How Leadership Empowers Change

leadership inspires change

 

Mothers Against Cancer (MAC), a grass roots effort to raise funds for children’s cancer research, hosts an annual fundraising luncheon each year.  The event includes an amazing raffle, silent auction and live auction as part of it’s event.  In an effort to raise the bar, this year our event took a bold step.  We entered the 21st century of fundraising by using Greater Giving with online access to bid.  Leading the charge is our executive director, our communications director. and our board.  Our leadership empowers change with this step into technology.

Why change?

MAC has hosted this event for almost 30 years.  We have had the same process which our attendees love with a cash, check and credit card payment system.   It’s working so why change?  We learned that other associations income was increasing with greater use of credit cards.  We wanted to implement a system where bidding on silent auction items was easier and more profitable.  We wanted our attendees email addresses so we can stay in touch all year.

 

How did it work?

Our leadership reinforced the positive with this change. It would be different. Our attendees would need to learn our new system but it was easy. Our board knew it was the step we needed to take to and our attendees would be fine after this first year of transition.

 

Our leadership brought the tools we needed, such as ipads, laptops, and a router!  With change brings new skills, new technology and new connections.  When we set  up and did a run through, it all came together as we each learned the software guided by a on site liaison.  Our leadership not only sat side by side with us as we each learned, they provided tools we needed to insure our success.

It was hard work and a little chaotic at times.

As the event started, we ran into a few glitches.  There were long lines that our attendees were unaccustomed to and there was resistance to sharing personal information.  However our resourceful leaders started serving drinks to those waiting and that smoothed things out.  Those of us at check in heard a lot about what was not working.  However, as the event moved forward,  the virtual bidding on silent auction items was a fun focus for our attendees. How to out bid others at our table took our tallies for research funds higher and higher.  It was easy to purchase raffle tickets just by clicking your credit card access and our total sales of raffle tickets shows how easy and profitable for MAC is it.  Check out at the end of the event was seamless.

 

As a student of leadership, MAC showed me that it takes many different aspects to make change, and that there will always be something unanticipated that we will learn.

  • Listen to others as new options open up.  Transitions and change only happen if we are open.
  • Add in as much support as possible. Training, onsite support and tech tools make change possible.
  • Communicate change in baby steps.  Our Board shared the change with our members first, then our attendees.  We used email newsletters to let attendees know how to access the new site and add their information.
  • There will be glitches.  Research the obstacles and then review. I know our next year event will benefit from this year’s glitches.
  • Positivity makes the difference.  Our Board stayed positive throughout the process.

MAC made a difference for our attendees, our members and our beneficiary Texas Children’s Hospital this year.  Our funds raised this year totaled $283,000 for children’s cancer research.

 

More on Mothers Against Cancer here.

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Proven Technology Tools for Leaders

proven technology tools for leaders

 

As leaders, communication and collaboration are essential.  When your team is spread out over the nation, or even in your neighborhood, you want proven technology tools that make these aspects easy to accomplish.  It’s not necessary for you to be high tech to use these 4 technology tools.  As a bonus, these tools are free too!  I am happy to share what I use each week with my colleagues.

 

 

Free conference call

Every week I am talking to committee members located throughout the country.   FreeConferenceCall.com offers me free access to a collaborative phone system, including free recording of the call.  It’s so simple to dial in and connect.  If you want to share your meeting, you can record and send the link to those who missed the meeting. Team meetings are more effective, save time, and save email frustration by setting a weekly or monthly call to work on a project.

 

Join.me

Collaboration can require more than just words and audio.  Many of us work best collaboratively when we all “see” the same content to discuss it.  Our “view” of the content also gives us the opportunity to brainstorm, make adjustments to a document or create a final version together.  Join.me is an online screen sharing site.  You log into join.me/ and a code number and you can view the screen of the host.  My team has completed projects such as budgets, reviewed courses, and reviewed documents together with Join.me.   It’s an easy way to be more productive as a team.

