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Upcoming training openings – 2014

Published on November 9, 2013 by in Uncategorized

Over the coming months, we’re taking our training on the road, hosting regional training sessions in several locations. If you’d like to sign up for a training, be sure to contact us soon because training dates are filling up fast.

As of August 1, we have the following training dates scheduled:

August 13-14  (Closed – Private Corporate Training)

September 4-5 in Knoxville, Tennessee  –  Open and currently accepting trainees

September 17-19 (Closed – Private Corporate Training)

October 2-3 in Chicago  –  Open and currently accepting trainees

October 13-16 (Closed – Private Corporate Training)

November 6-7 in TBD  —  Open and currently accepting trainees

November 17-20 (Closed – Private Corporate Training)

December 1-4 (Closed – Private Corporate Training)

 
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When We Must Say Farewell Now available as ebook!!

Published on December 9, 2012 by in Uncategorized

When We Must Say Farewell,

by Karl Jennings

is now available in the Kindle store!!

Here’s the link to purchase the ebook for $5.99.

 
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Training with the Arrangers Academy

We would love to talk to you about how you can help your families begin healing!  We are here to answer your questions and can schedule customized training sessions for you and your staff…send us an e-mail at info@arrangersacademy.com or call 810-844-1444.

 
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It was good to see you in New Jersey!!

If you attended the New Jersey State Funeral Directors Association’s annual convention and expo, hopefully you had a chance to attend Karl’s session and meet us at our booth on the convention floor.  Karl’s topic was: “It Is Time to Redefine Our Basic Services.” Here’s a screen shot from the convention page:

We would love to talk to you more specifically about how you can redefine the basic services you offer your customers.  To contact us e-mail us or call.

info@arrangersacademy.com

Phone: 810-844-1444

 
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When We Must Say Farewell – available on Amazon!

In When We Must Say Farewell, Karl Jennings uses a unique combination of story and experience to shed new light on the universal experience of loss. If you’ve ever lost a loved one, or if you know someone who has, this book will help you understand how to help yourself and your loved ones begin healing.

Karl E. Jennings is CEO of Borek Jennings Funeral Homes and the Arrangers Academy. He and his partner, Todd Borek, have spent more than a decade developing and implementing the Healing Farewell philosophy.

To order a copy of Karl’s book, e-mail us at info@arrangersacademy.com or purchase through Amazon.com.  The Amazon direct link is here. The cost is USD $14.95 plus shipping.

The e-book is now available for $5.99 on the Amazon Kindle Store.

 
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Common Words

Published on July 9, 2012 by in Karl's Blog Posts

Some common words have a very clear meaning especially when used emphatically.  For instance if I said “Stop”, you would have no doubt that I desired you to cease the activity in which you were currently engaging.  There are other common words that usually have simple meanings, but can also have shared or complex meanings.  When used in casual language, words like “simple,” “direct” and “immediate” are usually clear and simply understood.  However, when used as a part of the funeral industry’s vocabulary, those common words take on very different meanings.

When life is stressful, we often attempt to find “the right words” to express our feelings, help us communicate with others and, at the same time, diffuse the tension we are feeling.  This struggle to communicate effectively is readily apparent when people try to describe what they felt when they first heard the news that someone they love has died.  Words like “shock,” “disbelief,” “anguish” and “numbness” are used to describe our initial response, but even those words seem to fall short of communicating how we feel.  A close friend of mine said, as he stood at the bedside of his deceased father, “Karl, this is a place without words.”  The problem is that where there are no words, there is no common understanding.  Where there is no common understanding and people feel vulnerable, many will grasp for words and assign their own meanings trying to bring external order to their inner chaos.

