Category Archives: Technology

Measures of Your Program’s Effectiveness and Success (Critical!)

The fact that less than 50% of the worksite wellness programs today conduct any type of program analysis or evaluation is a huge problematic issue. You can better manage and improve what you measure. And you do want to better manage and improve your program as needed, right?

Essentially, there are three broad areas within your wellness program that you can evaluate. They are: program structure, how the program is being delivered and the program’s expected outcomes.

Program Structure

Research has found that effective, successful worksite wellness programs are well-designed and comprehensive in their approach. Therefore, an assessment of a program’s structure focuses on whether key structural components are in place. To assess your program, you need to ask yourself the following questions:

1. How committed is your organization’s leadership to the program?

2. Are your programming and interventions based on the needs identified by your comprehensive, organization-wide needs assessment?

3. Are your programming and interventions aligned to the demographic and health status characteristics of your target audience?

4. Are the topics covered relevant to your target audience?

5. Are your programming and interventions evidence-based?

6. Do coherence, consistency, and integration exist between the various components of your program?

7. If you use incentives, does the value equal or exceed the requirements needed to obtain the incentives?

8. Are your incentives appropriately designed for their intended purpose?

9. Does your program have sufficient resources allocated and is the staffing adequate?

10. Are the necessary organizational factors important to success integrated into the program design?

11. Is the program seen as being a permanent, integrated feature of employee benefits?

12. Is the program aligned with the culture of your organization?

13. Is there an evaluation infrastructure in place for tracking program impact and outcomes?

Program Delivery

Evaluating your program’s delivery is typically called a process type of evaluation. A process evaluation typically examines how well your program is being implemented, if implementation is going according to plan and how the operation and delivery systems are working out. Program delivery evaluations also examine if feedback is routinely being provided that will allow for any necessary or needed changes to occur.

Questions to ask relevant to process evaluation include:

1. Are the programs reaching and engaging your desired target audience?

2. How many participate?

3. Are participants completing the interventions?

4. Are participants advancing in their readiness to change behaviors?

5. Are participants becoming more engaged in improving their health?

6. How satisfied are participants with the program?

7. Are the programming and interventions relevant to their needs?

8. Is the program being delivered in a similar way across all locations or workplaces?

9. Are communications and branding strategies getting the attention of the target audience?

10. Do the programming and interventions yield sustained participation over time?

Outcomes

Essentially, measuring outcomes is determining if your program is achieving its desired purpose, goals and objectives within a given timeframe. Typically, evaluation of outcomes is the primary concern of the employer and program staff or vendors. Are their expectations being met?

The expected outcomes may differ from organization to organization, but typically fall into one or more of three categories: improvements in the health, safety and well-being of program participants, cost savings (generally viewed as being health related cost savings), enhanced individual and business performance metrics and an overall healthier organization.

Speaking of outcomes evaluations, it is important to note that conducting a rigorous and credible ROI analysis is time-consuming, expensive, and requires a high level of expertise in statistical analysis, health services research, econometrics, and benefit plan design. An ideal measure of ROI would be to measure costs and savings associated with each program component separately.

Measuring the value a worksite wellness program delivers is a much better and more easily doable strategy for most employers. Monetary value is just one type of value measure. This broader value view allows the worksite wellness program to be seen in light of the full value it can bring to the employer and the improvement of the target audience’s health and wellbeing.

How to Start a High-Impact Mentoring

Looking to start a mentoring program? That’s great. Mentoring is a proven approach to drive rich learning and development for both mentees and mentors. Mentoring also benefits the sponsoring organization.

For employers, mentoring increases retention, promotion rates, and employee satisfaction. At universities, student mentoring is proven to improve student retention, boost job placement rates, and increase alumni engagement when tapping alumni as mentors.

A thriving, impactful mentoring program is within your reach. But great mentoring programs don’t just happen. They are built through thoughtful planning and sustained commitment to guiding participants through the mentoring process while continually improving the program.

Sound like a lot of work? It can be, but the right tools will make the effort much easier. Mentoring software provides a complete program environment that helps organizations start, manage, and measure all types of mentoring programs.

There are 5 key steps to take when designing and implementing your program:

1. Design your mentoring program.

Successful mentoring programs offer both structure and flexibility. Structure provides participants a mentoring workflow to follow and is critical to help participants achieve productive learning that reaches defined goals. Similarly, flexibility is essential to support varying individual mentoring needs across specific learning goals, preferences, and learning style.

Key design decisions include:

  • Enrollment – is it open, application, or invite only?
  • Mentoring style – can be traditional, flash, reverse
  • Connection type – possibly 1:1, group, or project
  • Connection duration – typically weeks or months, or perhaps even just a single session
  • Community/social aspects beyond formal mentoring, tracking and reporting needs.

2. Attract participants

The best designed mentoring programs won’t get far without effective program promotion, mentor recruitment, and training.

You will need to convince them that participating is worth their time and effort. Beyond participants, key leaders and stakeholders will need to be educated on the benefits of the program and strategic value to the organization. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • Promote the benefits to participants and stakeholders
  • Consider recognition and rewards for participants
  • Provide training and reinforecement throughout the program

3. Connect mentors and mentees

A productive mentoring relationship depends on a good match. Matching starts by deciding which type of matching you’ll offer in your program: self-matching or admin-matching. Consider giving mentees a say in the matching process by allowing them to select a particular mentor or submit their top three choices. Self-matching is administrative light, which in larger programs can be a huge plus.

For more structured programs, such as large groups of new students at universities, or groups of new corporate employees, you may want to get the program started by bulk, or admin-matching.

Matching best practices start with a solid profile for all participants (mentors and mentees). Critical profile elements include development goals, specific topical interests, location, experiences, and matching preferences.

The more you know about your participants, the better chance your participants will have for a great fit and a happy, productive mentoring outcome.

