunteers and Non-Profit Programs

There are six ethical areas, developed by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, which can assist managers of volunteer resources and nonprofits in handling a variety of ethical issues. If a nonprofit does not have an ethical compass to guide it, the unimaginable can happen. The key to a well run nonprofit is to have that compass in front of all paid and volunteer staff as well as members of the board of directors at all times.

Ethics not only applies to the nonprofit as a whole but is ideally used in the decision- making process. This workshop will cover each of the core ethical areas, assist participants in establishing guiding principles, and discuss the importance of using these when making decisions.

Managing Those Who Serve

Designed for nonprofits, the intricacies of managing staff in a nonprofit setting will be examined. How to deal with employees when their performance is not up to expectation is one of the more difficult duties of a manager, supervisor, or a board president.

How do you determine where the performance problem began, how do you determine what to do, and how do you approach and work with the individual areas that are key to a positive outcome. This workshop will cover several components of effective performance management and present a method for analyzing performance for paid and volunteer staff members including boards.

Using a systematic performance management process, the workshop will help participants understand what setting people up for success looks like, how to hold people responsible and accountable as well empowering them. It will also help in determining the causes of poor performance.

Measuring Program Outcomes: A First Look

You have a plan in place. You know what you want to do. Now how do you measure success? An understanding of inputs, activities, and outcomes will enable participants to examine their own organization and work toward measurable outcomes.

Today funders, donors, and other stakeholders in a nonprofit want to know what the nonprofit is accomplishing beyond numbers. Aspects such as gathering data and checking for success enable a nonprofit to adjust continuously for greater success. This session will enable participants to explore the basic concepts of outcome-based measurement for their programs.

Paid And Volunteer Staff Relationships

This should be an arrangement tailor made for a nonprofit. Often it is not. What causes problems in this relationship that is vital to an effective and efficient nonprofit? Why don’t paid staff accept volunteer staff? Why can’t they just get along?

In a time when resources are finite, the possibility of volunteers is not. Volunteers can be a critical component in service delivery for a nonprofit. A UPS survey noted, “People are more likely to volunteer when they feel an organization is well-managed and will make good use of their time.” Often volunteers are truly making a difference in the services a nonprofit presents in a community. Thus, it is critical to be very thoughtful about how to approach integrating volunteer staff in with paid staff. This relationship is important in order that a good productive environment is created that serves the nonprofit fully.

Recruiting, Managing, and Retaining Volunteers

Volunteers enhance the services that a nonprofit can provide its clients and they assist with the sustainability of programs. Volunteers enable a nonprofit to reach beyond its internal resources to encompass the community through the use of volunteer resources.

According to several studies, individuals will volunteer and stay with nonprofits where they are well managed. The ability to recruit and retain volunteers is an important resource for any nonprofit endeavor. This workshop will enable attendees to learn various aspects of managing volunteer resources. It will also include information about the latest trends, recruitment, and integrating volunteer programs into the overall mission of the nonprofit.

For a complete list please contact us:

Phone: 512-515-0580
Fax: 512-515-0590
E-mail: Kathleen McCleskey

E-mail: Bob McCleskey

Workshops For Organizations

Change: Here It Comes Again

Change is constant. The ability to meet, implement, and manage change is a key skill in today’s work environment. Having the right tools enables an organization to meet change as a challenge and not as a threat to its mission.

Using information from experts such as Kotter and Stoltz, this session will present strategies and tools to assist any organization in meeting change head on. It will examine how to initiate change and how to help individuals in the organization to work through the change process.

Effective Communication

The ability to communicate is essential to accomplishment on the job. It does not matter if you are talking to subordinates, co-workers, or your boss, the ability to get your point across is essential.

This session will enable you to recognize your communication style and its affect on others. It will show how verbal and nonverbal communication impact the message that is being sent; it will present how various communication styles impact the ability to be understood; it will assist all attendees in understanding better how to get their point across. A communication style instrument will be used in the course.

Most of us “talk” based on a long pattern of learned communication. However, do you know if that style is effective or not? Effectively communicating can enable you or your work unit to become better able to solve problems, accomplish tasks and make decisions. This workshop will help participants recognize not only their communication style but also the styles of those with whom they come into contact with on a daily basis.

Effective Teams and Work Groups

The “I will do it myself – er” has a hard time in today’s work environment. In order to accomplish the multitude of tasks presented each day, individuals in organizations must be able to work better together. Effective teams and work groups accomplish more because they have a better understanding of what is expected of them.

