SAM

Today, I am giving you the case study of SAM. SAM is in all caps to distinguish him as an avatar. SAM is an avatar I use to demonstrate how tools work.  I like to use avatars because no one wants me to put their real information out to the public

I am often asked, who do I write for and who do I design my courses for. The people who ask these questions often want to know the age, gender, what the people had for dinner last Tuesday night, and specific problems of my students. I am not sure that that truly captures the people I work for and with.

I am writing for people who find themselves wishing or needing a transition from one stage to another in life. For the majority of people, you might say, someone over 55 is looking to transition from full-time work to retirement and possibly part-time work or a business of their own. For those between 38 and 43, the desire is often a new profession. For those between 26 and 32, there is a desire to ensure they are on the right path to their goals in life. And, those just exiting formal training for the first time, whether high school or college, want to ensure they emerge successfully into the job market.  I promise to share case studies for each of these as time goes on. I just want to remind you that we are people and not statistics.  Some people do different things at different times.  That is all right.  It is known as being human.

For now, we are going to start with Sam who graduated college at age 24, is about to turn 26 and finds himself unhappy, frustrated, and unable to find a path to where he wants to go in life. Finances, location, lack of local employment, and other factors all play into this. Yet SAM is lucky because SAM has friends, and friends know how to find the paths.

SAM

Sam’s Background

Sam is a regular guy from Any-town, USA.  He just graduated college about a year and a half ago. He married his high school love and got one of the few jobs the town had to offer, a food service worker, at the Dairy Duke.

Sam wants to be a writer. He wants the American dream. Unfortunately, a new family in a small town just starting out life finds there are many hurdles to overcome before dreams start to come true.

Sam’s not happy because he can see that he and his wife are not going anywhere and seems not to be able to find a better path. Sam’s wife isn’t happy, she thought marriage was going to be bliss. Sam’s mother-in-law likes Sam, yet she wants to see him reach out and do something for himself and her daughter.

A couple of friends who were studying process improvement offered a game or two which might help Sam out and help him and his wife to find their path. Sam was not sure at first; however, when his car refused to start for the third time in a month, he figured, “what do I have to lose.”

The team came over to his house and talk to the assembled folks. Sam had invited his mother-in-law, and his sister-in-law tagged along to see what was happening. The team explained about what they were learning in school and offered their services for free to help Sam and his wife find their way.

After talking for a little a while, the team played the affinity game with them to see how everybody felt and what problems there might be. And yes, there were some problems.

Sam's Affinity chart

 

Everybody had fun with the affinity game, and new ideas started to spring up. The infinity game (chart above) led to a Fish-bone diagram (below) which led to many other interests. I would tell you more now, except that may spoil some of the things to come. Therefore, we will start by taking a look at the affinity chart, and the Fish-bone diagram and that will start us on the way to helping to solve Sam’s problems.

Sams Fishbone

Tomorrow we will press on and see where this leads.

 

Author: Mike Balof

Mike Balof, MEd, develops intensive, interactive courses which have helped contract manufacturing and nonprofit institutions. He taught youth and adults seeking employment to better represent themselves, leading many of them to successful careers. Mike taught in corporate training, teaching adults and high school students to build computers, work as a team, and to identify and fix problems using a myriad of tools from Total Quality Management(TQM), to 8-D, to Six Sigma. Mike now turns his talents to helping fellow veterans reach their objectives and desires through continuous performance improvement. As we start to live in a post knowledge world, where a doubling of common knowledge shrinks from months to days, our essential skills will include how we interact with those around us. Mike believes there is hope for growth and opportunity for everyone. Everyone has the opportunity to retool and find the career they want. Mike strives to present students of all ages, abilities, and means with a full plate of options for learning.

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