4. Guide mentoring relationships

Now that your participants are enrolled, trained, and matched, the real action begins.

It is also where mentoring can get stuck. Left to themselves, many mentorships will take off and thrive. But some may not. Why? Because mentoring is not typically part of one’s daily routine. Without direction and a plan, the mentoring relationship is vulnerable to losing focus and momentum. That is why providing some structure and guidance throughout the mentorship is vital to a successful mentoring program.

To guide participants:

  • Provide goals and action plans (or check lists or task lists) for the course of the mentorship
  • Provide “help” resources – mentoring best practices
  • Have a formal process that brings closure to the mentoring experience, with opportunity for participant feedback

5. Measure your mentoring program

Mentoring is a significant investment when you consider program management, infrastructure, and the valuable time of participants. Articulating the impact is essential to secure ongoing funding and support. In addition, the measure phase is also focused on assessing program health to identify trouble spots and opportunities.

Mentoring programs should be tracked, measured, and assessed at three altitudes: the program, the mentoring connection, and the individual. To be effective you need the ability to capture metrics and feedback throughout the program lifecycle.

A Word About Tools

Consider your toolset when deploying a mentoring program. If you have more than 100 participants, you may want to consider mentoring software to help run your program. Mentoring software includes intelligent matching capabilities and guided mentoring workflows in an online portal so that you can measure and share program results. If your participant number is under 50, spreadsheets will do just fine to manage your program.

Final Thoughts

As a development strategy, mentoring is one of the most effective methods of long-lasting learning. Running an effective mentoring program goes way beyond just matching people up. For true impact on your organization, it takes effort, resources, and know-how. Follow these 5 steps and you’ll be on your way to implementing a mentoring program that is easy, efficient, and measurable. Good luck!

From Activities To Results

Many worksite wellness programs today are focused only on activities. And you do want to deliver more value, especially results, right?

If you doubt my assertion that too many programs today are focused only on activities, then just look over the postings to the worksite wellness groups on LinkedIn and you will frequently see questions posted from group members looking for ideas as to the next type of programming or intervention they should offer. This certainly suggests to me that their efforts are not based on the identified needs arising from any sort of organizational assessment, but more just a series of activities.

So what are the differences between activities based and results based programs? The following should help you differentiate the differences.

Activity Based

Activity based programs can be identified by:

There is no identified business need for the program.

There is no assessment of the program’s performance.

There are no specific measurable goals and objectives.

No specific participant results are shared with the participants nor are they expected to achieve any specific results.

No effort is made to prepare the work environment to support any type of healthy lifestyle change. The program’s focus is exclusively on the individual employee.

The wellness program makes no effort to collaborate with or to build partnerships with other key internal program managers or any external resources either.

There is no monitoring, tracking or measurement of results or any type of cost-benefit analyses.

Any program planning conducted is focused solely on program inputs.

Little or no reporting about the program occurs.

Results Based

In contrast, results based programs can be identified by:

There being a clear link to and deliberate attention to specific business needs identified through a comprehensive, organization-wide needs assessment. The program is also clearly aligned with the business’ goals, philosophies and practices.

The effectiveness of many, if not all, interventions and activities are assessed. Performance assessment is a hallmark of the program.

Each intervention and activity has specific, identified goals and objectives. Specific goals and objectives are also in place for the organizational impact.

Expected participant results are communicated to all participants.

The wellness program works to prepare the organizational environment to support and promote employee lifestyle change.

Collaboration and the establishment of partnerships are established with other key program managers, outside resources and the employees themselves. Collaboration and partnerships are key components of a results based program. Wellness practitioners acknowledge they can’t do it all themselves.

Monitoring, tracking and measurement occur in all aspects of a results based wellness program. Results guide the future change and development. Cost-benefit, cost-effectiveness and ROI type analyses are clearly evident.

Program planning incorporates both strategic and operational type planning, with an emphasis on outcomes.

Reporting on the program occurs widely across the organization and through multiple types of distribution channels.

If your desire is for an effective, successful and sustainable worksite wellness program, I do hope your program’s efforts are results based.

Apply Amazon’s Leadership Principles In Your Worksite Wellness Program Today

A principle is a comprehensive and fundamental doctrine, assumption, law or fact of nature. You do want to be a principle centered leader right? Amazon states that its Leadership Principles are used every day when discussing ideas for new projects, deciding on customer solutions or when interviewing job applicants. But how might these same 14 leadership principles apply to your leadership of your worksite wellness program? Let’s examine each individual principle.

Principle #1: Customer Obsession

As a worksite wellness program coordinator, you serve customers as well. Your customers are the organization as a distinct entity and the organization’s employees. Like Amazon, you too should obsess over your customers.

Principle #2: Ownership

You are the owner of your worksite wellness program. Organizational and employee health and wellbeing are your job. You need to think both short and long-term and establish program value from both perspectives.

Principle #3: Invent and Simplify

The cookie cutter approach does not work in worksite wellness. Each program must be unique to the employer and the needs and wants of its leaders and employees. While being based on an organization-wide assessment, your programming and interventions also need to be innovative and inventive. Even though health, wellness, wellbeing and behavior change are complex issues, you should always be on the lookout for ways you can simplify your program and programming.

Principle #4: Are Right, A Lot

Based on good instincts and sound program design and execution judgement, the programming and interventions you offer should be right, a lot. Your program offerings should be diverse and encompass more than just your own personal beliefs.

Principle #5: Hire and Develop the Best

Employee health and wellbeing strategies should play a key role in your organization’s career development and employee training and development initiatives. If you utilize vendors for any aspect of your program, settle only for the exceptional vendor. Remember that any vendor and their services represent your program.

Principle #6: Insist on the Highest Standards

While the worksite wellness field may not currently have any standards, that does not mean you should not have your own personal, professional standards. Setting high standards for yourself will result in your delivering a high quality program.

