From the Inside Up: Positive Practices that Elevate You and Your Workplace!

  • 17 Nov 2021
  • 12:00 PM (GMT)
  • 18 Nov 2021
  • 1:00 PM (GMT)

Practical Strategies that Create Empowerment Superstars in Your Organization without C-Suite Power

About this event

Do you wake up in the morning excited to come to work? Are you recognized for your contribution where you work? Do you work in an environment that supplies professional development opportunities on a regular basis? Are you valued as an employee? As a person? Do you feel part of the company where you work? Do you leave work with a sense of accomplishment? It would be wonderful if we all could answer yes to these questions. But sadly, this is not always the case. 

Please join us on Wednesday, November 17th at noon E.T. as we discuss our new book and the positive difference it can make in your work life!

Despite the flood of books on business leadership and about creating a positive and dynamic corporate culture — directed for the most part at decision makers in the C-Suite — too many employers still fall short of the mark. These advice books often have a negligible impact on the work lives of those on the front lines or essential employees. Yet front-line staff make up the largest demographic in today’s workforce. The Upskill Initiative counts “24 million Americans as front-line workers” And according to Harvard Business Review front-line staff compose “as much as 80% of the workforce.” Front-line staff are identified as those essential workers and service employees who have helped so many in our country and around the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the purposes of this book, we define front-line staff as the people who make an organization run efficiently. They are the ones who must implement all the initiatives that top management hands down. They may be the first people you see when you walk through the doors of a business, the person who checks you in or out for an appointment, or they may be the customer service rep working in an office far from view who has both internal (company) and external (client) customers. They may also be the radiologist who takes your x-ray; the medical assistant who takes your vital signs; or even the ambulance driver who transports you to the hospital. It is the person who helps you with your financial transactions at a bank; the person who greets you when you step on the plane, train, or automobile; the person who retrieves your bags from the plane; the administrative assistant in a research office; the salesperson in a retail store; and your favorite baristas at your local coffee shop. While their titles and descriptions are many, these are the people who make organizations run! Even as business becomes more automated with more robotics in the workplace, front-line staff will continue to be critical to any organization. If you fit any of the job descriptions above — especially if you’ve experienced some of the less-than-pleasant scenarios we’ve referred to — this book is written specifically for you! 

You do not have to feel powerless at work. You can change situations for the better. The fact that you don’t have the power of the C-suite doesn’t mean you lack any power in both your personal and your work life. 

The average person spends more waking hours working than they do anything else. And that’s why we believe strongly that the work environment should be a place where employees are valued and shown that they are a necessary part of the entire team, department, and organization. We are passionate about helping this group of people — you — to find ways to enhance your work life. Why? Because we have been there! We have experienced firsthand what it is like to work in the trenches — we remember the treatment we received, how we were looked at, and what was expected of us. Combined, we have more than 40 years of experience in nonmanagerial positions in both for-profit and nonprofit industries such as manufacturing, retail sales, consulting, medical administration, and education. In addition, we have years of life experience to draw from. 

We have each worked our way up in the ranks of our careers. We’ve seen what works, and we know what doesn’t. Some workplaces are so focused on output that they (and their upper management) forget that we are all people first. Our goal is to provide you with tools, encouragement, and support to help you spend your workdays thriving, not just surviving, with positive business practices. 

You may be also asking right now, what does “positive business” mean? It is a term that has become more current in both the business and academic world during the last 15 years. Even though the definition is consistent, it is a term mostly heard in corporate boardrooms and applied to those in senior management. In this book, our focus is the front-line and essential staff, and for us “a positive business” defines a workplace that supports its workers at all levels, a place where employees feel valued, respected, and recognized. This is not a Pollyannish view, but one backed by research that is truly attainable. This kind of business has a positive effect on an organization.

You may be surprised to know that for most workers feeling valued and being able to contribute to their department/organization/world is more important than money. Of course, we need money to live our lives, but financial compensation is not the primary driving force for front-line workers or anyone else. Human beings are relational. Engaging, energizing, and psychologically enriching this group of workers will not only affect the corporate culture but will also benefit the bottom line.

There’s a health benefit as well. Toxic workplaces (similar to those described above) can cause significant damage on one’s well-being. 

The lack of social integration (where everyone in the organization is on the same page) is as significant a risk factor for your health as smoking, excessive alcohol, and lack of physical activity. 

