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Executive Education

Training Topics for Forensic Professionals

How to Effect Change as a New Leader

Most organizations do not prepare new leaders for their soon-to-be positions and many new leaders make the mistake of doing “more of the same,” figuring that was what got them promoted. You will learn a new way of thinking about transitional leadership, how to prepare yourself for what lies ahead, and what works and why for new leaders. Remember, the exercise of leadership is not the same as the exercise of power.

Developing Effective Leadership Styles

Effective leaders can be found in all types of organizations, but common sets of behaviors and beliefs have been shown to differentiate outstanding leaders from merely ordinary leaders. Understanding the difference between managing and leading is crucial to the growth of becoming an effective leader. This session on leadership essentials directs forensic crime laboratory managers on how to get results through people, while staying focused on the big issues.

Participants in this session will gain a better understanding on how the need for a different focal point can depend on the changing dynamics in the workplace and the employee base. An individual assessment and profile will further enhance the participants’ recognition of their personal leadership style guiding through a journey of self- discovery on how to build and refine their supervisory skills.

Leading High Performance Teams

Successful team members don’t necessarily do the same thing at the same time. Instead, they do the right thing at the right time. And, while team members work toward a common goal, individuals must still play their individual parts in the process. As organizations rely more and more on teams to innovate, solve problems, produce and compete at the speed of change, clearly understanding, and capitalizing on individual approaches to group process is the bottom line of creating high performance teams.

This session starts the journey to helping individuals work from their strengths by identifying their most natural team role. This awareness also helps team members value the characteristics and contributions of others.

Conflict Management

In a laboratory, it is the supervisor’s role to recognize the signs of conflict and quickly choose the appropriate level of involvement to help resolve the conflict. Because of the demands on their time and limited resources, forensic science supervisors sometimes find themselves in the center of conflict. Just one employee with chronic performance or work habit issues can drag down the performance of an entire laboratory and dominate the time of a supervisor. Whether it is issues involving employees, unrealistic demands placed upon the supervisor by other agencies or law enforcement personnel, or simply a personality conflict, it is incumbent upon the supervisor to both deal with the behavior and managing the conflict before it escalates to an issue that requires the employee relations department, or worse, the agency head, to mitigate. The goal is to develop an understanding of conflict in an organizational setting and insight into how to manage such conflict to a positive end.

Performance Management: Managing Competencies and Performance Metrics

Measure your performance and you can manage your performance for continuous improvements. Learn to first identify the core competencies, mission, values and measurable outcome indicators for your laboratory or individual operational units. Then using corrective and preventative actions, you can develop and tailor your management system for optimum success and highest reward.

Managing Across Generations in a Changing Forensic Environment

For the first time in history there are four generations working side by side in the workplace. These generations, defined by demographics and key life events, have distinctive characteristics in the workplace. Moreover, the landscape of forensic science has changed over the last decade, from admissibility requirements to the effects of the recent National Research Council report. The implications of these changes can aggravate employee relationships between otherwise productive employees. Understanding the special talents and personalities of each generation can help a manager bridge the generation gap. This session will discover the profiles of the different generations and leave participants with clues on how to recognize, maximize the potential talent of each group, develop the common ground for gaining respect across the generations, and thus move toward bridging the generational gap.

Succession Planning: Grooming the Next Laboratory Manager or Agency Head

The lack of properly executed succession planning is costly in productivity, quality and the overall reputation of your laboratory system or agency. Expected or not, leadership succession is inevitable and begins long before a key vacancy is anticipated. Learn to leave a legacy of efficient management and integrity by exploring human resource management tools for effective succession planning.

Process Improvement: Metrics, Measurement, and Management

Every laboratory is a collection of work processes. These processes produce results and value, support law enforcement, and are critical to the overall mission. Most agencies are not designed to manage processes but rather they manage tasks therefore reducing their ability to create efficiencies. Process improvement is a methodology that identifies critical processes, recognizes and removes tasks that do not add value, selects those that require redesign and illustrates how a product or transaction can be reengineered for better efficiency, greater value added, reduced time and resources.

How to Develop and Manage a Federal Grant

This session is an introductory overview of the steps necessary to develop and manage a federal grant including process mapping, conducting a needs assessment, designing an implementation plan, prioritizing the needs, developing a budget, measuring performance, managing budgets and awards through practical examples of success stories, failure stories and alternative models. A DNA specific case study will be introduced in this session, and it will be used as the main example in the following sessions of the program (project management, budgeting and process improvement). The session will conclude with tips on project development for federally funded programs, and an overview of NIJ funding opportunities.

Fundamentals of Budgeting

The budget is an essential management tool and the key to financial management in your laboratory. This hands-on session is specifically developed for supervisors with little or no experience with budgeting. It will provide guidelines on how to go about developing and monitoring an overall budget for your laboratory or unit, as well as assist you with developing a budget for a specific project or grant. It includes tools for estimating costs as well as tips for ensuring that your budgets meet the needs of your laboratory.

Cost Benefit as the Basis for Financial Decisions

Every laboratory director brings strong technical expertise but few are prepared to analyze the financial aspects of management choices. Tradeoffs, or choices, are made on a continual basis; we must give up something for everything that we get. All choices provide various cost-benefit tradeoffs and while choices are being made, case backlog increases. You will understand how to quantify the process to make the best choices to best manage scarce resources, analyze the way decisions are currently made and the cost benefit of those decisions, evaluate the internal incentive systems in place for your lab and link those incentives to the additional costs and benefits of your daily decisions as a means to guide your informed choices.

