Keeping your team up to date is a critical communication strategy. There’s always more information, more to say and more to update than we can communicate easily. As team leaders, we want to be transparent, efficient and effective in communication. To be transparent, we strive to update all our team members simultanously on the current initiatives, tactics and operations. It’s all about what’s the most efficient way to do this, rather than a blanket email. Being effective encompasses both of these values as well as doing our work as a thought, vision and strategic leader. Here are 3 team strategies that I use routinely for effective communication.
Strategic routine phone calls
It all started because there are so many details and so many emails in my work as NAPO President. Rather than email daily with an unconsolidated list, early on my Executive Directors and I determined that two calls a week could cover what we needed to cover with strategies and tactics. These calls have an agenda that we complete as we gather information. The agenda has a spot for actions that we can refer to and complete. Our Executive Directors value this since our conversations are high level, strategic and succint. We allow 45 minutes for the calls, talk at the beginning of the week and end of the week. It’s brought us and our work together.
Strategic use of tools
Google docs has become our most strategic tool for communication. Google docs are an array of possible documents including spreadsheets. This is a free option and we can access on all devices. We have several google docs that are used for different agendas. The President and Executive Director doc includes topics that are most important to discuss, FYI (not discussion, just for your information), and the list of Requests for Action (RFA) for our next meeting. The Executive Committee google doc is an open agenda. As a leader of your team, determine what is required for weekly discussion. This tech tool is one of many different tools I recommend for leadership for many different actions.
Strategic long term communication
There are several factors important to communication. It’s what you are sharing, how frequently you share it and who you share it with. A monthly update, posted to a community internal board, keeps everyone apprised of strategic work. The update can be an excel spreadsheet chart with a column for completion or a narrative update. Posting these with a year then month gives your team the option to see several months and review progress. This all starts with your annual strategic planning, leading to initiative throughout the year. Posting this monthly offers the opportunity for updated projections, updated tactics and assessing success.
Start your communication with a discussion about options. Set a routine time to meet that offers everyone a time to do their most important work first and then update at a least productive time. Be sure everyone updates their planner at the start of your collaboration. Be open to flexibility when needed and be on target enough to keep the boundaries of your work together. Fortune favors the prepared leader!
More leadeship ideas here!
It’s been an extra long winter for us in Houston this year. With real snow, cold temps and dreary rain, we’re ready to bring spring. When we think of spring we think of fresh. Bring spring into your home by freshening up and organizing. A checklist also helps you keep every nook and cranny decluttered and organized. Getting organized is the best way to get out the old and start fresh. This short list of areas in your home will help you bring spring into your domain.
The entry is where everyone drops everything as they enter. It’s probably currently a collection of gloves, scarves, and boots. Match it all up and get it back to it’s long term storage solution, which is best the back of an auxiliary closet in your home.
Has your guest room become a dumping ground for returns, extra holiday wrapping paper or things you have yet to decide on? It’s time to spend time clearing this space out, freshing up the bed linens and getting this room back to a welcoming space for friends and relatives.
One of the busiest and most neglected rooms in your home is your laundry room. Have winter linens, single socks or just too many clothes gotten stuck in here? Dig out with a few minutes of donating or distributing what’s stuck and reclaim efficiency here.
Winter has about concluded. Now is the perfect time to let go of the winter clothes not worn. Since this was one of our more serious winters, if you did not wear a heavy sweater, pants or other garments, it’s the time to donate what you are avoiding wearing. It’s a quick scan of what you have not worn, dropping the items into a shopping bag, and then off to your car to bring them to donate.
Dont forget your home away from home, Your Car
Your car has collected not only trash but lots of random books, clothes and other stuff this winter. It’s time to run by the car wash for an interior cleaning. Taking care of our valuable asset will also make us feel like we took an extra step of care.
Just like you, I am ready to bring spring into my home, office, and car! Take time this weekend to welcome spring, get organized and enjoy your refreshed spaces!
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NAPO, the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals, supports a cause each year. This year our efforts are focused on hurricane relief. Our members have compiled a consolidated list of hurricane resources for your donations. Many of us in the greater Houston area have already been giving our time and energy to individuals and groups locally. The greatest need is financial donations to help rebuilt homes and businesses. #NAPOCares for our communities!