As fast as change happens today, there is no doubt that Together Everyone Accomplishes More. That is why it is essential that individuals work as closely together as possible and in a climate of understanding. This workshop will cover the skills of effectively getting your point across so there will be more understanding, it will discuss what motivates one person may not motivate another, and it will reveal various working styles that can hamper productivity. Each of these skills will assist in a more effective work environment.

Getting Your Point Across AKA Getting Rid Of Sweaty Palms

The ability to stand up in front of a group, present information, and be sure you get your point across is one of the most feared activities. It does not have to be that way. There are ways to reduce sweaty palms, present, and survive.

It is essential when speaking that you are clearly, concise, and understood – especially when you are briefing a boss or a visiting dignitary. A presentation can either sell your point or break it. The skills for doing it right are examined in detail so that the next time you are in front of a group your palms may sweat but you will be prepared, confident, and get your point across.

This session will assist individuals to become more confident and calm when their job requires them to stand in front of a group. The step-by-step process will ensure individuals are prepared and consequently boost their confidence so their points are well made.

Handling Conflict Before It Handles You

“Conflict is inevitable.” “Conflicts are good.” “Conflicts are easily resolved.” “Conflicts are bad.” These are some ideas about conflict. They justly illustrated the various ideas and feelings about conflict.

Conflict robs as much as 20% of an individual’s time from the workday. It costs an organization a great deal, if it is not dealt with in a productive manner. This session will examine what conflict is, how it affects the organization, and present proven steps to assist you in handling conflict instead of it handling you. It will assist participants in understanding the various styles and causes of conflict as well as present concrete information about how to resolve conflict in a manner that is productive. A conflict style instrument will be used in the course.


Effective leadership is a key element in the smooth operation of an organization. Understanding that different individuals need different styles of leadership depending on the project will ensure a more productive work unit.

The workshop addresses various leadership styles, it examines the advantages and disadvantages of the various styles, it examines the use of power when leading, as well as assists with the understanding of management versus leadership and more.

Someone will lead the way. This session will assist participants in determining the best way to lead based on the individual and what the circumstances are at the time. Leadership is not limited to a few but can be utilized by many others. The essential element is to understand how to lead so others can follow. A leadership instrument can be used in the course.

Managing Meetings

Meetings should be designed to produce an outcome. Meetings should also solve problems, decisions should be made, and meetings should not be a waste of valuable time. If meetings are properly run, they will be productive and reduce frustration for those in attendance.

Participants will take away concrete methods of keeping meetings on track and on time. The processes of a facilitating a well-run meeting will be examined starting with the purpose of the meeting, the expected outcomes, and assigning tasks so that the outcomes of the meeting can be met.

Beginning with definitions of various types of meetings and continuing with the purpose for holding a meeting, how to evaluate a meetings, and the framework to hold effective and efficient meetings, this workshop will enable participants to facilitate a constructive outcome to their meetings.

Managing Performance

The ability to manage performance is central in a well functioning work environment. Examining why an individual’s performance is not up to expectations is one of the more difficult duties of a manager or supervisor.

When performance is not properly managed, it can affect everyone in the organization. Performance management is not a once a year event but an on-going process that allows individuals to be successful in all of their endeavors. Consequently, managers and supervisors need to be able to not only recognize poor performance and work with the individual to improve performance but also to recognize good performance and praise the individual.

How do you determine where the performance problem began, how do you determine what to do, and how do you approach and work with the individual areas that are key to a positive outcome. This workshop will cover several components of effective performance management and present a method for analyzing performance.

Power And Influence: Do I Have Any?

Every day in a variety of situations, the use of power and influence come into play in the working environment. The key is to appreciate when to use various styles and to understand how you as a leader need to recognize the importance of power in the work environment.

The ability to establish a cohesive working environment is fundamental to a productive work force. Consequently, it is essential the individual in charge of leading the work unit understands the importance of how to use their power and influence to ensure that the team accomplishes its goals.

This session will examine various styles of influence and types of power to assist individuals in developing a more productive working relationship within their organization.

Problem Solving and Decision Making

The ability to solve problems and make decisions is an essential skill that individuals at all levels should sharpen. Being able to critically examine a problem and then make a well thought through decision will enable an organization to run smoother and more effectively.

All organizations in today’s environment must work toward common goals. No matter the size of the organization, problems do arise and decisions need to be made. At the same time, each of these problems must be addressed in an expeditious manner while ensuring that all decisions are not made in a unilateral manner. It is important to have these skills to enable all individuals to work in a more productive manner. This workshop will examine both problem solving skills and decision-making skills and how they are intertwined.

Project Management

This in depth multi day basic project management session will explore a step-by-step process from implementation to completion of a project. Participants will learn about initiating a project, the various components of a well-planned project including work break down structures, risk management plans, communication plans and more. Also included are components of plan execution and close out.