 

Google docs

Google has an vast array of ways to work collaboratively.  With Google Docs you can create, edit and store web-based documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. You initiate the document in Google Docs and work on it in this cloud based site.  You can invite others to join you in the work together and work together at the same time.  Documents and spreadsheets can be be imported into Google Docs as well.

 

Doodle

One of the most difficult actions is to find a meeting time that works for you and your team.  Simplify the process with this tech tool.  Doodle is a meeting scheduling tool. Choose dates and times that work for you and send an email through Doodle with the choices.  Each member is polled on what times work for them and a final poll can send the date of the meeting.  It can connect to each team member’s calendar too. Save time and frustration easily setting up a time to meet.

 

There are more uses than only leadership with these proven technology tools.  At work you can set up partnerships to enhance accountability and productivity.  You may find these tools useful for home as well.  Setting up a family time to talk about aging parents or a family vacation are easy with these technology tools. Taking advantage of these proven technology tools for leaders in your work with your team.  You will find collaboration easy and effective.

 

Have a favorite tech tool you use? Please share it here and share it’s merits.

 

More productivity and organizing tips here!  Join my newsletter!

 

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Leadership: Talk Less, Smile More

talk less smile more leadership

 

 

As a devoted Hamilton (the Broadway show) fan, one of my favorite quotes is “Talk less, smile more.”  In the play, Aaron Burr is sharing his leadership philosophy with Alexander Hamilton.  It refers to a national leader’s philosophy, but the leadership concept of “talk less, smile more” can apply to all of us as leaders.

 

Talk less

Listening is an essential part of leadership. It’s how we gather information, build trust and create a team effort. When we are listening, we are showing how we appreciate the knowledge of the speaker.  Listening and leaning in indicates that you are building rapport and trust with the speaker.  Your listening empowers the speaker to share more information.  In talking less, we are open to more.  It requires that we hold back our own agenda and our own words to learn from others.

 

Smile more

A smile typically is an invitation to a connection.  As a leader,  your smile is cultivating connections.  Your smile is the bridge.  The warmth and invitation of a smile indicates you are open.  Even in the most stressful of leadership challenges, a smile and humor can lighten the situation and create solutions.  A smile can lead to increased positivity about any situation.

 

How to get started smiling more?  Create a new awareness of smiling. Place something that sparks joy (of course a reference to Konmari) on your desk. Like all new habits, it’s worth linking your smiling to an existing habit too.  Perhaps you already smile and have noticed how powerful this is in your relationships and leadership.

 

 

Link here to listen on YouTube to Talk Less, Smile More

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Project Management Tools for Home and Work

project management

 

So many projects, so little time! A project is an “individual or collaborative effort that is planned with a specific aim.” Project management is the “discipline of planning and executing the work of a team to complete a goal.”

 

As Walt Disney said, “Of all the things I’ve done, the most vital is coordinating the talents of those who work for us and pointing them towards a certain goal.”

 

At home and work projects are everywhere. It all depends on your view of a project.  At home it can be an organizing project like garage organizing, a holiday project like Christmas or Hanukah, or a family event like a family reunion.  At work a project can be starting an email newsletter, marketing your product or service or doing your taxes.  If your end result takes more than 3 steps to accomplish, it’s a project.  While there are many free tools to use, these easy to use tools make it easy for you to work on and track your project.

 

Post it notes

We all love post it notes. It’s a great way to keep track of individual tasks for a project. Write each step on a separate note.  Post the notes in a time line with dates for daily or weekly accomplishments.  It’s fun to crumple them as you complete a task.

 

Trello

Trello is the digital equivalent of index cards. Set up your tasks and your timeline to accomplish your project. Capture ideas, track your progress and assign tasks to maximize your success.

Dropbox

Dropbox is a cloud based document system. You install Dropbox on you and your collaborators devices and you can share.   What’s best about Dropbox is accessibility and portability. Whether it’s a document, spreadsheet or presentation, you can work together or alone and share your work.