Principle #7: Think Big

Establish a bold direction for your program. It should encompass a direction that inspires results for both the organization and employees. Don’t be afraid to think differently than the crowd. Think critically about what you read and hear as you look for ways to better serve the organization and employees.

Principle #8: Bias for Action

Speed matters in business so keep up with your organization’s response to change. Don’t be afraid to experiment with next generation programming, while at the relying on evidence based and accepted best practice programming and interventions.

Principle #9: Frugality

Sadly, most employers still view worksite wellness programs as an expense, rather than an investment. Be frugal and wise with the budget you do get. Maximize the use of existing resources both physical and fiscal. Be resourceful, self-sufficient and inventive.

Principle #10: Learn and Be Curious

The fields of wellness and business are huge. Be a life-long learner. Always be learning and seeking to improve. Be curious about new trends and seek to explore them and their implications for you, your organization and your program. Be sure to read and learn outside your specialty and current expertise.

Principle #11: Earn Trust

Listen attentively, speak candidly and treat others with respect. But yourself in positions where management and employees can come to know, like and trust you. Frequently benchmark yourself and your program against the best.

Principle #12: Dive Deep

Make sure your program addresses the breadth of the wellness dimensions. Be a check of all trades when it comes to the planning, execution and evaluation of your program. Raise questions and challenges when the anecdotes and metrics don’t agree.

Principle #13: Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit

Have the backbone to respectfully challenge decisions and conventional wisdom when you disagree. Too many wellness program practices are instituted because everyone else is doing them, rather than because they are known to really work and that they will work in your case. Be clear and tenacious about your convictions, but be sure to openly listen and consider alternative points of view. Commit to being and delivering the best.

Principle #14: Deliver Results

Far too many worksite wellness programs today don’t deliver results. Be results, not activity, focused and driven. Monitor, measure and evaluate. Be clear about and able to demonstrate the value your program delivers. Know and communicate your results.

Never Fail a Diet and Exercise Program Again

Why do so many diets and fitness program send up in failure? What causes such an alarming rate? Is the program at fault?

Obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Thousands of people are making big plans to change their lifestyle. Diet plans are purchased Gym memberships paid for and yet within a couple of weeks they have given up on both the diet and exercise program! Yes they may not have cancelled the gym membership yet, as they mean to start exercising again soon, maybe!

So What Exactly Goes Wrong?

Why do so many people quit early on? It makes people believe that it is just not worthwhile dieting as they are doomed not to succeed. One of the main reasons for diets failing is because people expect to see results, ‘Fast’. They almost expect to miss a couple of meals and ‘Hey Presto’ as if by magic all of the weight will have miraculously gone.

People have come to expect instant results, a magic pill maybe. The problem is that there are no magic pills available as yet. Not seeing a diet through to its conclusion will result in the diet failing, even worse most people pile the extra pounds on.

MOTIVATION and common sense are needed to get results. Motivation that lasts, you have to have the right mindset. The right approach, the willpower.

Once you realize this and work on your motivation problems first you are more likely to reach your goals and your health and fitness lifestyle will be in the past. You have the motivation, deep inside you. You can do it. Maybe your family or friends will support you and cheer you on. This will help increase your motivation.

So when you hear of people failing with their diets and exercise programs, realize that it is not the program that is failing them. They are failing. Their motivation has failed them.

Motivation and Staying The Course

It is most likely that your motivation will be the deciding factor in your diet. You have to stay focused determined and motivated to the end. Getting support from family, friends and professionals will all help to keep you motivated but, at the end it really is up to you to change your lifestyle around.

If you are overweight or clinically obese and wanting to shed the weight, you have to take responsibility and stick to, ‘The Plan’. Eat the right diet, do not snack and follow a good exercise routine. You will also need a good eight hours of sleep each and every day as well.

Try keeping your mind focused on the desired end result. Believe in yourself. Believe that you can do it. Think about the end results and how you will feel when you achieve your goal. Your efforts won’t seem as difficult then. It will be easier to stay motivated and focused on your goals if you start thinking like this. Become the person that you have always wanted to be. Succeed with your diet and you will probably find a more confident you waiting at the end. A person that knows that they can finish what they started. They can reach their goals.

Choose a Diet And Exercise Program That Suits You.

Do not just jump into a diet program blindfolded. Make sure to choose the right program as this will give you a huge advantage of reaching your goals.

The health and fitness industry have become saturated with weight loss programs, some good, some bad. The reason for this is because so many people are lacking the determination and fail miserably only to end up blaming the program. They then move on to the next diet program expecting an, ‘Easy Fix’ and yes the same thing happens. Without the right mindset and the continued motivation people end up purchasing diet plan after diet plan. The diet industry is not going to let you into their secret. They do not want you to realize that it is you that is lacking the determination, the willpower to succeed, the hunger, the motivation. Yes it is a hard slog but it is worth it. You know that. Trouble is, the diet industry wants to sell diets and sell diets they will. Thousands and thousands of pounds are being spent and if you are not careful, you will end up in this never ending vicious circle that is probably helping you to gain even more weight!

It can become complicated to find a diet and exercise plan that suits you. Researching for a viable dieting program that will help you reach your weight loss and fitness goals can take a time as there are so many available.

There are so many self confessed, ‘Experts’ out there that will lead you to dieting products that they know nothing about. They only know that they will receive a commission if they sell it!

One of the best things to do is to make sure that you research exactly what type of diet it is and does the exercise program suit you.

If you have any health problems or are obese you really do need to get sound advice from a doctor. He will may well be able to suggest a plan that will not only be good for you but, safe to follow!

Your local library might be able to help. They have dieting and exercise books on their shelves and if you take my tip, you will walk to the library if it is close enough and you are able to. This will be good exercise for you.

Researching both on and off line will give you a good idea of what to expect from a diet and workout plan. Remember do not let it scare you and stay motivated.

