Career Partners International Welcomes CMA Midwest as Newest Member

Career Partners International has over 30 years of experience partnering with organizations around the world to navigate the future of work.  As the world becomes more connected and increasingly complex CPI continues to grow.  We are proud to announce Career Management Associates (CMA Midwest) will be serving the Greater Kansas City market as the newest Member of Career Partners International.
“CPI’s talent backed by cutting edge resources will be a great compliment to how we support our clients going forward,” said John Daugherty, President of CMA Midwest. “We are excited to be a part of the CPI team once again.”
With over 50 Members and 300 locations around the world, CPI creates a unique global presence with local experts.  Each Member is selected as the best in their market, delivering custom, personalized coaching backed by world-class technology.  Member firms are held to the highest standards of service and client satisfaction.
“We are very excited to have John and his team back as Members of CPI,” states Bill Kellner, President & CEO of CPI.  “CMA Midwest has a strong history of delivering high-quality career transition and leadership development programs.  Their people-first approach and impressive backgrounds make them an important and trusted Partner in the Greater Kansas City market.”
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Career Partners International Expands into Kelowna with Pathfind

One of the key strengths of Career Partners International (CPI) is the unique combination of a global presence with local Partners serving as experts in their own Markets.  We are pleased to announce the expansion of our Member, Pathfind, into the Kelowna, Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.
“Being a proud Partner of Career Partners International, a leading provider of Outplacement, Career Management, Executive Coaching and Leadership Development, we are a delivery leader of these services and we look very forward to being able to provide outstanding support to the exceptional companies in this region,” says Domenic Gallace, CEO & Managing Partner of Pathfind.
Pathfind has been a valued Member of CPI for many years, this expansion is a natural progression for the organization, allowing them to serve more clients and participants with the high-quality delivery expected of all CPI Members.
“Pathfind contributes greatly to the organization, providing strong career transition and leadership development,” states Bill Kellner, President of CPI.  “We are thrilled that they have chosen to bring their expert solutions and services to clients in this new market.”
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As Work Environments Drastically Shift Career Partners International Offers Adaptive Support

As the world experiences the compounding effects of COVID-19, communities and workplaces are in a state of flux. Career Partners International responded to this global pandemic by launching a variety of complimentary services to support organizations, leaders, and employees. Through our more than 50 Members and 300 locations around the globe, we continue to support both individuals and organizations in their time of need.
On March 20th, which already seems like a long time ago, the CPI website was revamped with a new segment of free materials for workers who have been laid off due to COVID-19 and have no professional assistance.  With unemployment levels rapidly rising, these resources help guide the unemployed through stress management, developing a resume, preparing for interviews and more, preparing them to re-enter the workforce as soon as possible.
With companies instantly being forced into a state of remote work, there are many questions of how to make this new structure function.  CPI launched a series of live and recorded webinars to support leaders and their teams.  Terry Gillis, of Ahria Consulting – A CPI Firm, spoke on the importance of Leadership in Turbulent Times.  CPI Austin, Texas led a group discussion on best practices of Leading a Newly Remote Workforce.  Anthony Raja Devadoss, of PERSOLKELLY – A CPI Firm, will be hosting an event on Managing the Virtual Workplace with Trust.  Each of these events are free and open to the public with more to follow.  If you have not been able to participate, be sure to visit our LinkedIn page to view the recordings.
CPI career transition services have been expanded in response to changes in the job market.  Current participants have had their programs extended, at no charge to client organizations.  This extension will allow participants more time to access materials and to adjust to changes in hiring practices.  Additionally, all coaching and group events have moved to virtual delivery, maintaining the connection and local expertise that is vitally important in a job search and a key strength in CPI.
“At Career Partners International, it is our privilege and responsibility to help those in need.  This is a time unlike any other in recent memory; a time in which we all focus on moving society forward.  Our Members continue to do that very thing, acting quickly and, as our Mission states, ‘…embracing each individual and organizational challenge uniquely’.  Continuing to pair people with innovation, we are providing uninterrupted service by delivering services remotely to support clients and participants throughout the employee lifecycle.
These additional offerings are our way of giving forward and making sure companies and employees affected by this economic shift have the means to recover quickly.  Many aspects of society have and will forever change.  One thing that will not change is our commitment to our clients, participants, and communities.” Bill Kellner, CEO of Career Partners International.
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The Bright Side of Working from Home