 

Google apps

Many of us use gmail for our connections. Google offers a host of products to work together. Use Google calendar to drive dates for your project. Use Google docs for your collaborative documents and spreadsheets.  Work on the same document at the same time and see changes in real-time together.

 

Accessible tools make it easy to track and complete your project.  Take a few minutes to set up your tools to maximize their effectiveness and then get to work.

 

Check out this tech list for other tools for home and work.

 

 

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NAPO2016 Small Changes = Big Difference

 

napo 2016

It’s just after our annual National Association of Professional Organizer’s conference, known in social media as #NAPO2016.  It’s always a high point for NAPO members as we gather to learn, share and connect in real life.  I’ve always been a fan of baby steps, and small changes = big difference.  Here’s more of what I learned at NAPO2016.

 

What struck me most this year is that Small Changes = Big Difference.

 

Small ways to connect
A small, a high five and a warm hello are all the ways we connect in small ways. These are big parts of NAPO2016.  Each session welcomed our members into the room.  Even calls of WOOT were parts of the connecting. Attendees contributed to a  star studded bulletin board of gratitude.  Creating coloring books were the sewing bee of the of conference.

 

coloring pages napo2016

Coloring pages connected members in a big way.

 

 

Small ways to change your environment
My favorite sessions at conference always include practical tips to share with clients. I learned that for families with ADHD, shifting to what is do-able is not giving a family member a pass.  It’s leveling the playing field.  Working with peace, order and calm are small ways that change the environment as I work with clients in their spaces.  Learning from statistical research of NAPO, I engaged in discussions on how adding small storage changes can create big differences in space use.

 

 

Small ways to let go of mind clutter
Scott Greenberg shared with us the challenges of mind clutter.  He called is mind set.  It’s about all the ways we talk trash to ourselves.  Our members called out as they shared their own mind clutter.  Scott suggested we remember, “I am a work in progress.”  We thrive when we are in growth mindset.

Scott also reminded us about kaizen, the Japanese concept that small changes big difference.  As we work together this year, we will keep this concept in mind during our sessions together!

 

Resources learned at NAPO2016

Impact ADHD

 

Productivityist

 

ADD Crusher

 

NAPO members shared recognition of our colleagues in a big way.

NAPO members shared recognition of our colleagues in a big way.

 

Let’s connect and start on your small change = big difference together!

Be a Leader

leadership

 

My National Association of Professional Organizer’s (NAPO) membership has provided me with education, collaboration, service opportunities and the framework for business success. I started my business in 2000 and immediately joined NAPO. In 2002, I became a charter member of NAPO Houston and have served as Chapter President, Membership Vice-President and Golden Circle Liaison.  I am currently serving NAPO at the national level as Committee Chair to the newly reinvented Membership Committee. I have also served as Conference Chair, and on the Education, Leadership Development, Statistics, and Marketing Committees. In 2013 and 2015 I was honored with the esteemed Service to NAPO Award.  Starting in May 2016, I will begin a term as President- Elect. In May 2017, I will serve for 2 years as President.

 

Serving NAPO has contributed to my business success. In surrounding myself with incredible colleagues, my business has thrived.  My colleagues are on “Team Ellen,” creating an ongoing mastermind group focused on personal and professional development.  In serving with others with a common goal, team efforts create an outcome of something more than an individual can imagine or accomplish.

 

Why share this with you?  Are you already a leader? Are you ready to make a difference?  In using our strengths and leading others, we stretch and grow. We learn different perspectives and gain clarity.  We become smarter and better.  In addition to organizing and productivity, I will be blogging about leadership here on Ellen’s blog.    The connection between leadership, organizing and productivity is clear.  The more organized you are, the more other’s look to you to lead. The more productive you are, the more time you have to serve.  Being a leader requires balance and coordination.