We end the book with two separate toolboxes. Since this book focuses on front-line and essential staff, we have a toolbox designed specifically for you. Additionally, some inquisitive managers would like to know how they can assist their staff in additional ways. Therefore, we have provided a manager’s toolbox to expand their knowledge and capabilities. However, both can be shared between groups.

In FROM THE INSIDE UP: Positive Practices that Elevate You and Your Workplace! we offer suggestions filled with real-world examples, helpful ideas, life stories (what happens in life affects our work lives as well), and concrete ways that can change your workplace and your life. We provide you with four building blocks (or, as we call them, fuses) to create and sustain a positive business workplace. Each FUSE of the group builds unique strengths that can be used independently. They can stand alone like a single segment of a rocket. However, collectively, these four fuses create an acceleration to an engaged, energized, thriving, and successful workforce. They lead to an explosion of positive benefits that fall onto those who light all the FUSEs.

The FUSEs 

1. Forging a Positive Workplace—The three chapters in Part I each address the hallmarks of a positive work climate: compassion, forgiveness, and gratitude. You might be asking why cover these in a business book? These words are seldom, if ever, heard in the workplace, especially for those on the front lines. But they subtly (and not so subtly) have a huge effect. Through real-life examples, we demonstrate what each of these attributes looks like and how you can apply them to your professional and personal lives.

2. The Upside of Change—Many of us like to stay in our safe place. After all, change can be scary. The two chapters in Part II address our reactions to change, as well as our fears. We explore the “why” of change and explore the benefits associated with it; a major problem or concern for many of us is dealing with change. In this section, we offer some suggestions on how to move forward. Finally, we talk about being a change agent, we describe what that is, and provide examples of how to become one. As a front-line staff member, you, can make a positive difference!

3. A Strengths-Based Approach—Part III emphasizes a strengths-based approach for front-line workers. That doesn’t mean we ignore weaknesses; instead, we focus on what happens in the workplace when we enhance people’s strengths. We begin by describing the importance of learning as an individual and understanding what your mission/purpose, vision, and values are. We follow that up by describing a learning team and organization. We end this section with a chapter focused on dealing with issues. Whether you have a well-functioning working environment or a not, having tools to deal with the day-to-day situations one encounters, is vital.

4. Engage in High-Quality Connections—Part IV focuses on high-quality connections, the brief encounters we have that light us up and inspire us to act. For example, these can take place when we walk into work from the parking lot, get into an elevator, attend a meeting, or answer the phone. Using the pathways of respectful engagement, task enabling, work, and play, we describe how to make our interactions high quality. When we do, our health can improve (physiologically and psychologically) and we increase job satisfaction. 

Please join us on Wednesday, November 17th at noon E.T. as we discuss our new book and the positive difference it can make in your work life!


Author's bios: 

Sometimes called, "The Change Guru," Kimberley Barker, Ph.D. received her doctorate in Organization Development from Benedictine University. She also has her MBA and BSBA from Hawai'i Pacific University. She has taught at the University level since 2010. She has also spent five years in Human Resources and over 15 years in Hospital Administration. She has been the recipient of the Beryl Institute Scholar Grant and is currently serving as the Vice President of the International Society for Organization Development and Change (ISODC). She has been published in both Scholarly and Practitioner publications. Her research interests include Living One's Best Life at Work, Global Organization Development, Cultural Competence and Dilemma Reconciliation, Gender Equality in Organizations, and Servant-Humble-Compassionate-Lean Leadership. Dr. Barker may be contacted at and also via her YouTube page at

Kimberley's LinkedIn profile

Mary Ceccanese is the owner and principal consultant of Dynamic Connections LLC – a company that focuses on creating an engaged, energized workforce through positive business practices. Mary engages workshop attendees with research-based practices applied to work-life scenarios that can be immediately used in their day-to-day life. She has a BA in Human Resource Administration and has worked at the University of Michigan for more than thirty years. Mary may be contacted at 

Mary's LinkedIn profile

Combined, the authors have over 40 years in non-managerial positions. They know first-hand what it is like to work in the trenches. Having said that, we have each worked our way up in the ranks of our careers and are passionate about helping those who are currently embarking on the journey. In addition, combined, we have over 20 years in managerial experience and possess a better understanding of their roles as they relate to front-line staff. They are in a unique position to provide opportunities for their team to enhance their lives, both professionally and personally.

Please join us on Wednesday, November 17th at noon E.T. as we discuss our new book and the positive difference it can make in your work life! 

This event is sponsored by the International Society for Organization Development and Change. For more information go to or click on the following link...International Society for Organization Development & Change

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