If we can help guide our families to a better understanding of the words used at the time of acute loss, we can not only help those families navigate loss more effectively, but we can also begin to re-establish our professional relevance and the financial viability of our industry.  At the Arrangers Academy we differentiate between the words “loss” and “grief” in order to help our families construct a common language for what they are experiencing.  We understand that during the Acute Loss Period (the first 10-14 days after hearing about the loss of a loved one) feelings of loss are new and sharp.  Our families need words to help them connect to what they are feeling.  They also need words that will help them connect and engage with friends and family members around them so they can build an adequate support system.  They need words that are compelling and authentic.  Words that not only describe what they are feeling but that help them surface their feelings.  They need starter words and ideas that provide a framework and context to their loss experience.  They need words to guide their common journey and to nurture their individual experience with the loss.  When they find these words they are empowered to use them as a platform to organize their inner thoughts and integrate those thoughts with their relationships.

Common words, if chosen wisely, can be used to build a healthy framework for both the inner journey and engage the external relationships that can help ease the transition from loss to grief.   By guiding this process during the days immediately following the loss of a loved one, we can nurture our families’ emotional, relational and spiritual needs and redefine our place in the future of funeral services.

 

 
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What’s included in the training?

Our Arrangers Academy training is made up of two major components. The first component includes three four-hour sessions over a two-day period either at our Hamburg, Michigan training center or “on-site” at your location. The second component of our training happens online. Participants will be given access to our online learning system with 52 weekly video lessons to reinforce and further explain the concepts and methods introduced during the initial two-day training. Below is a description of the material included in both the onsite and online training. To reserve a place for you or your arrangers, please call us at 810-844-1444, or e-mail us at info@arrangersacademy.com.

 

1) The Experience Economy and Funeral Service

- The Scale of Economic Progression

There are five categories in which consumers make value/price decisions. It is critical to understand these five categories, how consumers’ perception of the funeral industry impacts their choices and what we must do to reverse the trends that have our industry in a 30 year decline.

- The Six Disconnects

There are six “customers disconnects” that the funeral industry participates in every day. The old business model consisting of service options, merchandise offerings and the endless prospecting of clients has led many to feel betrayed by our industry.  We will teach you how to serve reluctant, resistant, skeptical and defiant clients with authentic, compelling, personalized and innovative experiences.

- The Decline

Every industry has a life cycle…a time of emerging, periods of growth, maturity and decline, and sometimes rebirth. The funeral industry has followed this cycle and it is at the threshold of a new era. Are you defending the past or creating the future?

- The Eureka Moment

The fundamental question every funeral director must ask is this, “If what I do has real value for people, why are more and more clients rejecting it?”   Following the scale of economic progression you will learn how to position what it is you can do for people, with what they most need.

- The Unguarded Moment

Every American remembers where we were when IT happened. Understanding your own experience with this moment will transform your view of the experience your clients are having at the time of death.

- The Challenge

The hardest challenge any business owner ever takes on is reversing the behaviors and habits of their clients and transforming their personal activities, tasks and perceptions. Simply put, people like the status quo.

The Opportunity

Between 2012 and 2030 those of us in the funeral industry have a unique opportunity to redefine the role we play in serving families. Our choices during this time will impact the families we serve for the next three generations. The Baby Boomers will die and their children and grandchildren will learn what to do when someone they love has died. This is the last and best opportunity for existing funeral homes to become relevant to those who are currently rejecting our services.

- The Solution

There are seven essential phases in the Acute Loss Period that help people engage and begin to nurture their grief and empower them to have a healthy experience with loss. The value narrative created in these seven phases, establishes the role of the funeral professional, the needs of the family and a common understanding among each generation in the family.

- The Goal

Establish a new language, narrative and identity for the next generation of funeral service.

 

2) Knowing Your Audience

- Five Generations

In my book, When We Must Say Farewell, I write, “In the end, your death doesn’t belong to you…it belongs to anyone who has cared for or about you.  Every child must learn the answer to the question, ‘What do I do when someone I love has died?’” Every generation has their opinion; those opinions often collide in your arrangement room.