Online forums are a great place. You can talk to like minded people and get the support that you need to succeed. People will also be able to explain what diets they have tried and maybe recommend one. Be careful though. Some of the people on there are not after losing weight, they are simply there to peddle diet books that they are affiliated to! Most of them know nothing about the diet and have not tried it out for themselves. So be forewarned, stay diligent and do your homework. Do not just accept the advice off the first person that you interact with. Make a note and research the product further if possible.

Try and find out exactly what it takes to achieve your goals using the each program that you are researching. Think about what you will have to do, how much time you will have to devote, whether you are capable of doing what is expected of you, what equipment will you be expected to use, what kind of results should you expect and how soon can you expect results. Answering these questions will help you to decide on the right diet and exercise program for you. One that has a better chance of succeeding, all you need to do is add yourself, your motivation and determination. Speaking with a qualified person will help to steer you in the right direction but again, don’t let their enthusiasm steer you in the wrong direction. The diet and exercise program may well be a great one but, if it includes foods that you do not like and exercises that you just can’t do, then its’ going to be useless for you. You are doomed before you start. So research, research and then have a good think about all of the programs benefits and minuses before making your final choice.

Easy Does It!

Do not rush into your new exercise program and overdo it. You will probably end up in pain or worse, you might injure yourself. You need to start at a slow pace. ‘Take it Easy’ and work your way up slowly over a few days or a couple of weeks maybe.

As your fitness levels increase along with your confidence you will soon be able to complete a full workout. Take advise from staff at the gym if possible. They are the experts. They are trained, so that they can offer good advice, so take note of it.

Work your way up to each level is the best way. Maybe you should start with a brisk walk for 20 to 30 minutes on your first day. Each week you can add five minutes to this until you reach your 1 hour bench mark. Starting at too difficult of a level will leave you believing that you can’t make it, that you can’t reach your goals. You will soon give up. So do not make the mistake of overdoing it.

The same goes for your diet as well. Don’t give up all of your favorite foods all at once. As this is liable to depress you and will cause massive cravings for unhealthy foods. Depression will also hinder your weight loss plan as when you are depressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone is known as the stress hormone and will weaken your body and mind. This hormone could well dampen your enthusiasm and you will help you to give up your plan sooner.

You could start by treating yourself with a few of the unhealthy foods that you currently enjoy eating. Then slowly give one up each week until you end up with only your healthy diet remaining. Even if you are eating a perfectly strict diet, you should still treat yourself with one meal that you enjoy each week. We like to call it a treat meal. It is your treat, your reward for sticking to your diet and will give you something to look forward to.

You need to ease yourself into your new long term fitness program, you shouldn’t start drastically all at once. Start slowly and continually build up momentum. Soon your body will adapt and you will be able to perform the tougher workouts and adhere to the new size portions that your diet demands. This will help you to stay on the course and will not shock your body to its’ core.

Do not expect to simply lose fat from the areas that you want. You will most likely lose fat slowly and evenly from all over your body. Many people are under the illusion that focusing their exercise on a particular part of their body will cause all of the weight to come of from that ‘Spot’. This is not true.

I have seen males doing hundreds of crunches, concentrating on their ‘Six Pack’ day after day. Hour after hour in the hope that they will end up with a well sculpted ‘Six Pack’. Not so, you can Crunch none stop for 24 hours per day and it simply will not happen. Not until you have got your overall body fat down to around 10% or less. Try telling them, they won’t listen.

Make sure that you realise this and simply focus on other techniques that will help to burn the fat quicker. If you really want to look good in your swimwear you will need to concentrate on burning the fat and building lean muscle. Dieting without exercising may help you to lose weight but it gets rid of lean muscle as well as fat. The biggest problem with this is that when you stop dieting you will start to put weight on. This weight is all fat and not muscle. So you have lost good lean muscle only to end up replacing it with fat!

It can be a good thing to concentrate on different parts of your body each day. This will allow you to work out different parts of your body that have not had much exercise for a few days. This will allow parts of your body to rest whilst you are still exercising another part of your body!

It is so easy to overwork yourself and find that you are barely able to move the next day. This will cause you to quit your fitness program. Take it slow and avoid this problem. Realise that this is not the fault of the program it is the way that you have chosen to approach it.

Friends and Family

Keeping yourself motivated is the best way of ensuring that you stick with your chosen fitness program. What better way than getting a member of your family or a friend to join the gym and follow your fitness program as well.

Failing this you can make friends at the gymnasium. This way your new friend is already working out at the gym and much more likely to keep going, if they have already been a member for a reasonable time. This will increase your motivation and help you to focus even more on your exercise program.

If you exercise on your own you are more liable to get bored and disillusioned. Whereas working out with friends will encourage a bit of healthy competition. See who can lose the most weight and be accountable to each other. You won’t want to let your partner down and will find that you look forward to exercising with your friend/s.

Try and get your friends involved with your diet plan. Create a Buzz an interest and they will help to push you towards your goal. Do not worry if your friends want to mock you at first. This will still help you as long as you take their mockery in the right spirit. Use their teasing to build a raging fire inside you that makes you want to prove them wrong. Your friends will be keeping you motivated even when they don’t realize that they are doing it.

You will find that whilst you are around your friends you will put off eating the wrong foods and will want to further impress them with your diet.

Believe me friends can be a tremendous help when it comes to sticking to an exercise program. They help create a feeling in you that makes you want to stay with your health program even if they don’t comment on it.

Measuring Success

Keep a record of your results and how you have progressed as this will help to keep you highly motivated. Even if the results are minimal it will let you see that you are one step closer to attaining your goals and are becoming the person that you want to be.

Measure yourself at the beginning of a workout. Weigh yourself and work out your BMI. How far can you run before tiring? This will keep you up to date with how you are benefiting with your new lifestyle.

