Three Reasons to Make Mentoring a Priority

by Guest blogger Liz Scavnicky-Yaekle
Dale Carnegie Western Connecticut


Who is your all-time favorite teacher?  Most likely, it was someone who took a sincere interest in you and cared deeply about you.  This mentor understood your goals and dreams, and did everything possible to help you attain them.  You probably still remember his or her wise adages which you apply in your current professional role.

It’s unfortunate that for most working Americans, mentorship stops after high school or college graduation.  As Gallup reported, “Schools alone can’t be the sole source of mentorship…We desperately need workplaces all over the U.S. to step up and offer mentors and internships on a scale like never before.” Here are three reasons to make mentoring a priority in your organization.

Mentors help mentees see ‘the forest through the trees.’  It’s inevitable to encounter challenges at every rank of any organization.  Sometimes, those struggles hold employees back—they become hung up on what went wrong or are so intently focused on trying to solve one micro problem, that they cannot see the big picture and subsequent realm of solutions.  Dale Carnegie said, “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.”  Mentors help put setbacks into perspective and offer new ways of approaching challenges. Equally important, mentors positively reinforce what mentees are doing correctly by praising a job well done.  Both actions are necessary to excel in all roles.

Mentoring programs drive employee engagement.  Employee engagement is defined as the level at which employees are emotionally invested in, and focused on, creating value for their organizations every day. Employees with mentors are more likely to be emotionally invested in their organizations and focused on creating value.  First, they know that their mentors genuinely care about their performance and want to see them reach their full potential.  Secondly, the mentor-mentee relationship is a personally rewarding one that dives into the human heart which ultimately drives more engagement.

Also, mentees are more likely to share their weaknesses and challenges with mentors in an effort to improve. Don Clifton, the father of strengths psychology, discovered that while people’s weaknesses rarely develop, their strengths develop infinitely.  Mentors, therefore, are a key ingredient to helping employees improve their strengths and become more engaged.

Mentored businesses survive more than those without mentorship.  In a study conducted by the UPS Store, 88% of business owners said having a mentor to lean on is “invaluable.”  Moreover, 70% of mentored businesses survive more than five years which is double the rate for non-mentored small businesses over the same period. Personally, I was ready to resign from a very challenging role early on in my career but did not, because of my sage mentor with whom I maintain a friendship today.  My retention helped that organization grow sales by 18% year over year.

At Dale Carnegie Training and the Greater New Haven Chamber , we know how critical coaching and mentorship are to performance improvement.  Check out Dale Carnegie’s upcoming courses to determine where you would excel most.

The Greater New Haven Chamber’s 2016-2017 Forward Leadership program starts on October 26. Learn more here.

Team “WORK”: Three Things to Get Started on Creating Your Own Awesome Team

by guest blogger Tracy Knofla
High Impact Training


10 Minutes to a Great Team!
Build your Team in Under a Minute a Day
Fast, Fast, Fast, Ways to Build a Team

Titles like these nearly scream from business-book shelves across the country. It makes you wonder, “If it only takes a minute, why aren’t my employees working as a team?”  

This is the question that a lively group of human resources professionals pondered recently during a Chamber program sponsored by the Human Resource Council. This fun and engaging workshop entitled Team “Work” was presented by Chamber member, Tracy Knofla, of  High Impact Training.

Tracy knows that there’s no fast way to create a team. Creating an outstanding team requires both intention and attention over a period of time so that employees will trust the process.

Many employers believe that providing matching t-shirts or watching employees help each other over a wall on a ropes course will make them into a team. However, it’s what happens after you give them the shirt, and after they’ve climbed the wall that really matters.

The very first question she asked those in attendance was:

“Do your employees really need to work as a team?”

In some industries employees really don’t need to work as a team. For instance, a sales department with employees working on commission doesn’t really need to work as a team. They should be cordial, but basically they work for themselves, in accordance with the mission of the company. Trying to get them to work as a team will likely be unsuccessful.

If your employees really do need to work as a team, that is, their jobs are inter-dependent, it is important for you to be intentional in creating an atmosphere where teamwork can thrive.

During the workshop, participants brainstormed over 100 elements that make teams successful. They were shocked at how many factors go into creating an effective team.

Their top elements are listed here:

dedication ~ trust ~ positivity ~ nonjudgmental ~ diversity ~ creativity ~ support ~ cooperation ~ communication ~ respect ~ fun ~ empathy ~ honesty ~ listening ~ clear goals ~ recognition ~  integrity ~ passion ~ accountability ~ leadership

Creating an environment in which any one of these could flourish will take more than a minute. Taken all together, you can see the “work” that goes into creating and maintain strong and effective teams. While it will take some work, here are three things to get you started creating your own awesome team:

1.     Train supervisors to coach their employee-teams. Many supervisors ascend to their position with little training on managing people. Often just a little bit of training can make a big difference.