Bayou City Fellowship
Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston
Carter BloodCare (covers hospitals in North, Central and East Texas)
Diocese of Galveston-Houston
Food Bank of Corpus Christi
Houston Community Tool Bank
Houston Food Bank
Houston Humane Society
Houston NW Church
https://pushpay.com/p/hnwhouston?src=hpp (select Harvey Flood Relief)
Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund (Greater Houston Community Foundation)
Real Life Ministries
San Antonio Human Society
Society of St. Vincent de Paul
South Texas Blood & Tissue Center
Texas Diaper Bank
The Dallas Mayors Relief Fund
United Way of Greater Houston Hurricane Fund
Windwood Presbyterian Church
Florida Keys Emergency Relief Fund
Good Samaritan Foundation – local senior living community
Hurricane Irma Relief Fund – by GlobalGiving – Vetted
The Hurricane Irma Relief Fund for Immokalee and Southwest Florida Farmworker Communities
Senior Connection Center – Your Aging & Disability Resource Center
The Miami Foundation (has a list of organizations that are accepting donations)
United for Puerto Rico
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED:
Before giving money to an organization, do your research. Charity Navigator, which identifies worthycharities, has a list of organizations responding after the storm.
The Internal Revenue Service has search tools that reveal whether an organization is eligible to receive tax deductible charitable contributions. If you suspect an organization or individual is engaging in fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud. For advice on avoiding fraudsters, read Charity Navigator’s post on how to protect yourself, and check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission. Be very cautious when donating funds. There are impostors seeking contributions to false disaster relief charities in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma. Learn how to spot and report scams here! The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends checking with the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster for a list of trusted disaster-relief organizations in Texas.
Remember the saying, “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree?” And so it goes with ADHD. Many newly diagnosed kids in turn have newly diagnosed ADHD parents. If you and your family have multiple generation ADHD, it is important to learn about your diagnosis and learn the next steps too.
Creating your team
Think of this diagnosis as one that includes challenges to Executive Function, a part of your brain that involves planning and processing. It is more than just attention and hyperactivity. Executive function can affect you and your child’s daily life, not just at school or work. Aspects of ADHD include transitions, getting started, organization, prioritizing, motivation, and working memory. In every day life that might be getting ready for work and school or organizing your paper work and school papers.
Getting a good team together to inform and address ADHD is critical, including professionals in the medical, counseling and coaching arena. Developing a trust relationship, putting aside judgment, and focusing on care will help you develop a plan that works for you and your family. Start with your family pediatrician or your general practitioner to know who would be a good addition to your team. Your team may include a psychiatrist, counselor, ADHD coach, and professional organizer. Be sure to add team members who are well qualified ADHD professionals.
Learning more about ADHD
There are many venues to learn about ADD. Associations such as the Attention Deficit Disorder Association (www.adda.org) and CHADD (www.chadd.org) are two of the primary first steps. These associations have online, national and local presence for you to tap into and learn about ADD. Finding a local chapter makes for camaraderie and a sense of belonging in your community.
Reading may be a top priority for you. Blogs and books offer a look into the life of families and individuals with ADD. Among the top are Terri Matlin http://www.momswithadd.com/, Tara McGillicuddy http://www.myaddblog.com/ and Arianne Benefit http://blog.neatandsimple.com/ and Laura Rolands http://myattentioncoach.com/adhd-coaching-blog/. Books include The Family ADHD Solution by Dr. Marten Bertin, Empowering Youth with ADD by Jodi Sleeper-Triplett, Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell, or Journey Through ADDulthood by Sari Solden.
Basic first steps
If you are looking for a few basic solutions for your family, these are a few first steps for you.
- Set up good self care with bedtimes and good nutrition for everyone in the family. Having adequate sleep and high protein meals can make a difference for everyone. Often this is the first area that families overlook.
- Take care with over scheduling for the family. Allow more transition and down time than other families. For families with ADHD, the transitions and the rush of daily life ends up tripping them up. Be sure that you are mindful of all members’ commitments. Use a family calendar, either with Google calendar or a large month at a glance calendar, posted in the kitchen where everyone can see it. Host a family “meeting” weekly to go over who is going what, who is going where and what other new “surprises” are going on this week.
- Address the stress with exercise, yoga, art, therapy and other ways to release the tension. These activities help everyone with clarity. Just being outside, taking a walk or even just a little movement can make a difference. All families have stress, but even more so with ADHD.
- Place clocks in many places throughout your home. A timer is a great investment in helping you and your child stay on task, get started and get done. Choose a clock and timer with a “clock face” in order to see time elapsing. Use it in transitional times too.
- Put into place additional help throughout the week. A daily Homework Helper can be a blessing for both parents and students. A local college student, older high schooler or other person can help your student focus and work as a partner with less stress than the parent. A cleaning service, additional driver or daily money manager can be a blessing to a parent who struggles with these aspects.