It will excite and motivate you if you can actually measure the benefits of your diet and fitness plan. You will not notice results each and every week. As time goes by and you lose weight it will slow down and eventually seem as though your weight loss has come to a standstill.

Treat yourself as a reward, this will help to keep you on track and motivated. Healthy treats will be best. You could reward yourself with a trip when you have lost a certain weight. Especially if it is a walking trip or includes some form of exercise.

Do not treat yourself with food. This could be disastrous, people often think of food when a treat is mentioned. Usually a unhealthy food treat. You need to distance yourself as far as possible from unhealthy food and try to stop thinking about it.

Looking in the mirror at a new you will soon have you motivated and you will be able to congratulate yourself. Taking photos will allow you to see how you look at different stages of your diet. You will soon realize that you are well on your way to reaching your goals.

A new smaller outfit will soon be needed and maybe a pair of jeans. This will keep your motivation all fired up. You will soon want to push even harder to reach your goals. Just make sure that you do not push too hard. Remember build on the pace slowly.

Of course you will have days when you feel a little down, ‘You can’t go on’! This is where your Motivation should kick in. Get down the gym and use your motivation to Motivate, Motivate you!

Most people do not stop exercising at the gym because it is to hard, they quit because they simply do not want to go to the gym. They can’t be bothered. Skip one day and you will skip another. Do not do it. Drag yourself down to the gym and complete those set exercises. You will feel better once you are there. You have got to break a lifelong habit. Make it your habit to exercise.

You will find that if you drag yourself down to the gym that you will probably end up d=completing a full workout and you will feel better within yourself. “Go on You can do it”!

Fitness Program Failure

Many people feel that the fitness program that they are following won’t work. They feel that maybe they will not attain the results that they want. These feelings can easily get you to give up your goals if you let them. You need to take a positive approach to your exercise program. Keep your mind focused on all of the benefits that your exercise program offers you. Giving up now will make it easier to give up next time. You will probably find yourself blaming the program and not yourself. Do not go down this road otherwise you may find yourself stuck with the belief that these programs do not work.

Just think about the benefits. The sexier body, the healthier heart and your improved physical status. This will help to keep you motivated all the way to the end.

You will find that a healthier you will have more confidence and you will begin to feel less lethargic. You will find that you can spend more quality time with people around you. Wouldn’t you like to see your children grow up. Even play a larger part in their life and maybe their children’s (Your Grandchildren) lives.

This all comes down to your perseverance and motivation. You want a healthier life. You want to look your best. You want to be a little more mobile.

DO NOT GIVE UP.

STAY FOCUSED.

STAY MOTIVATED

ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

NOBODY CAN STOP YOU. ONLY YOU!!

Follow your diet and your exercise program for long enough and let it become your way of life for as long as you can. Fight for your fitness and well being. Fight until, there is no fight left, until you can go on no longer. Achieve what you once believed impossible and take it even further.

Your family and friends will be amazed. Some may even be a little jealous and wish that they had the Grit and Determination to reach their goals.

How to Know When It’s Time to Add a Program or Service

We met in our satellite location, at 7:00 p.m., to prepare for our first class meeting. The class leader had cleaned, decorated, made beautiful snacks, set out chairs and prepared an array of resources for participants. The room was set up and the instructor was ready to start a new program/service for the organization. It was exciting to think of all the people we could help, and accomplish our goal of starting a support group.

Around 7:30 it was clear that no one was going to show up. We sat there in silence wondering why no one would come. Is it because the issue we were dealing with was too personal or that our community just didn’t want to deal with it? That was some of the initial thinking as to why this program didn’t get off the ground.

This happened during my first year of being an Executive Director. I was happy to support volunteers and their dreams of providing a service they had always wanted. We made a flyer, mailed it out, purchased materials, got our room ready, and waited in anticipation for eager participants to arrive.

I learned, later, that there is much more that needs done before we move forward with adding new programs or services to our nonprofit. If the program or service is really that important it will be worth the time we spend preparing to launch a new effort. Below are some tips that I would encourage you to consider. I believe if you do, your program will enjoy more success.

    • Develop a Budget. Each program and service should have its own budget. Simply make a list of what is needed to run that program and estimate what your cost will be for each line item. Even if you have volunteer staff, estimate what it would cost to pay them if you could, and include that in the budget. Include marketing, materials, facility cost, development, training, staff and anything else that is used to allow you to offer this program or service.

    • Staff. The person developing the program is not necessarily the person who staffs the program. Think about what your program would look like if it was running exactly like you hope for. If you are a part of management, you don’t need to be running the program. Who can run your program successfully, and allow you to do the job you were hired for?

    • Evaluations. How will you know if your program is successful? When people are helped? If that is your answer then you might want to think that through a little more. When we write grants and fundraise for an organization we need to be able to tell donors and granting organizations how much our program costs, what resources we need to run it and what, exactly, our program will look like if we are successful. Even the smallest nonprofit, or grassroots effort, can take the time to think through what a successful program looks like, develop goals to gauge success and ways to evaluate effectiveness.

    • Board Support. The board I worked for approved every new program and service we started. They approved starting a thrift store, moving the organization, adding services and transitioning to a medical clinic. I had their approval, but I can see now that I didn’t have their support. If your board gives you approval you are free to proceed, however, if you have their support your program will be much more effective. You need accountability, a cheerleader, a group promoting your program and helping you fundraise for it. If you don’t have that then don’t move forward until you do.

  • Right timing. Take a mental snapshot of your organization. What does the history of your organization look like? In the larger scheme of what is going on is now the right time to move forward. Have you raised the funds to cover your program budget? How long has it been since you initiated a new event, program or service? Timing is important to the long term success of your organization and your programs and services.