In order to have a project run smooth with as few “mishaps” as possible, it must be properly planned. When it is properly planned, a project can run much smoother saving time, money, and frustration for the organization and the project management team. The skills obtained in the workshop will assist in developing a clear plan that will enable the project team to complete the project in a timely manner.

Strategic Planning

It is essential in an organization for everyone to be “playing off the same sheet of music.” The key to accomplishing this is to focus on the future. A proactive process, strategic planning determines what perimeters will be used to solve future challenges.

When everyone understands an organization’s vision, the organization can better determine the direction it is heading, can plan how long it will take to get there, and determine who is supposed to be doing what to ensure the success of the organization. Strategic planning forms the backbone of any organization through the understanding of its history, trends affecting it, and understanding what stakeholders expect.


Supervision is much more than ensuring tasks are completed through employees. It also deals with the human element and the ability to communicate, motivate, delegate, and ensure people are set up for success.

One of the keys to being a competent supervisor is the ability to develop keen interpersonal skills, provide performance feedback, and ensure that employees understand what is expected of them so they can effectively deliver the tasks they are assigned.

Supervisors represent the front line to the employees they supervise. This means employees look to supervisors to do just that — supervise. This encompasses ensuring the right employee is in the right position so that the work unit goals can be accomplished in a timely and accurate manner. Knowledgeable supervisors can make the difference between success and failure of a work unit. That is why it is important that supervisors are properly selected and well trained so that work can be accomplished.

Working With Difficult People

Working with difficult people…what is it that makes them difficult? Is it the way they work, how they perceive work, how they communicate…what is it?

When people are asked to be very productive, the environment needs to be conducive so that it is easier to meet goals and deadlines. If there is a perception that someone is difficult to work with, then the environment may not assist employees in producing to their utmost. Thus, understanding what could make people difficult will enable the work environment to become one where people can complete their work in the most fruitful way possible.

This workshop will identify reasons why some individuals are difficult, it will present specific skills for coping with various types of difficult people, it will lend insights about why participants could be difficult and present positive ideas about coping and working with difficult people.

For a complete list please contact us:

Phone: 512-515-0580
Fax: 512-515-0590
E-mail: Kathleen McCleskey

E-mail: Bob McCleskey

Project Management For Non-Profits

Up to 50% of projects fail because their success is compromised in some manner – over budget, behind schedule, or failing to deliver expected outcomes.  From fund raising to initiating a new program, the fundamentals of project management hold true. Using a systematic process will assist in ensuring a smooth “roll out” of any event or program.

A project is a series of activities that has a limited time for completion with a specific outcome in mind. When completed there will be a service, product, funding, or a specific result. A project can include a fund raising event, a volunteer recruitment process, the hiring of a new executive director, launch of a new program, or anything that is not part of the “everyday business” of the nonprofit. Project management is a systematic process that balances the elements of time, money, quality, monitoring, and execution to reach a specific goal.

Specifically project manage is the process of:

  • Exploring the history/background/environment/trends
  • Understanding the steps in starting a project
  • Determine the systematic process of planning
  • Developing a work breakdown structure
  • Evaluating and monitoring the project
  • Closing out the project

Why use a systematic approach to project management?

The ability to plan and document the ins and outs of a project have been proven to produce better and more smoothly run projects. Where time is of the essence, nonprofits need to be sure they are using the best tools possible to reach the goals of every project they undertake. By reaching these goals in a systematic way, clients are served better and the entire organization benefits. Some of the benefits of a project management approach are:

  • A systematic approach to the planning process that can be replicated
  • Understanding the connection between the project and the overall mission
  • Development of subsidiary plans such as communication, quality, budgeting, risk management, and staffing
  • Having a plan that incorporates specific actions for paid and volunteer staff to take
  • Determine when to check for progress
  • Understanding the importance of documentation and close out

What KM Consulting and Training Connection will contribute

Working with key individuals in the nonprofit we will:

  • Present a review of the purpose of the project
  • Work hand-in-hand to develop a project plan and explore subsidiary plans
  • Assist in the development of a work breakdown structure
  • Help in the monitoring, evaluating, and closing phases through a check in process

As a result of using a systematic project management approach you will have
A tailored blueprint for implementing a project

For more information please contact us:

Phone: 512-515-0580
Fax: 512-515-0590
E-mail: Kathleen McCleskey

E-mail: Bob McCleskey

Professional Development

Professional development is the gaining of skills and knowledge. It is not only personally gratifying but it helps in career advancement and organizational productivity. Professional development can be completed as an organization, individually, virtually, and self-paced. It involves a commitment of time and an openness and eagerness to grow professionally.