2.     Make sure that every employee knows their job, the expectations you have of them, and how their position contributes to the overall success of the company.

3.    Create an environment of collaboration and cooperation throughout the organization. Praise and reward team behaviors.

The acronym TEAM stands for Together Everyone Achieves More. While this statement is really true, it’s like everything else worth doing – hard work!


Fueling Economic Growth: Leadership for Executives

blog_forward-leadership_2016-002 Local leadership is one of the biggest factors for the success of communities. It is critical for the economic success of the region and state. A leader’s job is not to solve every problem alone, but to inspire those he or she leads to find solutions.

“Every city has strong, caring leaders working on numerous committees and initiatives to fuel their local economic growth,” says Jim Clinton, author of The Coming Jobs War. “The feat these leaders have to pull off is doubling their entrepreneurial energy by aligning all their local forces.”

That’s where the Greater New Haven Chamber’s Forward Leadership comes in.

Administered by the Chamber, Forward Leadership is a six-month program that accelerates leadership growth by giving managers the tools to meet the challenges of today’s evolving business landscape.

This program is beneficial for those who seek to enhance their management skills and individual performance. It is ideal for anyone with current mid-level to senior-level management responsibilities or for people expecting to take on leadership roles.

Participants engage in team-building, motivation, diversity awareness, goal-setting, negotiation, and decision-making skills.

The Forward Leadership program is sponsored by the Regional Water Authority. Classes begin in October. To learn more, contact

Connecticut Closer to Mileage Tax Pilot as State Receives Federal Grant


The Chamber is calling on the state Department of Transportation, Governor Malloy and lawmakers to put a stop to the state’s $300,000 investment in studying and implementing a pilot program for a ‘Mileage Tax’ to tax motorists for every mile they drive.

On August 30, Connecticut was awarded a federal grant to launch a pilot mileage tax program so long as the state invests a matching $300,000. The pilot will look at a variety of options to raise revenue, including on-board vehicle technologies to charge drivers based on miles traveled.

Connecticut is among a group of Northeastern states to receive the grant after an application was filed by the state of Delaware on behalf of the I-95 Corridor Collation Members.

Contact your legislators now and tell them to STOP the mileage tax pilot.

Union Station’s Parking Plan

DOT 2.jpg

We hear often from the business community that an aging transportation infrastructure is a hindrance on our economy.

Last week, James Redeker, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) and several members of the CTDOT design and project management team met with the Chamber’s Economic Development and Governmental Affairs Committee to share details on the proposed plan to expand New Haven’s Union Station parking garage.

The project, which is slated to be completed in 2018, will add approximately 1,000 parking spots, a new bus depot to improve bus and taxi flow, and integrate a bike-friendly hub and possible retail space.  The Commissioner has pegged the cost of the expansion at $40 million to $60 million, with funding coming from the state.

The CTDOT is currently working with city planners and designers to make the Union Station expansion meet the needs of Connecticut’s residents and commuters more effectively. The design is not fully decided. Some city leaders have disagreed with parts of the plan. There are  differences from what the City and the State want, and although everyone is working to reach agreement, it may not happen. More from WTNH’s News 8 here.

We are encouraged by the progress being made in New Haven to modernize the Union Station parking garage. By investing in our transportation system, Connecticut can be put on a more stable path toward future economic growth.

Let us know what you think.

Help us Reach our GOAL!


On Monday, July 25, The Greater New Haven Chamber will host the Annual Gladys and John Soto Scholarship Golf Classic at the New Haven Country Club in Hamden, Connecticut.

Through the generous support of the golfers and the Sotos, this event benefits the Foundation of the Greater New Haven Chamber’s GOAL Scholarship Fund.

The GOAL Scholarship is given to New Haven-area students interested in pursuing a college degree in business. Last summer, The Foundation raised $9,200 for GOAL and awarded scholarships to six undergraduates in the region.

We’d like to top that and hope you’ll help us reach our goal by making an online donation.  Here, you can read more about each of this year’s scholarship recipients and even select which scholarship recipient you’d like your donation to go to.

100% of your donation goes directly to the scholarship recipients, and 100% of your donation is tax-deductible.

For player registration or to learn more about the Gladys and John Soto Scholarship Golf Classic, please contact Jenna Kozodoy at 203-782-4342. To make a tax-deductible donation to the GOAL Scholarship program, please visit