The Need for Quality Childcare Programs

Quality childcare programs are in high demand these days. And because the demand is so high, the childcare industry has become big business. So big that its annual revenue is close to $20 billion, and there are about 21,000 childcare centers nationally that are run by nonprofit organizations with combined annual revenue around $13 billion. Oftentimes, when there is a lot of money to be made, corners tend to get cut and quality products and service suffers because of it. Let’s look at what makes a quality childcare program and the importance of keeping our children safe when parents are working.

The Need for Quality Childcare Programs: Quality Staff

One of the most important factors in the success and quality of care in any program is the relationship between the children left in the care of the program and the staff members who work with these children. Every program whether it is a home based program, independently owned or ran by a nonprofit organization should have a process in place that screens and selects staff and volunteers who are best suited for their program and safe for your children.

Every organization/agency that serves children needs to have a staff and volunteer screening process as part of their hiring practice as this greatly reduces the chance of child abuse. A quality childcare program will make sure that their staff are not a threat to the children that they serve; this may appear to be an obvious practice for any program but sadly, it is not. Quality programs will ensure that all of their staff, including any on-site cooks as well as any maintenance workers or custodians have been thoroughly screened and had background checks completed. This includes conducting and updating driver safety records. Having doing so, lets the parents know that the safety and welfare of the children are their highest concern.

The Need for Quality Childcare Programs: Safe Environments

It is very important to know that the physical structure of any childcare program aides or hinders in the proper protection of the children that they serve. It should be the goal of every program to keep children from situations and circumstances in which they are at increased risk. A quality program should give you a tour of their facility and:

    • Their landscaping should provide unhindered visibility to open areas where children play outside.

    • The play areas are in the open and provide unhindered visibility from multiple locations on the grounds.

  • The program has secured areas not used for program purposes like closets, administrative areas and any kitchen area. The program should have windows installed in doors and closets; this ensures that staff are able to see if a child has gotten into and area and the child is unharmed. It also eliminates an area where a child can be abused or bullied.

These are just a few things that any quality program should have in place. It is very important to make sure that your child or children are in a clean and safe program while you are at work.

The Need for Quality Childcare Programs: Policy and Procedures

Many quality programs have policies and procedures that ensure that the children are safe while in their program. There are some policies that you should be aware of and are required to sign off on. The program should have clearly defined policies and procedures for admitting and releasing children. Does your childcare program have clearly defined policies and procedures for monitoring which people outside of their program are allowed into the program building or on the premises?

The childcare program that wants to provide quality care for your child or children should have a clearly defined policy and procedure for child pick up at the end of the day or special events. It could look like you have to provide a valid ID and sign a sheet before the staff releases your child to you. A well ran program will have a photograph of you or the designated person responsible for picking up the child.

Child abuse is never an issue that any parent wants to have happen to their child or children but, it is an unfortunate reality. It is very important that the program has clearly defined policies and processes regarding investigating allegations or suspected child abuse. They must have clearly defined behaviors and violations that are reported to the appropriate authorities and have a designated contact person for questions and concerns about possible child abuse. A quality childcare program should provide all of their staff and volunteers vital information and training to assist them in the prevention and response to child abuse. The program should make all parents aware of these policies and processes as well as having parents sign off that they are aware of those policies.

These are just a few things that you should be looking for when you are searching for a quality childcare program. Many parents are so focused on what kind of curriculum a program uses that they tend to overlook some vital areas of importance when it comes to quality childcare and safe programs. So, the next time you tour a childcare program; remember some of these key things that indicate whether or not you are evaluating a quality program.

The What and Why of Program Evaluation

You can better manage what you measure. You do want to maximize the management of your wellness program, correct?

The What of Evaluation

Program evaluation is a systematic examination using research methods to collect and analyze data to assess how well what you are doing is working and why. Evaluations answer specific questions about program performance and can also focus on assessing program operations or results. Evaluation results can be used to assess a program’s effectiveness, identify how to improve its performance, or guide future resource allocation.

For evaluation purposes, a program can be defined in various ways such as an activity, project, intervention or initiative. In order to be able to be evaluated though, a program must have an identifiable purpose or set of objectives, as these will be used by an evaluator to assess how well the purpose or objectives were met. Evaluations may also assess whether your efforts had unintended and perhaps undesirable outcomes. An evaluation can assess an entire program or focus on just one activity or intervention. This is important as you may want to evaluate individual activities or interventions to assess how well they are being received or if they are effective.

Program evaluation is closely related to program performance measurement and reporting. Performance measurement is the systematic ongoing monitoring and reporting of program accomplishments, especially progress toward pre-established goals or standards. Performance measures or indicators may address staffing and resources (inputs), the type or level of activities conducted (process), the products or services delivered (outputs), or the results (outcomes) achieved through the use of products and services.

The Why of Program Evaluation

Typically, program evaluation is used to provide accountability for how resources are being used, or to learn how program performance might be improved. Evaluations can also play a key role in strategic planning, program design, program execution and program management by providing feedback to funders and delivery personnel.

It is an important part of every worksite wellness program to periodically report on their activities and results. You can better manage what you measure. Tracking, monitoring and measuring are also important to any type of continuous quality improvement effort.

It is important to also remember that measuring just program outcomes alone may not provide the information you need to properly assess your effectiveness. You want your program’s evaluation strategy to provide as large and detailed picture as possible. You always want to be in a position whereby you can answer the questions senior leaders may ask about the program’s performance.

Program evaluation should not be taken lightly. Evaluating your efforts can go a long way towards making your worksite wellness initiative effective and successful.

Can’t Think of Something to Program?

Reinvent the Wheel

A lot of times, you’ll hear programmers say, “Do not reinvent the wheel”. What they are usually referring to is when an algorithm or application exists for a common problem and there is no need to replicate this. However, when you are first starting to program this can be an insanely helpful task. Programs like “Hello World”, a simple calculator, a timer, and a clock are all relatively easy to complete and plenty of people have made these types of programs, so there are definitely resources online to help you if you get stuck.