Facing an instant shift to working from home for a large percentage of the global population, Career Partners International has hosted multiple webinars on how to lead and support your teams through these new challenges.  One of the repeated themes is shifting one’s mindset to focus on positives and the factors that can be controlled.  Our headquarters staff has worked remotely for years; many of us having made the transition from a corporate office to our home offices.  This setup was deliberate and intentional for our team, it allows us to better support Members and clients around the world.  Over time, through trial and error, each of us have built structure and systems into our workday.
Here are a few suggestions from across our “offices”, broken down by must-have items and unique perks, that you might adopt to make this transition a little easier.
Must-Have Items
Really Good Coffee
Quality headphones and a microphone. When life is lived via Zoom, these tools are indispensable.  The headphones are also good for drowning out background noise.  (He types blissfully unaware of the chaos a toddler is raining down in the other room.)
Natural light. If possible, get a view and bring some sunshine into your day.  No more beige box cubicle walls!
Upgrade your touchpoints. Pens, keyboard, notebooks, etc.  These are no longer getting lost or damaged so invest in items that are more pleasant to use.
A second “office”. Have an alternative spot to move to when you need to change gears.  Kitchen, deck, bedroom… anywhere you can refocus and remain productive.
Unique Perks
Seriously, drink good Coffee. The world tends to shine a little brighter when properly caffeinated.
Bike rides, dog walks, a nap in the hammock, or a quick jog around the neighborhood at lunch.
No traffic. Wake up at 7:55 for that 8:00 meeting.
Nobody is around to judge your unusual taste in music.
Save money and eat healthier with access to a personal chef. (That’s you.)
Get comfortable. No one needs to know that you’re wearing mesh shorts, yoga pants, or a grass skirt in a video meeting.
Working from home is not all rainbows and sunshine, but by focusing on the good and taking advantage of the accompanying benefits it becomes much more enjoyable.  Don’t forget to keep connected with your teammates.  Log into a call 5 minutes early to chat, send a note to check in via Slack, or shoot off that funny email to your group.  Just because you are no longer in the same office does not mean you cannot still be connected, productive, and happy.
 
Written by Chris Boyd
Marketing Director at Career Partners International
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6 Best Practices for Virtual Meetings

