Solving Volunteer Engagement…by Creating Value

Solving Volunteer Engagement…by Creating Value

Recently I coordinated a group of volunteers and at the last minute one of the volunteers I was relying on backed out! This left the team scrambling to find coverage. ARGH!! Do you work with volunteers on your team? Have you had this happen? In some ways every member of a project team is a volunteer (or volun-told), because the team is together for a short amount of time, then disbands back to their “day job.” I shared my story with a few friends and they all shook their heads saying, “that’s just the way things are nowadays.” That’s why I thought this topic would be interesting to explore. I just couldn’t believe that this is the end. In my years of church committees and boards for sports, I incessantly heard from those who did show up complaining about those who didn’t show up. Quite frankly, the not showing up didn’t bother me as much as the complaining by those who did. Why? This situation...
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One Essential Component to a Great Team

One Essential Component to a Great Team

I’ve been part of some all-star teams and some real duds. How about you? Do you have theories on why some failed where others succeeded? Creating an all-star team sometimes seems to be more art than science…maybe even a bit of luck. We at eNthusaProve have always believed that creating strong connections to the project purpose and between team members is a crucial part of creating a great team (see our method here). Recently I came across an article that just seemed too good to be true. It promised a Google study found that an all-star team could be predicted statistically by looking at ONE SINGLE ASPECT? When I saw the story come by my screen, I was thought it was just click bait, hoping to pique my interest to get a click. But it had. I fell prey to the click-bait! Reel me in NY Times…reel me in… The Google research showed that there was in fact one attribute that was the best...
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Puzzled about Priorities?  Prioritization Skill Building

Puzzled about Priorities? Prioritization Skill Building

Do you ever feel like you’re drowning in priorities? Too many projects, ideas, or initiatives…and there is never enough time or resources! We have seen this sneaky tyranny gobble up more than one leader and team. The laundry list of initiatives or tasks your team (or your stakeholders) would like to take on rivals solving world hunger and making world peace, so you know that you need to prioritize that list. As the heavy sigh comes out and look of overwhelm weighs on your shoulders, you wonder… how can we ever find our way through to what we can or should do? You gather the team together to prioritize initiatives. Our experience is that prioritizing the list almost equals the difficulty of creating the list! WHY? There are so many ways to interpret what is a “priority.” Priorities are funny things, because my method for generating high priority is different than yours. We use the term priority so broadly. For some, top priority is...
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Two Simple Project Management Tools that Pack a Punch for Teams

Two Simple Project Management Tools that Pack a Punch for Teams

When you look for project management tools, it is so easy to become overwhelmed by the Project Management Body of Knowledge’s 10 knowledge areas, 47 processes which create plans, documentation, and checklists. I know when I opened the PMBoK for the first time, it didn’t take long before I needed a wall chart to keep track of all the interconnections of processes and plans, documents and checklists. I was overwhelmed…which lead me to throw it all out and go my own way trying to figure out project management on my own. I needed something simple and actionable, not a comprehensive dissertation. Eventually I found my PMBoK again and found a way to merge my hard-knocks tools with the formal methods. Years later when I was working with an accounting firm’s project managers, I found they were in much the same predicament. Their project managers were accounting experts, now called to lead small teams of accountants to complete audits and such. The leadership...
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Building Team Commitment: Choose to Connect

Building Team Commitment: Choose to Connect

One of the struggles Paul and I hear often when working with teams is lack of commitment. Those that are committed to the effort look at those that aren’t and just scratch their heads. Why don’t you care? Don’t you see the value in what we are doing? If you could only see it as I do, you would be committed as I am, right?!?! That got me thinking…to what in life am I truly committed? What makes the difference? What is the best practice out there for commitment? I came back to the strongest commitments in my life, God and my family (husband and kids). These are wonderful things that should be easy for me to commit to, but even these areas struggle. I’ve committed to build my marriage for a lifetime because I believe we are better together (even though that’s not always how we feel), but conflict comes. There are still times where our commitment is tested, even after more...
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Team Connection Builder: Systematize for Better Connections

Team Connection Builder: Systematize for Better Connections

This post is all about being intentional with your team to build rapport with your teammates.  That way, when things get hard (and they always do), you've laid the groundwork for trust to weather the storm. I know that you care about enabling joy on your team just like I do because you are here. Why is that evidence? It shows you care about how well you’re leading.  That CARING means that you probably are already on a good path. Now let’s help you stay on that path and going as fast as you desire to the destination you need to achieve. We know that building connection (like rapport) is important, BUT work comes first, OR it will come in time, OR it feels awkward, BUT I don't want to.  There's all sorts of reasons we use to excuse ourselves from the hard work of building a team.  I know them because I have to overcome them too! One of the great ways...
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Team Conversations: How to Get Teams to Gel

Team Conversations: How to Get Teams to Gel

Team conversations can be hard at the beginning...usually described in one word…awkward! You gather around a table for a kickoff meeting and make small talk, work on a laptop, or scroll through the feed on your smartphone until someone gets things started. The team starts talking about the work and what must be done. Hopefully people introduce themselves. I’ve always felt like these meetings are a bit like the first day of school where everyone’s trying to find their place and not embarrass themselves. I've totally been there... Many people take that first introduction to make a point about what they are there for and why they are important/valuable. This can setup even an adversarial relationship. It happened to me, totally on accident. I was trying to share how I could be a resource for the team based on what I knew about a portion of the work. Only later did I find out my methods were completely misinterpreted and I was seen...
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Seven Lessons about Leading Teams I Learned from Nettles

Seven Lessons about Leading Teams I Learned from Nettles

For those who hike or are into wild natural foods, you have likely heard of stinging nettles, sometimes referred to as burn hazel. However, for most folks, this seeming weed remains a misunderstood member of the botanical world. When my wife and I bought our hobby farm four years ago, three of the ten acres were densely covered in stinging nettles. My first tour of the property was a painful trek through knee high stinging nettles because, as their name clearly tells us, they sting. The chemical that is passed from its hairy leaves and stems is actually referred to as venom. Yikes! That walk and my subsequent nettles adventures have helped me learn 7 important lessons, not only about botany, but more so about being a better team facilitator or leader. Lesson One: Respect the citizens who are there, no matter what. When I run into those well entrenched and therefore seemingly unfriendly denizens of an organization on a team, I need to respect them. They probably are there...
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