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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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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Need Out of the Box Thinking? Get off the typical road!

Need Out of the Box Thinking? Get off the typical road!

Struggling to get your team to think creatively?  Are you looking for innovation by trying the same old strategy of "think outside the box?"  Struggling to get them to move past the same old answer? Try this approach – it’s how I get my GPS…and teams… to creatively find ways around the well worn thought patterns. Recently I was driving home to Lancaster, PA from Dulles airport, nominally a 2.5 hour drive. But the Google Maps app was estimating over 3 hours, due to a jam on I-95 north. It recommended a sidestep to miss some of it, but I wasn’t liking the option. That recommendation saved less than 10 minutes. Coming north from DC, there are three significant options off the top of the beltway; I-95, the Baltimore Washington Parkway (295), and good old US Route 1. Route 1 is the slowest as it’s just a 4 lane road, with traffic lights. As I came to the top of the beltway, I saw the traffic warning signs...
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Improving Process Thinking: Are you just saying “throw a strike?”

Improving Process Thinking: Are you just saying “throw a strike?”

It’s spring, and time to think baseball.  It may also be good time to get our processes in better shape, so here’s a story to help you differentiate process thinking from outcome thinking…critical to process improvement. A while back, I was helping a good guy coach. An accountant by profession, it did seem that the scorebook was his favorite piece of equipment, but he was a nice guy and he wasn’t a screamer. (keep that in mind…it sets the tone) In this one game, the coach’s son took to the mound. He was one of the better pitchers in our league, a tall kid with heat and control. But on this day, it would be different. As the first pitch left his hand, I thought to myself “that’s not a strike.” It was low outside, the ump called “ball”. His Dad then provided this advice to the mound. “Throw a strike.” It was said encouragingly, not even sternly. It was just a clear reminder of the desired outcome. I thought jokingly to myself,...
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5 Tips for Better Data Visualization for your Team

5 Tips for Better Data Visualization for your Team

Data is all around us more and more, and sometimes its hard to actually visualize what you are really need to do with it.  As facilitators, we need to help participants with data visualization to see the information they are wrestling with more clearly. To show you this, I really must start with a story. Recently, my dear parents were moving to an independent living retirement community. Because they had already sold their home of 60 years, downsizing was imminent. My Dad was hesitant. My Mom was flustered. Too many decisions about what pieces of furniture to take and how they would all fit. Every discussion of the topic sort of ended with just more confusion. So, I put on my facilitator hat. I copied an overview plan of the apartment, that showed how a few pieces would fit. This was good, but not great. I grabbed my office whiteboard, drew a big version of their apartment and then beside it listed every piece of furniture. There,...
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Innovation is to bread making as…

Innovation is to bread making as…

It crosses cultures.  There are infinite varieties.  It is a staple for most people in the world.  It provides nourishment.  For thousands of years we didn’t truly understand what was happening to make it work.  And this fabulous invention is…Bread! I want to share with you another way I see this  - the transformation of dry flour, some water and magic into this fabulously yummy food staple… as an illustration for innovation. Many of us have heard of the term innovation.  Frequently it's plugged in as part of a mission or vision statement; sometimes it's plastered on a motivational poster trying to motivate you to come up with the next new thing.  But seriously, what IS innovation? Long drawn out dramatic pause… Innovation is ideas in action.  Really implemented ones!  And for anyone who has tried to entice innovation out of the dark recesses of our tacit knowledge, he or she knows how shy it can be. I'm sure you've all been in that...
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Myers-Briggs Types for Dinner

Myers-Briggs Types for Dinner

The following Myers-Briggs story illustrates the opener versus the closer portion of type (or perceiver versus judger).  This is a real life story, but the names of my friends have been changed. My co-instructor for Myers-Briggs, we will call him Frank, and I met another friend of mine, Joe, for dinner in Alexandria, Virginia.  If you know the area, you know there are tons of excellent choices for dinner.  Frank and I met Joe in the lobby of his hotel and then set off on foot for a restaurant.  I had heard of a great fish place, so we were heading there.  On the way, Joe cannot help pointing out all the good options we are passing on the way.  I had no idea that Joe was an expert on Alexandria restaurants and I am always up for a culinary adventure!  So as Joe's options fly by I'm weighing each against my level of conviction for the fish place.  Frank doesn't...
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