As we rapidly transition our teams to a virtual way of conducting business, adopting new technology is not a luxury, but a necessity. It’s important to know how to put our best foot forward when navigating the world of virtual meetings.
We’ve put together 6 best practices that will help you adapt to this new form of communication. These tips will help serve you in preparation for client, team, and other meetings you may attend now and in the future.
 Be aware of your background.
If you’re not used to working in a remote environment, you may not realize that what’s behind you really matters. There may be things in your background that are distracting. This is especially important when you’re in a main room of your house with partners, kids, and pets walking around behind you.
We suggest you try to minimize distraction by setting up in a room that’s out of the way, has a door to reduce noise, and does not have a lot of traffic.
You can also make use of a virtual background if your meeting application has that capability. Create an image that is branded with your company logo and display it behind you. This will take away any distractions in the background and allow your meeting to stay professional and on topic.
 Camera height and positioning.
It may be tempting to set up your laptop or webcam on any surface when preparing for your next meeting. If you’re not careful, this could impact the impression you have on a client or meeting attendee. It’s important to check the camera angle whenever you change locations for a virtual meeting.
If your camera is set too high, above eye level, it will give the illusion that people are looking down at you. If your camera is set too low, along with being a very unflattering angle, it could make an attendee feel that you are talking down to them. This has the potential to unintentionally change the mood and feel of a meeting.
To combat this, always make sure to set the camera at eye level. This will ensure you are sitting on an even plane with whoever you’re meeting with and will put them at ease through the conversation.
Minimize background noise.
Now, this is a tricky one, especially if you currently have a household full of kids or others who will no doubt make some noise at an inopportune time. If you can, make sure to situate yourself in a quiet place within your home, preferably a room that has a door to buffer any outside noise. You can also use headphones that have a built-in microphone. Typically, these microphones will pick up your voice only and reduce anything a laptop speaker may pick up easily.
Another way to ensure that you’re not disrupting the call with any outside noise is to mute your microphone. This can be done directly through the meeting platform or your headphones may have a mute button. This will help keep the call on-topic and not distract speakers.
You also should be mindful that currently, people may have background noise they normally wouldn’t have. It’s important to have grace for those you’re meeting with and realize that some things may not be in their control in this climate.
Lighting.
Adjusting the lighting for a virtual meeting can be difficult. It can be frustrating when you’re trying to put your best foot forward and just cannot get the lighting to cooperate. The best practice is to set up so that you have a room with bright windows and a wall behind you.
You may not have access to perfect lighting, so there are a couple of tricks to getting it just right.  If there is a window behind you, make sure you also have light behind the webcam and in front of you. This will help balance the “halo effect” that can happen with a bright light behind you. You also don’t want too bright of light in front of you. This could wash out your skin and your facial features.
Always have a backup.
When using any type of technology, it’s good to have a backup option. Due to an overwhelming number of companies transitioning to online platforms, there may be a breakdown in quality. It’s recommended that you have a second meeting app to switch to if your primary one is not functioning properly.
Keep this in mind for hardware as well. By this, we mean your headphones or the actual device you’re using to connect to the call. Most platforms have an app that can be used on your smartphone or tablet. Make sure to download the app and login, so that you’re able to start or continue a call if your laptop or desktop computer is not functioning correctly.
Don’t forget that people can see you!
Always assume that you’re on camera and that you are unmuted. Everyone’s heard of the one person on a large call that forgets they’re in front of the camera and decides to pick their nose, make a face, doze off… you name it. This applies even if you believe your camera and microphone are off.
To keep from making any mistakes, try your best to be engaged, take notes, and ask questions. This will let the presenter know that you care about their topic, but it will also keep you engaged and out of trouble.
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Supporting Individuals Impacted by COVID-19

Within CPI’s Global footprint, we’ve seen firsthand the varied and unique impact of COVID-19.  If you find yourself unemployed due to COVID-19 and have no professional transition assistance, we can help.  Through our page Immediate Individual Help page, we are sharing important information and immediate actions you can take to prepare you to move on to your next role.  Know that you are not alone and that many others are currently in a similar situation.  This is a temporary setback.  Our Members around the world are here to help individuals and organizations move forward into the future of work.
 
For organizations seeking broader support across the employee lifecycle, visit our home page CPIworld.com for more information.
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The Leading Advantage – Leadership Coaching to Propel Success

Launching today is The Leading Advantage, a Career Partners International podcast.  Throughout the series, we will be exploring case studies, hot topics, and best practices in leadership development and executive coaching.
Bill Harmon, of Promark, A CPI Firm, joins us on the inaugural episode of The Leading Advantage to discuss a succession planning based coaching engagement for a 3rd generation family business.  This unique case study highlights the benefits of a long-term engagement and how a trusted coach can help a strong individual contributor transition into and cement themselves as a leader within the organization.
Available on Spotify
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Our Shared Focus

CPI Focused On Wellbeing And Care For Your People
Populations around the world are experiencing and responding to the impact of COVID-19 in many different ways. At Career Partners International we are ensuring our people and systems are protected and performing, so your people can be served as you expect. We are uniquely positioned to provide local response and service through a globally consistent framework. Our Headquarters Operations, Members, and Technical Solutions partners all benefit from being geographically distributed and remote. This structure enables us to shift resource needs and services seamlessly around the world. Each Member and Service partner is implementing procedures for: visitors, travel, and work from home access; facilities hygiene practices; operational backup and redundancy plans; and communication and coverage systems all at a scope and scale in line with the degree of impact in their area.
Beyond our ability to provide continuity of care to your people participating in our programs, you may have questions related to the stability of our technical infrastructure at the center of continued delivery performance in the face of a Pandemic. Our Business Continuity Plan is kept current and related staff training is up to date. Business Continuity at CPI includes preparations to help assure the viability and reliability of CPI internal infrastructure in the face of a major crisis, including Pandemics and Epidemics.
We recognize issues created by COVID-19 add stress and complication to the already complex world in which we all work. CPI is here and uniquely able to help, and wish you and your people throughout the world continued success and good health.
-Bill Kellner, President & CEO of Career Partners International
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Seven Things to Consider Before Taking the Leap

