March 14, 2007

January 23rd Blog


This blog marks our 16th issue of the Entrepreneurial Alternatives Newsletter and our first issue of 2007. I would personally like to thank so many of you who have sent us so many wonderful letters of encouragement along the way. I am delighted to see that we are connecting with the pulse of our readership. In upcoming issues, we will continue to provide you with important news and information about economic self-sufficiency and empowerment. We invite you to send us specific questions about your businesses and their development so that we can answer them in the Dear Dr. House column.

In this edition, we provide you with 10 Strategies to Use to Enhance Workforce Productivity, our "Dear Dr. House" section of the newsletter, and a special press release regarding the 3rd Health Legacy of Cleveland Award and Scholarship Dinner to be held on Sunday, April 29, 2007. I am delighted to serve as the Chairwoman of the Health Legacy of Cleveland Development Committee. Health Legacy of Cleveland is an organization that focuses attention on eradicating health disparities between African Americans and other groups in this country and they are also working diligently to increase the number of African Americans who attend medical and dental school. I would like to salute one of the graduates of the Entrepreneurial Academy, Ms. Stephanie Howse, for receiving the Rising Star Award from the YWCA.

Quote of the Week

"It takes money to make money."

---Dr. Bessie House---
Kent State University

10 Strategies to Enhance Workforce Productivity and Efficiency
by Dr. Bessie House

We now live in a time period of unprecedented workforce volatility and unpredictability. What this simply means is that the American workforce has dramatically changed from what it was several decades ago. While in the not too distant past, workers could be assured of long-term employment opportunities with firms in which they were allowed to grow and experience upward mobility over time, our current workplace environments are now characterized by frequent downsizing of companies and their employees by domestic and multinational corporations, the outsourcing of many jobs to other countries where workers will perform the work for lower wages, and an overall lack of job security for men and women of the 21st century.

Through the years, I have hired a number of employees to work in our centers and I have given several job references for some of them who moved on to other positions for a variety of reasons. As I have received calls from their prospective employers, I have been asked many questions about the types of jobs they performed in our offices, the quality and quantity of their work performed, their ability to work under pressure, and many other questions. But, by far, the most important of these questions has been whether, if given the opportunity, I would hire these individuals back. For me, that is indeed, the most important question. If the employer can enthusiastically answer this question in the affirmative without any hesitation whatsoever, it is a good sign that the employee was successful in his/her previous job assignment. If the employer cannot answer in the affirmative, it suggests to the listener that perhaps there was a disconnect between the job description of the employee and his/her ability to adequately perform the work to a satisfactory degree.

In the next few editions of Entrepreneurial Alternatives, we will provide 10 strategies that can be used to enhance workforce productivity and efficiency in the 21st century. In this edition of the blog, we provide strategies numbers 1 through 6.

Strategy 1. Make sure that you hire individuals that bring value to your organization. During the interview phase and when checking employee references, it is important to ask questions that are behavioral in nature in order to elicit information about particular skills and talents the prospective employees have and actual accomplishments they had in their prior jobs. Ideally, there should be a match between the skill sets that prospective employees have and the job description that has been developed by the director of the organization. Remember that the gap between these two areas will have to be bridged in ongoing training sessions for the employees.

Strategy 2. Make sure that you give new employees thorough training sessions. With the wide diversity of skill sets currently available in the current workforce, the best rule of thumb is to assume nothing when it comes to prior background of potential employees. It will therefore, be necessary to reiterate what your expectations of your employees are with a realistic timetable for their learning curves.

Strategy 3. Hold ongoing staff meetings where employees are given a micro level analysis with regard to their individual jobs and assignments as well as a macro-level analysis in terms of showing them the "big picture" of the organization and how each person and unit fits into the overall scheme. Remember, that no organization can be stronger than its weakest link.

Strategy 4. Make sure that your employees are given every available opportunity to improve their skill sets. This can be done by encouraging them to attend professional improvement workshops and various conferences where they can acquire the latest information and strategies that can be used in their various job assignments.

Strategy 5. We live in a world of vast technological development. Make sure that your staff are provided with opportunities to learn about how to use their computers effectively and how to use internet technology. Many companies are also moving from the use of physical copies of reports to keeping their records online. Make sure that all employees are skilled in knowing how to access online invoicing systems as well.

Strategy 6. Develop a thorough and detailed employee manual for your organization and make this manual available to your staff. This manual should be as detailed as possible listing down the rules and regulations of your organization as well as the penalties that will incur if certain behaviors take place. This information should be covered several times in ongoing staff meetings to ensure that everyone is knowledgeable about the operations of the organization.

Tune into the next blog, where the final four strategies to enhance workforce productivity and efficiency will be announced.
The third annual Health Legacy of Cleveland (HLC) Award and Scholarship Dinner will be held on Sunday, April 29, 2007.

The third annual Health Legacy of Cleveland (HLC) Award and Scholarship Dinner will be held on Sunday, April 29, 2007, at 6 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. The event is held annually to raise awareness for the importance of diversity in medicine and dentistry in Northeast Ohio.

