Effective Solutions Through Partnership

Category Archives: Sacramento

Password Security Tips for Small Businesses

Cyber Security, Data Management, Data Privacy, Information Technology, KAI Partners, Managed IT Services, Sacramento, Technology

Our IT Team shares their top three password security tips for small businesses.

 

If your small business needs extra IT support, we can help secure your systems and prevent breaches from happening. Contact us for more information! 

What we are Thankful for in 2020!

KAI Partners, Sacramento

This year has brought many of us uncertainty, changes, and challenges. The most challenging situations teach us the most important lessons and can show us what is truly important in life. To reflect on the year and express our gratitude, our employees have shared what they are thankful for this year.


David Kendall, CEO 

“I am thankful that we have come together as a team, a community, and a company in support of the challenges faced in 2020. I know that everyone has been through a lot this year and I am so thankful to be on this team.”


Denise Larcade, OCM Analyst

“What if today, we were just grateful for everything?”  Charlie Brown 

“Considering how much our lives have changed in 2020 and considering the loss and hardships it has put on so many…I am grateful for everything.”


Sarah Walsh, Communications Manager

“I am thankful for the resources and technology that make it possible to do our jobs, communicate with our families, and attend events from home. Special shoutout to the artists who have found ways to keep us entertained this year!”


David Cornejo, Budget Analyst

“I am thankful for family, friends, Team KAIP, and others who have reached out to all of us during this crisis to remind us we are not alone. Shoutout to Dr. Seuss for teaching us how to be our best!” 


Elizabeth Long, Service Delivery Lead

“I am thankful for KAIP and all the wonderful things the company and people in it provide for my life. An income that affords me and my family a comfortable living, learning, and growth beyond compare, and friendships that will last a lifetime!”


Sid Richardson, Senior Project Manager

“I am so thankful for the KAIP Leadership team.”


Catherine Kendall, Managing Director

“I am thankful that I have not smoked for 305 days after a 30+ year habit. It was the hardest thing I have done in a long time and I am grateful for the love and support of those around me who made it possible.”


Robert Stroud, Senior Project Manager

“I am thankful for being part of the best company in Sacramento, dare I say the U.S. What a great group of people. I’m thankful for my wife and children, the good fortune that shines on us daily, and our health and happiness.”


Debbie Blagsvedt, Senior OCM Consultant

“I am so thankful for the incredible healthcare workers who have worked endlessly to help all those in need. I’m grateful for reconnecting with friends who’ve known me more years than I can count, and for spending time with my elderly parents, who have stayed safe and healthy.”


Srikanth Mattipalli, Enterprise Architect

“I am thankful for my family members for keeping my spirits high, for the wonderful colleagues for their collaborative efforts to get through these tough times together, for the health care workers working in risky conditions for the greater good of the community around them, for all the businesses around us who continue to support us be it groceries, entertainment, essential commodities or technology.”


Stephen Alfano, Executive Consultant 

“I’m forever grateful for the first responders, healthcare professionals, and essential workers who carry the heaviest burdens of the COVID-19 crisis—day in and day out. Their efforts and sacrifices are awe-inspiring.”


Tre-Jordan Smith, Associate Data Analyst 

“I am thankful to be able to make it through this year with the support of my family, friends, and to be part of an organization that still manages to provide a warm, welcoming, and supportive environment even during a time when we are all physically distant.”


Angela Darchuk, Business Services Director

“I’m thankful that I can share with people who are not so fortunate. For the last few years, my family adopts a family through the Salvation Army. We go shopping as a family which, opens up conversations with my teens about how fortunate they are (we all know teens need a reminder!)”


Mia Di Miceli, Communications Analyst

“I am thankful for a year that forced a focus on connectionwhile it didn’t feel like it most of the time, I am so much more connected with my family and friends than ever before. I am thankful to work for a company that was creative, innovative, and transparent during difficult times and found a way to keep us all working delivering, and cohesive in our vision—only incredible leadership can rally a team to achieve in the face of adversity.”


Nick Sherrell, Senior Project Manager

“I am thankful for friends and family for sharing their humor during these bleak times. My grandma used to say, ‘Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying. This has never rung truer than in 2020, which is also the first year I have had to go through without her here to remind me of this great approach to life. Times are tough, let’s do what we can to make it a little brighter to those around us willing to crack a smile!”


Chris Koroluk, Systems Engineer 

“I am thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow from an awesome group of people. I lost my job in March due to the pandemic and it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I am thankful I get to spend time with my family and see us grow right before my eyes.”


Jenny Hall, OCM Analyst

“I am thankful for my being able to start on a new career track, having the ability to stay home and stay safe during this bananas year, and thankful I have my fur babies to keep me good company. Even though this year has felt about 6 years long, we’re going tmake it!”


Anne Rodich, Proposal Development Coordinator 

“I am grateful for being in a position to help care for my mother and to be able to spend the holidays with her this year. I am grateful for the health and welfare of my friends and family and for being employed!” 


Leslie Montarbo, Senior Recruiter

“I am so thankful for my extended family and close friends for being my rock during the unsettling year of 2020. My father would always say, “Keep a stiff upper lip, honey,” and that is exactly what I am doing. These are definitely uncharted waters, but KAIP has been a steady current during the storm and I appreciate having this stability in my life. God is good!”