Strategic Planning

In today's competitive environment, budget-oriented planning or forecast-based planning methods are insufficient for any organization to survive and prosper. The organization must engage in strategic planning that clearly defines objectives and assesses both the internal and external situation to formulate strategy, implement the strategy, evaluate the progress, and make adjustments as necessary to stay on track. This session will focus on strategic planning, its purpose and its process and will help the participants lay the groundwork for the strategic planning process in their organization.

Management vs. Leadership

Phrases like “over managed and under lead” and “bad management and inept leadership” leads one to understand there is a distinct difference between management and leadership. This session explores the difference of the two concepts and guides the participants through the process of transitioning from managing to leading. Interactive games and cases will help facilitate the journey, allowing for self-reflection and leaving participants with tips to take back to their office on how to be an effective leader.

Motivating and Retaining Employees

The major theme of this session will be to present and discuss empirical determinants of forensic lab worker outcomes, such as turnover, propensity to help and share knowledge with others. A secondary emphasis will be on non-monetary ways to improve lab worker job satisfaction, attachment, and job performance. This session will also include interactive exercises in which attendees will learn how to improve human relations with their lab workers. Finally, we will use roundtable discussion to identify other critical issues in laboratory human relations.

Building an Environment of Trust

Trust is a key ingredient of employee engagement and loyalty, yet it’s easy for leaders to inadvertently fall into trust traps. This course builds awareness of these traps and strategies, helping you to create an environment in which people identify and solve problems, and work together. You will better understand the connection between trust and integrity and your mission, vision, and strategy, and how it impacts your communications and your work environment. We will explore how to identify when integrity and trust issues exist in your laboratories and how to build or rebuild trust and integrity.

Communicating for Results

This session emphasizes the need for effective communication in today’s laboratory where everyone is juggling many priorities across multiple personnel levels. The process of communication is open to various areas of possible breakdowns which can lead to conflict, and the savvy communicator must shoulder the responsibility to see that the message gets to the receiver without getting lost along the way. Lectures, exercises and self-analysis are combined in this interactive session to allow each participant to find his/her own strengths and areas of need in a safe and relaxed environment.

Developing Employees Through Coaching

Supervisors are ultimately responsible for grooming their employees for success. In this session, participants will examine the different styles of positive coaching and they will learn to recognize which style is required for specific situations. Rather than the outdated style of learning from mistakes, our instructor will guide participants through a more positive approach of avoiding problems and setting employees up for success. Supervisors will learn how to spend more of their time on establishing a process that results in greater productivity, less conflict, and goal achievement rather than getting their employees back on track.

Leading Organizational Change

Leaders who can direct and inspire change are rapidly becoming the most valued assets in all types of organizations. Coping with change, crisis, and at times chaos requires individuals to step forward and demonstrate a full array of leadership qualities that may not have been fully-valued in the past. Creating energy, passion, a sense of purpose, a rationale for change, and a shared organizational vision are several of the primary imperatives of today’s leader. The challenges faced by organizational leaders in forensic organizations have never been greater, the expectations of the workforce never higher, and the need to perform never stronger; successful leadership is the linchpin of organizational accomplishment.

Leading with your Strengths

Great organizations must capitalize on the different talents of each employee. While learning about talents may be an interesting experience, working with others to understand, develop, and utilize those talents can be of great benefit. Gallup research shows that people who know and use their strengths have high self-awareness and tend to have higher engagement and productivity. Leaders must have an awareness of and leverage diverse strengths to take action, influence others, build relationships, and consider the possibilities.

Change Management

Leaders need to know how to direct and inspire change in order for organizations to succeed in today's environment. Coping with change, crisis, and at time of chaos requires individuals to step forward and demonstrate a full array of leadership qualities that may not have been fully valued in the past. Knowing the difference between change and transition while creating energy, passion, a sense of purpose, and a rational for change, while all aligned with a shared organizational vision are critical to master with today’s leader.

Managing a Diverse Workforce

There are several dynamics taking place in the workplace in recent years, and in particular in forensic crime laboratories. First of all, with the current retirement delay of several “Traditionalists” and “Baby Boomers”— most of them males—there will be four (or more) generations working side by side in the workplace. In addition, we are also seeing an increase in the number of women entering the forensic profession in recent years. There are then additional socio-economic and cultural elements that also play a role in a laboratory, including “sworn officers” and “civil employees” working side by side. Understanding the special talents and personalities of each individual can help a manager bridge the generation, gender and cultural gap in the organization.

When Things Go Terribly Wrong with Personnel

In today’s media and information-rich environments, leaders must be prepared to deal with a vast array of dynamic situations and channels of communication when things go wrong. This may include dealing with internal pressures from a parent organization, addressing the immediate needs of quality issues and employee morale, and responding to potentially negative media attention and public perception. Knowing the major stages of managing a crisis and dealing with employee, employer, and public trust are critical skills leaders need to employ during a crisis.

This list is not all inclusive. Please contact Martina Bison-Huckaby at martina.bison-huckaby@mail.wvu.edu or (304)293-7926 to discuss your organizational needs.