Ask Professors

If you are taking a programming course you are most likely being assigned programming problems as part of your course work. However, sometimes this is just is not quite enough. When I was learning how to program in Java, we only had six problems assigned all semester. Granted, these six were big projects, but there were no smaller assignments in between to help consolidate the knowledge we learned in class.

If you are not enrolled in any programming courses and are just learning how to program for fun, you could always try reaching out to a computer science professor and ask them for ideas of what to program, or what they assign in their classes. Also, you could ask any friends who are taking programming courses what they are working on.

Get a Textbook

Most programming or computer science textbooks have a multitude of programming problems and projects within. Along with these assignments also come explanations for the concepts used in each task. Not only will you get an idea of what to program, but you can also learn a thing or two about the programming language that you might not have otherwise. When I took a Visual Basic programming course in college we used a textbook that had about twenty small applications per chapter. At the time I hated how many applications we had to create, but ultimately it helped me become a better program through constant repetition of key concepts and use of the language. The good news is you can probably find some of these textbooks at a library, online, or by borrowing one from a friend.

Write a Program to Do Your Homework

When I took accounting classes, having to write all of our financial statements by hand got to be a grueling process. Eventually, I got tired of it and wrote a program that created income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow statements based off of a variety of inputs. If you are enrolled in a class that requires repetitive tasks, writing a program to help you complete some of these tasks not only saves you time while doing homework or studying, but it also helps you to understand how the concept works at a fundamental level. When I created my financial statement application I no longer made little mistakes when writing the statements on exams, because I had to understand every little part of each of them in order to successfully replicate the process. Any type of math class, physics, chemistry, and finance are also great subjects to write programs for class.

Ask Family and Friends

You would be surprised how many times my friends and family members have come to me with ideas of programs or applications they have come up with. Fortunately for me, they know I am a programmer and usually come to me with the ideas without me having to ask. If you are stuck on what to program, just ask them! It is similar to having writer’s block and asking for ideas on what to write. Usually people have very generic ideas which will help you as a programmer when you have to take a high level description of an application and build an entire foundation under it.

Browse the Internet

When in doubt, Google it. Just by typing in “What to program” into Google’s search bar I received a variety of links to discussion pages, forums, and blogs about what to program. Sometimes universities will post curriculum or assignments to the public, which are easily found using a Google search.

Search Forums

A lot of times when people get stuck on a program or application they turn to a development forum or StackOverflow for help. A good practice is to take their pleas for help and try to solve their issues. While some of these solutions can be extremely difficult to find, and sometimes they are impossible tasks, it is a good place to start. If you cannot figure out how to solve their issue, you have done no harm. If you are cunning enough to supply a solution, you have not only improved your own programming abilities but also helped out someone else!

Challenge Yourself

With the growing trend of Hack-a-thons, more and more programming challenges have begun to surface. Some are for scholarships, some are for bragging rights, and some are actually for money. These challenges are another great way to find new ideas and to continue to improve your skills. Start off by finding the easier challenges that are meant for beginners and work your way to the more intermediate and eventually advanced challenges.

The A+ Programming Language

The programming world, is very vast, and you have to do a lot of research, in order for you to be able to grasp, any programming language in its entirety.

You will also find out very early, in your journey to becoming a great programmer, that there are many programming languages out here, which are necessary for you to learn; if of course you would like to be a great programmer and create that great application that you’ve always wanted to create.

In today’s article we are going to talk about the A+ programming language and all its important features.

A+ is said to be a descended of the A programming language, so if you know about the A programming language, you will have some type of idea of what A+ programming language, is really all about.

I don’t want us to get confused here, so I should mention that A+ is also a name used for an IT certification, which many individuals who would like to become a computer technician, pursue to further their careers.

The knowledge of the A+ certification, will definitely help you with your job, if you are a computer technician.

When you decide to obtain an A+ certification, you will be able to troubleshoot, maintain, customize, repair, install and help people with their computers.

You are going to be an awesome person, to many people when you are able to utilize your knowledge, to help them solve their computer problems, so that they are able to use their computers, to do their job.

However, in order for you to be able to get there, you do have to have, some type of valuable knowledge on your own about computers; in order for you to bring some real, sound contribution to someone’s life, by fixing their computer.

When you obtain an A+ certification, it will help you to be a valuable person to someone fast, you will also be on your way to be an awesome person to other people for real.

Anyhow we are here to speak about the programming side of A+ and that is what we are going to do.

First of all, A+ as we mentioned before is a descendent of the “A” programming language, it was created by Arthur Whitney in 1988 at Morgan Stanley.

The purpose of A+ was to provide its users, applications that are considered to be useful in the business world, because these same applications are developed in computational-intensive business environment.

In 1992 an A+ development group was formally created to upgrade and maintain this programming language.

The plus in the A+ programming language name, is referring to the electric graphical user interface, which means that you won’t have to just use a command prompt or a terminal, because there is a GUI that you can use to accomplish, the development your business applications, with A+ programming language.

A+ offers advantages, of an interpreter in a fast-paced development arena, it also offers an admirable floating point performance, which helped this programming language become the language of choice when it came down to fixed income applications for the business industry.

A+ is a programming language that is for actual programmers, and for those programmers who are dedicated, to creating software and website applications.

If you are the kind of programmer, that code just for fun, then you should definitely get you a copy of the A+ programming language, so that you can easily start to program.

You can easily obtain a copy of the A+ programming language, if you do a simple online search, you won’t have to pay for it either, because it is freely available under the GNU General Public License.

If you are a beginner and are now just starting to learn A+, don’t hesitate to do your research, to gain more knowledge and information, so that you are able to program, with this great programming language, because A+ is for those who are just beginners as well.

A+ has many useful features, such as dynamic loading of user, compiled subroutines, and a modern graphical user interface with many widgets.