Tammy Debord, Service Delivery Director

“I am thankful for the ability to choose my outlook in the moment.”


Shyanne Long, Marketing and Communications Coordinator 

“I am thankful that I have amazing friends, family, and colleagues who have supported and guided me through the uncertainty of this year. I am grateful that I have been able to continue my college education virtually and that my school has worked so hard to provide students with the resources we need to be successful. I am also thankful for the technology and resources that allow us to stay connected from a distance. It has been heartwarming to see everyone at KAIP come together as a team to work towards a common goal, even when times are tough. Lastly, I have an overwhelming amount of gratitude for all healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers. Thank you for your dedication and sacrifice!”


Terry Daffin, Community Manager/KAIP Academy Lead

“I am thankful for my community who supports me and my family and who we can support! We will come out of this on the other side together and stronger!”


Happy Thanksgiving from KAI Partners! We wish you a happy, healthy, and safe holiday.

In Case of Emergency: Have a Crisis Communications Plan

Communications, KAI Partners, Risk Assessment, Sacramento, Strategic Plan

By Stephen Alfano, PMP®, CSM, Prosci 

There is no sure-fire way of predicting when (or how) a crisis will occur in an organization or a business environment. Crises, by their very nature, are all too often unpredictable and all-consuming events. 

However, with the practice of risk management, organizations and business leaders can assess potential crises and quantify their ensuing impact. More important, they can use the assessments to create mitigation plans to prepare for potential emergencies. 

One such mitigation plan is preparing a crisis communications plan. 

A crisis communications plan provides a framework for timely and clear messaging from when the crisis hits through its evolution. A crisis communications plan often extends well beyond the end of the crisis to ensure that everything and everyone is on the same page or narrative. Like most proactive business management strategies, crisis communications plans fall into categories that mirror the most critical operations and functional areas.

Here are the top five crisis communications plans and what they aim to mitigate.

  • Financial Crisis Communications Plan: This plan focuses on controlling the narrative surrounding revenue loss or asset devaluation caused by external factors (like decreased customer demand) or internal factors (like poor purchasing decisions).
  • Personnel Crisis Communications Plan: This plan focuses on controlling the narrative surrounding either illegal or unethical behaviors of staff or stakeholders which could damage the organization’s reputation. 
  • Organizational Crisis Communications Plan: This plan focuses on controlling the narrative surrounding negative press coverage or media attention when an organization mistreats or manipulates customers in pursuit of profits or market data.
  • Technological Crisis Communications Plan: This plan focuses on controlling the narrative surrounding technology failures, such as a customer-facing website crashing or errors in codes that disable business processes and limit or shut down operations. 
  • Environmental Crisis Communications Plan: This plan focuses on controlling the narrative surrounding operations disruptions ranging from one-time or temporary delays or closures (like a power outage or gas leak) to sustained, long-term delays or closures (like a plant shutdown or a devastating hurricane). 

Most Crisis Communications Plans have the same core phases and steps, including:

Pre-crises Phase 

Step 1: Identify Potential Crises Risk

Step 2: Designate and Educate Potential Crises Risk Owners and Spokespeople

Step 3: Standup Notifications and Monitoring Systems

Step 4: Test Response Regularly

Post-crises Phase

Step 5: Assess the Situation

Step 6: Create and Rollout Key Messaging

Step 7: Wind down/Wrap up Response as Quickly as Possible

Step 8: Perform Postmortem of Response Steps

Step 9: Revise Plans with Postmortem Insight

For more insight into Crisis Communications, check out these links:

Your Survival Guide to Crisis Communication – HubSpot

3 Best Practices For An Effective Response Plan – Business 2 Community

Crisis Management: Communications Best Practices – Department of Energy

If you need additional information or support creating crisis communications plans explicitly designed to fit your organization or business, contact us to learn more! We would love to help!

About the Author: Stephen Alfano is an Organizational Change Management Consultant and Communications Expert. He has over 30 years of experience in leading and managing initiatives for both private and public-sector clients. His résumé includes providing both new business and business process improvement services to Apple, American Express, AT&T, California Department of Transportation, Chevron, Entergy, Levi Strauss & Co., Louisiana Office of Tourism, Mattel, Microsoft, Novell, SONY, Sutter Health, and Wells Fargo. Stephen currently works as an Executive Consultant with KAI Partners, Inc., providing change management and communications expertise and project management support services on several active contracts.

Technically Speaking: How to Create a Functional Home Office

Information Technology, KAI Partners, Managed IT Services, Sacramento, Small Business, Technology

By Chris Koroluk

For many of us, working from home has become the new normal. However, some people may find it difficult to recreate an office environment at home without a little technical guidance. Luckily, our IT team is here to help!

While laptops are portable and convenient, the screens are usually small. The small screen will often condense websites and make the text much harder to read. Reading small text for long periods of time can strain the eyes and cause headaches, thus slowing down your work.

Our IT tip: Use a spare TV in place of a computer monitor.