In last month’s career goals survey by Greene and Associates Inc., a CPI Firm, 47% of respondents indicated they were preparing for the next level of leadership. Deciding to take that leap requires one to weigh career decisions with a strategic mindset and a 360-degree view. Doing so will help develop a career roadmap and provide clarity to decide if that next opportunity is the right one.
Imagine this:
One of your colleagues recently told you that a new role within your organization is being developed. He also said that your name is at the top of the list to be considered. You decided that you want additional challenges, yet when this opportunity came your way, it was a surprise. You are flattered that people see you as a leader, but is this opportunity really what you had envisioned when you decided to take your career to the next level?
Here are seven questions to help you decide if that opportunity is the right one.
·    Vision: Where do you see yourself in the next five years, and will this role propel you there?
·    Confidence: How confident are you about excelling in this new role?
·    Values: How closely aligned are your values with the new role?
·    Work/Life Balance: How will you manage family, community involvement and other aspects of life with this new level of responsibility?
·    Capabilities: What can you contribute to the role, and what do you need to learn?
·    Relationships: Who will support you internally as well as externally?
·    Presence: What is the leadership presence that you convey now? Will that need to change in this new role?
At Career Partners International, we know that leadership is a journey and that it takes courage, humility, and discipline to embrace the next step.  With over thirty years of experience supporting individuals and organizations throughout the employee lifecycle, CPI can help you and your team catapult to the next level.
-Barbara A. F. Greene, CEO of Greene and Associates Inc., a CPI Firm
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Manager as Year-End Career Coach

