Understanding the Active Citizen Framework – Part 4

Active Citizen Framework Infographic EN A3This month, we continue our series on the JCI Active Citizen Framework with Step 4 – Monitoring and Evaluation. Do you want to help change the world? The Active Citizen Framework is your step-by-step guide to getting involved, and started down the path to success. Our process helps Jaycees develop and implement projects that empower and educate young adults, and have a real impact in their local communities.  The system works – and we offer you the framework, tools, and expertise to create your own change. We want to see you succeed in making a difference, and as fellow Jaycees, we’re ready to help!

If you need a refresher on last month’s topic, Step 3 – Taking Action With Partners, click here.

From your project planning through completion, it is important to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress. Beyond measuring impact as a great way to stay motivated, you and your partners are able to compare actual progress versus the goals that you set in earlier project phases. During the evaluation step, you can answer questions such as, “Did we solve the problem?”, “Should we make any adjustments?”, and “How do we ensure the impact is sustainable?”

Through monitoring, evaluating, and reporting, you maintain the flexibility to adapt your project implementation to changing conditions to aid in immediate success, with the ability to change guaranteeing a long-term, sustainable solution.

Take a few minutes and review the resources provided for this step in the Active Citizen Framework – watch the video and learn more about the user-friendly process of staying on top of progress and assuring a positive outcome for your next project!

There’s an easy way you can help your fellow Jaycees get motivated to start a project that makes us all look good – share your stories! Visit our Facebook and Twitter sites and tell us about your successes and challenges – your experiences are inspiration for other Jaycees!

Earth Day – What did you do?

This year on April 22nd over a billion people in 190 countries celebrated Earth Day – the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Historically, groups from across the political spectrum have come together on that day in efforts from protests and rallies to conferences and clean-ups. As Jaycees, we can be proud that many of our chapters around the country tackled environmental issues to make their community better.

You can check out a list of Earth Day events from across the country and around the world here and here.

Earth DayThe grassroots nature of Earth Day offers a number of lessons that Jaycees can use as inspiration for their own efforts to get involved and improve their communities. As the premier organization for young professionals 18-40, the Jaycees are committed to making a difference by working with local partners on projects that will have a sustained impact on their immediate environment. By teaming with resources from government, business, and political elements, our members make connections that will offer benefits well into the future.

As Earth Day also reminds us, we have a social responsibility to make our surroundings better. By planning and executing projects that help individuals throughout our communities, the Jaycees, already positively identified at the local, national, and international levels, demonstrate a continuing commitment to the well-being of others. What does that mean for our organization? It increases an already strong reputation that allows better access to the influencers within our communities that can help guarantee the sustainability of existing projects and the creation of new ones with even greater impacts.

Let us know what you did this Earth Day. Check out our Facebook and Twitter accounts to see how others are celebrating, and share your own story!

Executive Presence – Appearance Matters

Executive PresenceWhen you think about the characteristics that help individuals become leaders in their chosen profession, you most likely consider positive traits such as hard work, setting goals, and furthering education as essential to achieving a successful career path. While these skills are certainly necessary, a recent study by the non-profit Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) indicates that having an “executive presence” may be an even more important factor in rising to a leadership role within your organization.

CTI surveyed over 4,000 college-graduate professionals, along with analyzing numerous focus groups and interviews to identify the critical elements in establishing the authority necessary to be an effective leader. The results of the study highlight three essential areas of focus to develop a strong executive presence – gravitas, communication, and appearance.

Over 67 percent of the senior executives interviewed for this study identified gravitas as a core characteristic of executive presence and includes exuding confidence, acting decisively, demonstrating integrity, protecting your reputation, and projecting vision.

Almost half of those surveyed acknowledged effective communication as an indicator of leadership abilities. Your local Jaycee chapter provides training in many of these techniques. Some of these are great speaking skills, the ability to command a room, and skills in reading an audience.

Business attireFinally, appearance matters. In many cases, how you are perceived in a physically sense will act as a filter for how others view your gravitas and communication abilities. While a relatively low percentage identified appearance alone as a positive factor, almost all of those surveyed indicated the potential for negative impacts from blunders such as a lack of grooming or inappropriate attire.