Since most laptops come with an HDMI port and using an HDMI cable, you can connect your laptop to a spare TV! You can use the TV in addition to your laptop screen or make the TV the primary display. Here’s how:

  • Once you have your laptop and TV connected using the HDMI cable, press the Windows Key and the P on your keyboard. Then select ‘extend,’ or ‘second monitor only.’
  • Adjust size scaling and resolution in the Display settings.

Next, you can change the power settings to keep your laptop on after the screen is closed, which allows you to use your laptop as a desktop PC. Here’s how:

  • Go to Settings > System > Power & Sleep—the additional power settings are on the right.
  • Click ‘Choose what closing the lid does.’
  • Choose ‘Do Nothing’ on either or both ‘Battery’ and ‘Plugged in.’

This is just one way to make your office more functional so you can remain productive throughout the workday! Is there something our IT team can help you with? Let us know in the comments and we’ll talk about it in a future blog post!

5 Ways to Improve your Strategic Vision

Best Practices, Communications, Digital Transformation, Government, Innovation, Innovation in the Public Sector, Managing/Leadership, Project Management, Project Management Professional (PMP), Public Sector, Sacramento, Strategic Plan

By Nick Sherrell, PMP, MBA, CSM

January is the time of new. We have shaken off the retrospective December and are opening our eyes to new ideas and new possibilities for our careers, our personal lives, our habits, and perhaps even some new hobbies.

This January has a couple extra layers of ‘new.’ Not only is it a new year, but a new decade. On top of that, the term “2020” is a cliché connotation for someone having perfect vision.

Let’s talk about your organization’s vision.

Many clients I work with have a Strategic Plan. It is typically that document found somewhere deep inside their document library that pops up when you are using the search feature to find some other document. It is usually from a year or two ago, and sometimes still contains a ‘Draft’ watermark.

What happened?

All too often, it follows the same path that many of our personal new year’s resolutions take. A great exercise to think about our future with a lot of creative brainstorming, dreaming, and sometimes (let’s be honest here) wishful thinking. We write it all down, even set some abstract goals, and then…life hits! Critical staff get sick (or have kids that get sick). A new decision comes from the larger organization that shakes up your organizational structure. Sometimes those old habits are just too tempting to pass up, just like that dessert case at The Cheesecake Factory!

Here’s how to set up an organizational vision that sticks.

  1. Commit to the process by building a team: It is hard enough to set your own personal vision into action. It is significantly harder to put somebody else’s imposed vision into action. Instead of doing this on your own or with a small group of executives, create a cross-functional team from all levels of your organization and have a trained facilitator guide these discussions. People brought into the design phase are given a sense of ownership and commitment to the results. This is not a strategy that is imposed on them, but rather something they have been empowered to help create. Equally as important, this commits you to the process because once you communicate the concept of building a vision to others, you create the accountability to see it through.
  2. Set realistic and concrete goals with clear accountabilities: With your team, set 3-5 core focus areas that each have a maximum of three clearly defined and achievable indicators of success. Make these goals stretch goals, hard to achieve and only attainable through dedication and teamwork. They key factor to keep in mind when selecting core areas and key indicators is that less is more, especially in the early stages of creating a strategic culture. The simpler the message, the easier it is to get everyone on board and rowing at the same cadence.
  3. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate: Once you have identified the core focus areas and a few key indicators, spread this message like wildfire across your organization! Wherever possible in your communications to staff, tie the message back to your strategic goals.
  4. Build and integrate frequent check-ins: This is where most strategic plans fall short and ultimately meet their demise by collecting virtual dust in a document library. Leaders are usually happy to get in a room and discuss strategy. They are usually pretty good at setting concrete goals, assigning accountability, and communicating a kick-off. The challenge is incorporating this into existing leadership meetings and decision-making. Inevitably, a distraction will happen. Prepare for it early by ingraining these goals into a habit. Which takes me to my last point…
  5. Make vision an organizational habit: Once these efforts are integrated into your regular work, reward small wins to build momentum and turn strategic thinking into an organizational habit. If you don’t reach a goal, find the positive aspects and momentum and use those as a springboard to challenge the next iteration of goals. If positives are hard to find, then focus on the learning of what did not work and bring these lessons learned into your next strategic planning session.

Does this sound like a familiar scenario at your organization? If you need help putting your Strategic Plan into place—or creating one in the first place!—we would love to help! Contact us today to learn more!

About the Author: Nick Sherrell is a Project Manager with over 10 years of healthcare experience ranging from Quality, Performance Improvement, Technology Implementation, Data Analysis, and Consulting. Nick has worked with organizations ranging from the Sacramento Native American Health Center, Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Blue Shield of California, and The Advisory Board Company. He currently works for KAI Partners, Inc as a Project Manager Consultant on Public contracts with the State of California, most notably with the Judicial Council of California and California Medicaid Management Information Systems. He received his MBA from UC Davis in 2015 with an emphasis in Organizational Behavior and Innovation. He became a Certified Scrum Master in 2018 through Scrum Alliance training offered at KAIP Academy. He lives in Sacramento with his wife, two children, and Golden Retriever Emma. Find Nick on LinkedIn here.

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