- Four Family Players

Everyone has a family of origin and therefore experiences a range of family dynamics that range from functional to dysfunctional. When a person arrives in your arrangement room they will usually reflect their role in the family. We teach you about the emotional, relational and spiritual needs of the four primary family players and the healthiest role for each to serve in the decision making process.

- Three Orientations

We may serve a hundred personality-types, five different generations, multiple religious and ethnic groups but they only have three orientations toward funeral service. This simple yet profound lesson enables you to quickly identify and appropriately educate each orientation.

- Two Primary Questions

They ask two different questions, see the world in two different ways, communicate with others differently and have spent much of their lives questioning each other’s values and choices.  We will equip you to understand current trends such as “the Boomerang,” and teach you methods to close the gap between these two decision-makers.

- One Universal Need

Everyone needs to be loved, respected and valued. When a death occurs, the family and friends who remain have one universal need. It’s the pink elephant in the room and the unspoken felt need of every person you meet.

 

3) The Acute Loss Period

- A Plan to Begin Healing

When death occurs we enter into one of the most confusing times of our lives.  Thinking clearly, making decisions that we understand and being certain we are making the best choices for those we love, is a complicated process during this time.  We will teach you about The Experience of Healing®, which includes the seven psycho-social-spiritual phases each person must navigate in order to begin a healthy grief experience.

- Surfacing

In order for family planners to identify their needs, you must surface them without being offensive or judgmental. Our training will show you a simple narrative that will enable each generation to understand their needs and make decisions that will attend to those needs.

- Solving

We no longer present endless options to families.  Instead, we provide solutions that meet the needs which surface during the educational and needs assessment portions of our arrangement process.  We’ll show you how the business model we use will help you more effectively serve the families in your community.

- Serving

Connecting the dots between what you do and what they need is simplified when the family planners understand why they need what you do. We use a three-step approach to making arrangements that will make the arrangement process a meaningful, valued and rewarding experience for those who participate. Additionally, you will qualify your clients on a value basis rather than price alone.

- The Seven Phases of the Acute Loss Period

The Acute Loss Period clearly defines seven phases in the initial loss experience of your clients that until now has not been defined. Our research has demonstrated a direct link between those who had an intentional plan to address their needs during the Acute Loss Period and the eventual transition to a healthy grief recovery. Our integrated therapeutic model identifies three primary stages in the grief experience; the Acute Loss Period, the transitioning phase and the recovery phase. A person who has no plan for grieving can often end up with unresolved grief.

 

 
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Arrangers Academy Training Outline

Arrangers Academy Training Outline

1) The Experience Economy and Funeral Service

- The Scale of Economic Progression

- The Six Disconnects

- The Decline

- The Eureka Moment

- The Unguarded Moment

- The Challenge

- The Opportunity

- The Solution

- The Goal

2)  Knowing Your Audience

- Five Generations

- Four Family Players

- Three Orientations

- Two Primary Questions

- One Universal Need

3) The Acute Loss Period

- A Plan to Begin Healing

- Surfacing

- Solving

- Serving

- The Seven Phases of the Acute Loss Period

 
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Radio Interview Link

Published on May 9, 2012 by in Uncategorized

This is a link to an interview I did with Lucy Ann Lance at 1290 AM (look for the interview dated April 19, 2012).  The interview was partly about an upcoming Chik-fil-a Leadercast event Borek Jennings was helping to sponsor, but I was also asked to share my opinion about the challenges facing the funeral industry and how our funeral homes have responded to these challenges.

I’d love to hear your responses to this interview.

Karl Jennings

http://lucyannlance.com/?page_id=737

 
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Recording of ICCFA Breakout Sessions now available

Published on May 9, 2012 by in Uncategorized

If you attended ICCFA in Vegas, you can now order Karl’s Breakout Session from ICCFA.  If you didn’t attend, but want to listen in…stay tuned.  We’ll post more about that as soon as we have the session recording.

 
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