Take advantage of the tools, trainings, and resources offered by your local chapter and JCI USA to get involved and increase your executive presence. Whether you are learning new skills from your chapter leadership, planning and implementing a project that increases your visibility in the community, or supporting other Jaycees as they work to improve their skill sets, your efforts will help develop characteristics essential to your overall success – not only as a Jaycee, but also in your personal and professional life.

What elements do you believe are necessary for developing an executive presence? Share your thoughts on our Twitter and Facebook pages, and let’s help all Jaycees maximize their leadership potential.

4 Steps to a Productive Meeting

Hi Five!It’s time to add a new certainty to life. We’ve been limited to death and taxes for far too long, and now is the time to admit our previous failures and acknowledge that no matter how hard we try, our next workplace meeting will not be the most exciting hour (hopefully) of our lives. Whether dominated by an autocratic boss, having the tendency to run minutes or even hours longer than expected, or consistently being viewed as unproductive as the last session of Congress, the office meeting needs a refresh.

Jay O’Connor, CMO of Blue Jeans Network, has provided a list of four simple tips to help keep your co-workers interest, and make the most out of your next office meeting:

  • Face-to-face interaction is important. With more and more work performed remotely, conference calls have quickly become an accepted form of attendance. Unfortunately, research indicates that face-to-face communication improves business relationships – not only with clients, but also internally. With an increasing reliance on remote teaming and virtual offices, it’s important to interact with your co-workers as much as possible in-person. It probably isn’t going to happen around the water cooler.
  • Timing is everything. Everyone knows that Monday mornings are an ineffective time to schedule meetings – people are generally thinking about the weekend that just ended, or the pile of work waiting for them to organize for the week. Try to schedule your meetings for mid-day in the middle of the week – the participant’s focus will be more towards work-related issues.
  • Less talk, more action. Rather than spending a lot of time in the meeting bringing attendees up to speed, effective leaders invest time beforehand, making sure everyone has related documents and emails for review before meeting as a group. Prep work is done in advance, and the time spent together can be used for results-oriented action, rather than catch-up.
  • Give everyone a voice. Too often non-essential team members are included in meetings for no specific reason. Making sure all participants have a clear role will help optimize time considerations and promotes better engagement among co-workers.

Not every meeting will run as efficiently as your local Jaycee chapter meeting. By implementing the four suggestions listed above, not only will you have more productive, effective office meetings, you may actually enjoy the idea of putting the time to good use. Do you have any tips for improving work meetings? Share them on JCI USA’s Twitter and Facebook pages – we want to hear your suggestions!

Social Media Trends

SMAs the polar vortex refuses to loosen its icy grip on the majority of the country, abnormally cold weather provides an ideal time to review and adjust your personal and professional social media strategies. Whether you’re a novice user or practiced veteran of the social media environment, you can always learn a new technique or application that fits your needs. With a little research, you can easily improve your efficiency and skills in a communication medium that continues to evolve with improved technology and greater importance, as more and more individuals rely on outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for news, shopping, and social interaction. As an active member of the Jaycees, you’ll find social media used in a variety of ways on the local, national, and international levels, from internal communication to chapter marketing to community project support. It has quickly grown from an entertaining way of staying connected, to an essential element of your personal and professional communication practices.

To help direct your efforts in the most beneficial ways, check out this article from Jayson DeMers, a contributor at Forbes.com, breaking down the top social media trends for 2014. Some of his insights include:

  1.        Investment in social media will become a necessity, not a luxury.
  2.        Google+ will become a major factor.
  3.        Image-centric networks will see huge success.
  4.        We’ll witness the rise of micro-video.
  5.        LinkedIn will become a major player for B2B growth.

With social media firmly cemented as a major factor in how individuals communicate with each other, get yourself educated. Whether through your local chapter, JCI USA trainings, project applications, or outside educational opportunities, invest your time in understanding the various methods and programs associated with effective social media communication.

Now it’s your turn. Would you recommend any additional resources to help your fellow Jaycees learn more about social media? Please take a few minutes and tell us about any books, videos, online sites, speakers, etc. that you found particularly valuable – and thanks for the suggestions!