The A+ programming language also has an automatic synchronization of widgets and variables, and finally but not least, it also has an asynchronous execution of functions associated with variable and events.

A+ also offers extensions, which are used for graphical user interface and inter-process communications, as well as a module for storing and loading objects such as functions, variables and dependencies.

A+ also offers an extension for built-in database systems, so that you are able to manage your databases, using the A+ programming language.

You can also implement a spreadsheet in A+, if you would like to accomplish things with a spreadsheet within your application development.

A+ has a good graphical display capability; therefore, you would be able to visualize your data on that spreadsheet using A+ without any major problems.

If you do encounter some problems, visualizing your graphical data on A+, then know and understand, that your knowledge about A+ is limited, and you need to do more research in order to be able to completely master the A+ programming language, and have the ability to properly use the graphical display capability of A+.

The language also includes a special font to properly display special characters, and it uses a healthy subset of hieroglyphs, which you can also find in APL.

A Programming Language (APL) is one of the first programming languages, which was created with the invention of the computer.

APL was created for mathematics, with an emphasis on array processing.

We will talk more about the APL programming language on other article posts, for right now let’s focus on A+.

It would be helpful to mention though, that APL inspired the creation of A+, because A+ is an array programming language as well, which was created more than 20 years ago, with the help of APL and the A programming language.

The need of real-life financial computations are met with A+, which is used to develop applications, which are used in computationally-intensive business environment.

A+ is only found in UNIX operating system, because the interpreter-based execution environment of A+ is implemented in C.

Although, the core A+ interpreter, which does not include a GUI or an IPC, have been ported to Microsoft Windows.

A+ is truly a powerful and unique language, because it draw, most of its features from APL and A programming language.

The same primitives with a very similar syntax are used in A+; but the security found in A+, is much better and a good implementation of A+, is more efficient, than any APL system that is currently online.

One of the advantages, which you would find in A+, is that you can find some extensions, such as a graphical user interface and inter-process communication, as well as a modules for storing and loading objects (functions, variables, and dependencies), and even a built-in database system, within the A+ system.

This means that you can define auxiliary functions, inside a module, which would not be accessible to the outside world, to develop your application with the A+ programming language.

Variables, can also be defined within modules, which would allow the module to track the internal state of the module.

A more secure style of programming is achieved, through these features; which essentially allow users to write, good structured programs.

If you are the type of programmer, who does not have a style of programming just yet, you will find your style with A+, once you start to use this programming language.

Self-discipline is a key feature in writing good code as well, you have to be able to follow directions and pay attention to details.

When you don’t follow directions and pay attention to details, then any bug may enter your code, and it could take you forever to find out where the bug is within your code.

Finding a bug within your code, could take hours or even days, in the worst case scenario, making your life a living hell.

The A+ programming language is an array programming language at a high-level model, which gives programmers access to entire sets of data, so that they are able to easily manipulate their data.

As a programmer, you don’t have to resort to loops to manipulate individual data found on an array.

A+ is an array oriented programming language, which puts data together; unlike object oriented programming language, which uses loops to decompose data, to its constituent parts.

Needless to say, through programming, you will find a great way to learn new things in computing, and learn about the technology that we use every day.

However, you do need to continue to upgrade your skills, so that you are able to become, who you want to be in the programming arena.

Anyways, back to the fact of the matter, A+.

In A+ the individual elements of an array argument, can be applied independently to a primitive scalar, which is one of the primitive functions of A+.

A primitive scalar can be applied to an entire array, so that it provides a syntactically efficient and implicit control structure.

Ordinary arithmetic functions, certain mathematical function, and logical tactics as well as comparison functions, are all part of the scalar primitives in A+.

Let me say that again in case you missed it, mathematical functions, logical functions, comparison functions and ordinary arithmetic functions are some of the scalar primitives found in A+.

Each individual element of an array in A+, can be affected by the scalar primitives, which is the main purpose of scalar primitive.

Also, scalar primitive can not only manipulate each element of an array in A+; but it can also have full control of an entire array.

Developers who are using A+ can use this feature to control an array very efficiently and write a very sophisticated programming code.

I hope you know of each of the functions we just mentioned and what do they do or how they function.

But, if you don’t let’s talk about them a bit here at King Info Life, and you let us know what you think.

Mathematical functions are similar to a machine that has an input and an output.

Mathematical functions are not bound to a set of numbers only, mathematical functions can be used for all sets of numbers, such as complex numbers, decimals, real numbers and even other functions.

Unlike mathematical functions, which can be used for any set of numbers, arithmetic functions are only found to be utilized with whole numbers only.

I hope you are able to make the connection between mathematics and computers, because mathematics, is one of the reasons why we are able to create our technology today.

Logical functions are your conditional statements you will often see in programming; such conditional statements is: if (this) {then… that} else {do… nothing}, it has to make sense, because it is using logic.

If the condition doesn’t make any sense, then your code will not work properly, and you may spend hours trying to fix it.

So make sure that your conditions make sense, before you use them within your code, to save you a headache.

Comparison functions, are used to compare arrays, within the A+ programming language, as well as each member of the array.

The comparison functions test elements of an array, to analyze if they are equal to each other, or not equal to each other; also to analyze if one array element is greater than the other array element and to figure out, if an element is between two elements of an array.

Alright, now let’s talk about another type of primitive function called structural functions; which is used in A+ programming language, mainly to rearrange the indices of its arguments.

In this case it receives an argument or any kind of an array, which can be rearranged, however the user may want the elements of an array to be rearranged.

For example if you would like to shuffle an array, then you would use a structural function to accomplish this task.

Another type of primitive function is the specialized function, which is used by a developer, to be able to sort arrays and invert matrices.

In other words, the array would be changed completely, giving your new array a whole new structure, because it is a different array.

In order to have very good abilities in understanding how to study any subject, you have to have a clear head.

You need to let the spirit of The Most High power guide you through this deceptive world.