Whether your organization has embraced the contemporary flow of year-long/ongoing real-time performance feedback processes, or retain the traditional year-end review, this is the time of year managers and employees engage in conversation to review accomplishments against milestones and to set objectives for next 12 months and beyond.  Regardless of the vehicle you use, or the cadence in which you check in, it is highly likely that you or your management team will be conducting some form of planning and evaluation, and the information you gather informs the plan.
Take this opportunity to help your managers and employees, and in turn your organization, grow.  Have an open conversation with the intent to benefit all stakeholders.  With a few strategic questions and the ensuing conversations, managers can gain a better understanding of each employee’s needs and motivation.  Managers will receive honest, valuable feedback and employees will feel respected, taking away a stronger sense of support for their continued success within the firm.
While the planning for these conversations should have occurred months in advance, it is still not too late to include one or more of the questions below from Career Partners International career management and leadership development coaches.  These questions can easily be added to any review and planning process to enhance the conversation and improve engagement.
“If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would be the one thing you would start doing that would have a significant business impact on the company?” – Mike Zorn, Executive Leadership Coach at Promark, A CPI Firm
To start, you learn where their true energy and motivation lie, this is a great way to tailor upcoming projects and objectives.  It is important to follow up this question by seeking to understand why the employee has not pursued this objective.  Has the idea been repeatedly shot down?  Does the employee not feel secure in making such a bold suggestion?  Does it fall outside of their scope of responsibilities?  All of these and more could be potential easy fixes to help the organization and the employee grow.  As a bonus, you might get some amazing ideas to implement in Q1!
“How have you contributed to ROI for the entire organization?” – Terry Gillis, CEO of Ahria Consulting Inc, A CPI Firm
This question requires the employee to determine for themselves what their contribution to the organization has been.  This knowledge helps to develop an increased sense of worth and pride in their position.  The question also ensures that the employee understands how ROI is derived within the organization.  With this level of thought, the employee can understand the company’s strategy to better select and prioritize future projects.   
“Who in your group is ready for a promotion? And, do you have a successor?” John Burke, CEO of Career Partners International Houston
Promoting key individuals is an important part of retaining high performers and top talent. By asking these two questions, the manager is acknowledging the value employees bring and shares a future-focused orientation.  It is not just about, “what have you done for me lately?” it is about “what are we collectively doing for tomorrow?” These questions can signal there is a path to promotion for the employee and others in the organization, a visible benefit which aides in attracting outside candidates to the organization as well.  It also makes clear that the organization expects each manager to be active in growing the future via next level leaders grown and developed from within.  A double engagement win! 
“At work, how do you know you’ve done a good job?” – Karen Valesco, Consultant Coach at Working Transitions, A CPI Firm
The response to this question will tell you both how the employee is motivated and whether the organization’s methods for recognition hit the mark as designed. If you hear a response such as “I just know,” or “I feel good about it,” then the chances are that the employee prefers internal motivation. If the responses are more like, “When someone tells me,” or “Everything works as it should,” the employee likely responds to external motivation. As a manager, once we know someone’s motivational preference (internal, external or balanced), we can engage and enthuse them in their work by being flexible in our leadership approach. We can also have more effective feedback conversations by adopting their natural preferences rather than our own. 
“What skill do you have, one we might not be aware of, that could make a positive contribution to your team or the organisation? How could you use that skill to make a difference?” – Kim Daglish, Director of Operations at Directioneering, A CPI Firm
Performance reviews and development conversations are often conducted within the prism of the employee’s existing role, what they have done in the past, and the logical career trajectory based on that track record. Managers tend to focus on what they understand of the individual’s capabilities as framed through the employee’s role and sometimes neglect to probe beyond these boundaries. This can inhibit the capacity of organisations to tap into the rich and diverse talent sitting within its own workforce. Similarly, employees often assume that their manager is fully aware of their capabilities and therefore, don’t feel the need to highlight any additional areas of expertise. Alternately, individuals don’t always feel comfortable discussing additional skills or motivational interests that sit outside of their current role. By proactively asking the question and showing genuine curiosity, the manager is giving the employee permission to broaden the development conversation and explore new career territory, unlocking talent that may otherwise go untapped.
“What aspects of your work excite and energize you? Are you getting enough of that?” – Penny Locey, VP of Delivery at Keystone Partners, A CPI Firm
This question can surface several situations that allow a manager or employee to act; to enrich the job, change priorities, or plan a shift. For example, a common situation is potential burnout –from doing what was once new and exciting exclusively.  Another issue could be when an individual was hired for one thing but asked to assume so many side-loaded responsibilities they have little time to spend on what attracted them in the first place. Lastly, the question can open a conversation around whether it is time for a person to move on because they want more than the role can give. Having the conversation early and openly helps both parties plan for a smooth transition.
“What developmental support do you need from me and the company in order to achieve alignment between your career growth and the business strategy?” – Sandy Wong, Managing Partner at Cornerstone International Group, A CPI Firm
This question helps the employee align their long-term goals with the objectives of the organization.  Further, it asks them to identify potential hazards and proactively provide solutions in the form of learning and development opportunities.  The manager is showing support to ensure win-win orientation, which in turn encourages the employee to utilize the opportunities to grow her career with the company.
“How has your learning and development this year helped maximise your contributions?” – Kate Johnson, Consultant Coach at Working Transitions, a CPI Firm
Encourage reflection on personal training and development activities.  After all, the organization has implemented these programs with an end in mind.  By asking this question the manager is seeking some validation of what has led to better contributions. Such reflection encourages the debate around what learning activities or approaches would enable growth and enhance performance in 2020.
“As you look to the future in terms of achieving your desired career growth, what do you need from me and the organization?  What can I do to support your growth?” – Sharon Imperiale, CEO at CCI Consulting, A CPI Firm
The philosophy around personal career growth has gone back and forth over the years in terms of just whose responsibility it is.  Is it the employee’s sole accountability, the company’s or both?  To truly engage the employee, they need to experience support and guidance in terms of what skills to develop and how to attain the experience they need to achieve their career goals.  Offering to be part of the journey is a leadership responsibility. Offering assistance and sponsorship while talking about the employee’s future will increase engagement. Performance “reviews”, although usually retrospective, should also be prospective.
Being a good leader requires more than basic management skills; employees now expect the best leaders to act as a guide as well, vested jointly in their success.  With programs like Manager as Career Coach, Career Partners International has helped thousands of managers steer their employees to more fulfilling career paths and better, longer engagements within the organization.  This year take a moment to move beyond the typical performance review and engage in a career coaching opportunity.
 
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