- Make a morning plan and evening routine with your family. Talk through the plan, note the obstacles, make a chart and stick with your design for smoother family times. It is always a struggle to be consistent for those with ADHD, but implement a smooth, simple plan for both the beginning and ending of the day.
Families with ADHD do best by focusing on the positive in specific, genuine ways. Remember that a hug, a smile and a pat on the back can bring about the desired behavior and most especially the emotional feeling of being understood and loved.
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You’re cranking stuff out at work. Your completing tasks at home. Your calendar keeps you on track and your lists are serving you well. Routines are working for you. Then, all of a change happens. Summer or Christmas holidays come along. There’s a new employee at work you have to train. Your job responsibilities shift. Your routine does not exist anymore. Here’s ways to begin restarting routines.
Assess your tools
What’s going on with your planner and your lists? Have you lost your favorite mini notebook that held your lists? Did you have weekly planning time or fill in your calendar this week? Look at the tools you use and be sure you are using them wisely. If you have let these lapse, start here with restarting routines that served you well.
Improve your tools
Maybe it’s time to make a small improvement to your tools. The Japanese concept of kaizen, making small, gradual improvements, could help you with productivity. The small improvement to your tools could be learning technology. At times when we have a change it’s about learning and practice to master a new skill. It takes time to learn new technology to be agile. A small change could also be hooking a new habit to an existing well established habit. That habit might be making a list each night for the next day right before you brush your teeth. Just a tweak can help you with restarting your routines.
Automate your tools
I don’t like to reinvent the wheel. I like to “automate” when I can to save my thinking for the bigger picture. I use tools like checklists to automate. I have a checklist for activities that are new to me. It’s easy and simple to complete a task this way. There’s a checklist for things I do infrequently just so I don’t forget a step in a project. My packing checklist helps me remember all the little stuff that make a big difference when I am away (like all my electronic chargers). Another way I automate is my routines is smartphone reminders. An alert helps me remember the next step. The reminders are recurring so you keep on top of your intentions.
Take the opportunity when you are stuck and not feeling back in the groove to assess, improve and automate. While it’s uncomfortable, it’s also a time to make necessary changes that might not have happened. That when the break makes for greater productivity.
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I am honored to be a part of the
Author Jill Jarvis contacted me to share about my business.
What does a professional organizer do? Isn’t it my job to keep my things in order? If I live in the space and have survived 15 years in my own home, why would I hire someone to help organize it? Well, it turns out that a trained professional organizer can actually provide the one thing I am always searching for–order.
A professional organizer would take these spaces and put them in order. Instead of just shoving towels in the closet, they would implement systems to help us keep things organized on a day-to-day basis.
More than this, a professional organizer can specialize in helping people stage homes, prepare for moves and in interior decorating. Hearing this got me, the very organized person, thinking about hiring a professional organizer. So I asked my community of BigKidSmallCity readers for their favorite organizers in Houston.
I am grateful to be the first on the list! Thank you Jill for honoring me!
More here on the Houston Moving Guide
Thanksgiving can be less stress and less mess. It’s all in how you organize your preparation and meal. Here are a few tips on making your day fun, festive and a fuss free Thanksgiving.
Make it easy for your and your company to help themselves. Set up a beverage station with ice, your choice of adult and kid beverages, and glasses. If it’s a cool day you may decide on a hot cider with a ladle and mugs too. Place your station in an area that will bring traffic away from the kitchen and into a gathering spot.
Take a tip from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa, and have a few nibbles out before the main meal. It will keep kids and adults from being underfoot in the kitchen. A plate of fruit and cheese and a bowl or two of nuts is a great starter for the holiday meal. If anyone wanders into the kitchen, put them to work!
There’s already a lot to wash and dry, why not go with biodegradable dishware for the day? Available from LeafNFiber, these lovely plates will add to the natural decor of the day and make clean up easy.
It’s all about timing
Make a list of what’s for dinner. After this, create a time line for what goes into the oven at what time. If your list is the same each year, consider creating this in Evernote or a notebook to keep and save.
Everyone’s stress level goes down with a soundtrack. Have a guest create a playlist as a back drop for the day.
Plan ahead to keep and share leftovers. Purchase inexpensive plastic ware to give away as leftovers leave. Everyone loves this gift!
Take a trick from football and other team sports that are on television on Thanksgiving. Get your team in gear. That means everyone has a part to play or a job for dinner, clean up and other activities. There are many small jobs that can be done throughout the day, including ones specifically for your kiddos. Help everyone pitch in by giving everyone something small to do to be a part of the festivities.
What ways do you make it a fuss free Thanksgiving at your home?