Organizations look for continuous improvement to increase the productivity of their staff and reach common goals. One way to accomplish this is through individual professional development. The opportunity to be a peak performer is rewarding. Participating in sessions such as supervision, leadership, problem solving and decision-making, team building, communication, and managing people will enable employees to become more proficient to carry out their assigned tasks.

Why bring a subject matter expert to your location?

Many organizations offer individuals the opportunity to attend “learning” events. Bringing a professional on site is an option because it enables employees an opportunity to hear the same information so the concepts can be shared and implemented. Some of the benefits are:

  • Shared knowledge base for everyone attending
  • The ability to understand the material individually and as a group
  • Helps employees reach individual professional development goals
  • Increases managerial and supervisory skills
  • No travel expenses for individuals


What KM Consulting and Training Connection will contribute

  • Participant manual with exercises, templates, and check lists
  • Comfortable learning experience
  • Hands on information that has a successful track record of implementation in the “real world”

As a result of taking a professional development session you will have

  • Proven information to help you be more successful professionally
  • The organization will be able to “play off the same sheet of music” in the areas of accountability, communication, supervisory and management skills.

Click here for a sample list of workshops

For more information please contact us:

Phone: 512-515-0580
Fax: 512-515-0590
E-mail: Kathleen McCleskey

E-mail: Bob McCleskey

Non-Profit Consulting

A consultant brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to an organization. External consultants help to guide change in a specific area of an organization. Consultants present fresh ideas and methods for improving specific processes within the organization.

Examining the various aspects of a board of directors or a volunteer program or of the nonprofit in general is a proven method of increased capacity. When assessments are performed and “GAPS” are identified, it is the starting point of enabling the nonprofit to fill in the “GAPS” and move forward with a plan.

Why bring a consultant to your location?

A consultant can examine the systems and processes of your organization with an unbiased point of view. From a strategic plan to volunteer management audit to a board audit, self examination opens the opportunities to build capacity and serve more clients.

What KM Consulting and Training Connection will contribute

As a result of using KM Consulting and Training Connections as a consultant, the organization will have:

  • A completed strategic plan.
  • Tips and guideance about enhancing your volunteer program
  • An assessment of your board with specific guidelines and ideas to incorporate into board meetings.
  • Team building opportunities to help participants work toward common goals

For more information please contact us:

Phone: 512-515-0580
Fax: 512-515-0590
E-mail: Kathleen McCleskey

E-mail: Bob McCleskey

Review of ‘A Conversation With a Purpose’

This is a reprint of a review of my book ‘A Conversation With a Purpose: A Practical Guide To Interviewing Prospective Volunteers’, from the March 2010 edition of Volunteering Magazine and reprinted with permission.

A Conversation With a Purpose: A Practical Guide To Interviewing Prospective VolunteersWe liked the layout of this book, which is written by Kathleen McCleskey and Cheryle N Yallen.

It is divided up into eight clear and concise chapters and is packed with practical advice and tools and techniques.

The worksheets, forms to use, and mock dialogue for an interview are likely to be particularly useful.

In Getting Started, the authors outline some of the key elements they believe must be in place before the interview gets under way. This might seem like stating the obvious but it really does give structure to this process. The authors also examine the importance of motivation and communication.

In the chapter ‘The Participants’, McCleskey and Yallen look at expectations and how the potential volunteer can actually make a difference to the organisation and who in the organisation is involved in the interview process.

“The key to interviewing is ensuring the interviewer, whether paid or volunteer, is properly trained in effective interviewing skills.”

‘Interviewer Traps’ turns the spotlight on to possible barriers, including the ‘halo effect’ which happens when the potential volunteer has something in common with the interviewer, or stereotyping when the interviewer allows their own prejudices to impact on the interview, with first impressions generally formed in the first 30 seconds of the interview.

Another common trap is language, when someone may be ‘verbally affluent’ and using too much ‘agency jargon’. Time is also picked out by the authors as a crucial factor. They believe the downfalls here are because interviews are sometimes squeezed into whatever slots are available
in the day or hastily put together.

The authors go on to examine the potential volunteer and aspects such as their concerns about the interviewer or organisation if they have not done their research ahead of the interview.

Non-Profit Consulting | Organizational Planning | Volunteer Management

KM Consulting and Training Connection’s philosophy is to unite with you, the expert about your organization, and to give you tools and information so you can reach your goals.
We offer a variety of services to help you realize the goals for your organization.

  • Organizational Planning
  • Board Advancement
  • Evaluation
  • Professional Development

Our goal is to serve you so that you can achieve your vision and goals.
Browse our web pages and then contact us with any questions you may have.