Cleveland Clinic will serve as the event's presenting sponsor, honoring Jefferson J. Jones, D.M.D., the first African-American endodontist (root canal specialist) in Ohio, with the Award for Excellence. In addition, scholarships will be awarded to African-American students pursuing careers in medicine and dentistry who intend to return to the Cleveland area to practice.

Delos Cosgrove, M.D., president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, is serving as general chair of the event. Anthony Stallion, M.D., staff, Pediatric Surgery and Pathobiology, at Cleveland Clinic, and A. Gus. Kious, M.D., president of Huron Hospital, are serving as Honorary Chairs.

The HLC Award for Excellence honors the living legacy of African-American physicians and dentists who have served the Cleveland area in their professions and provided mentoring and role models for the community's youth. In 2007, this award program will reach out to the broader community that supports diversity and education and the programming that inspires diverse young people to pursue careers in medicine and dentistry in the northeast Ohio region.

High school scholarship applicants include Cleveland Municipal School District students pursuing health careers, as well as medical and dental school students from the Cleveland area who intend to return to Northeast Ohio to practice.

Individual seating for the dinner begins at $150 Corporate sponsorships begin at $1,500 and are available for company tables, student seating, scholarships and programming in education or diversity. Online event registration and scholarship applications are available online at

About Jefferson J. Jones, D.M.D. Jefferson J. Jones, D.M.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Endodontics at Case Western Reserve University School of Dentistry, Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Jones has a strong interest in Minority Recruitment and Graduation for the Dental School and for the University. He has been on the faculty for thirty-five years and Department Chair for the last twenty-four years.

About Health Legacy of Cleveland

Health Legacy of Cleveland, founded in 1993, is one of the few African-American founded nonprofit foundations that awards scholarships to African American students pursing professions as physicians and dentists who intend to return to the greater Cleveland area to practice. Its mission is to increase the pool of African American physicians and dentists in the Greater Cleveland area.

Contact Information:

Cynthia Clark
Health Legacy of Cleveland
P O Box 201519
Cleveland, OH 44120

PHONE. 216 621-1933
FAX. 216 621-4174
Entrepreneurial Academy Graduate Receives Rising Star Award from YWCA

Entrepreneurial Alternatives is pleased to announce that Stephanie Howse is the inaugural recipient of the YWCA Rising Star Award, presented by the YWCA with support from Forest City Enterprises.

Stephanie Howse serves as Executive Director of Footprints, a non-profit organization designed to help young girls ages 9 - 17 reach their full potential by focusing on self respect, life endeavors, community and the arts. Over the past three years, she has touched the lives of more than 50 girls. Her passion and commitment are a mainstay in the Hough community on which the girls have come to rely.

In addition to this influential work, Ms. Howse works full-time through the Cleveland Executive Fellowship Program, where she puts her Masters in Environmental studies from Cleveland State University and Bachelors in Civil Engineering from Florida A & M University to work.

Ms. Howse donates her time to the Thurgood Marshall Recreation center, Eleanor B. Rainey Institute, the Eliza Bryant Village and serves as Alumni Programs Chair for the National Society of Black Engineers.

About the Rising Star Award:

The Rising Star award is presented to one woman in the Cleveland area who is 35 years of age or younger and has demonstrated extraordinary career progression as well as a commitment to serving our community. This woman acts as a role model to others, particularly women and girls.

The image to the right shows Howse and a cohort from her Footprints organization.
Dear Dr. House

Dr. House:

Thanks for sending the email to me. My name is Frances Caldwell and I invest in Real Estate and run my own property management company. Managing my own real estate and that of others if needed. My husband and sons have Caldwell Construction Company. We have been doing business for about 15 years. I hope you can help us go to the next level and we can in return help you and your organization. Let's meet and do lunch.


Dear Ms. Caldwell:

Thanks so much for your recent letter. I am delighted to hear of your entrepreneurial activities. I am also happy to see that entrepreneurship is a family affair for you as your husband and children have established the Caldwell Construction Company. I would be delighted to meet with you to discuss strategies that you can use to take your companies to the next level.

All the best,

Dr. Bessie House
The Entrepreneurial Academy
And Executive Director and Founder
The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Kent State University

Quick Links
# E-Academy
# B. House Communications, Inc.
# The Dr. House Minority Business Blog

In Closing
Finally, we at the Center For The Study and Development of Minority Businesses and Entrepreneurial Academy want to make a call out to any former student of our Center. If you move or have some other method of contact, please notify us! We love hearing about your new businesses, business plans, and any other successes that you might be experiencing. If you could send us a recent photograph and a small description of your success, we will include them in one of our upcoming editions of Entrepreneurial Alternatives.

There are individuals in our class that we have not heard from since they stopped attending; keep in touch! Contact information is at the bottom of this blog.


Dr. Bessie House
Director, The Center for the Study and Development of Minority Businesses
Director, The Entrepreneurial Academy
phone: 330-672-5307


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