Archive for the ‘teamwork’ Category

think about office housekeeping for everyone’s sake

Friday, March 6th, 2015

iStock-Unfinished-Business-10If you follow any business publications, recently you’ve seen articles related to office housekeeping, brought to the forefront by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant. I appreciate how their opinion piece in The New York Times brought this important issue about how women and men take on office housekeeping in different ways, with the burden often falling to the women. That said, many of the spin off pieces focus more on complaining about the situation or go into how housekeeping already falls disproportionately towards women at home, turning into a rant.

For me, thinking about office housework affects everyone on the job. At Stanford, the majority of faculty are men and the majority of women are staff (with the exception of top leadership, which is predominantly male). That means that in my role, gender is not always played out in the same way, yet the principle of particularly people burdened by housework clearly exists.

What is office housework? I’d describe it as tasks that must get done for the workplace to function and have a healthy environment. Typically, these things are not fun, interesting, challenging and most importantly, they don’t lead to promotions or organizationally visibility. On top  of your regularly scheduled programming, they can contribute to emotional exhaustion as well as increase your workload. I’ll share a quick list of examples:

  • training and onboarding new hires
  • cleaning the fridge or kitchen
  • mentoring others
  • reviewing colleagues materials or providing feedback
  • taking notes and minutes at meetings (as well as white boarding)
  • planning office parties
  • ordering food for meetings
  • committee work
  • scheduling
  • organizing department retreats

Now some of these responsibilities might actually fall into your job description, particularly if you play an administrative role on staff. Also, certain people in the office actually enjoy doing these things. Yet, once you’re known as someone who loves to show appreciation by planning parties, or perhaps you have excellent handwriting to take notes, or supposed you’re a pro at planning off-site retreats – you may find yourself stuck there. No one else volunteers, you over-volunteer at the expense of other valuable work you could be doing or your co-workers intentionally or unintentionally take advantage of your happy disposition to keep up the good work.

Both individual contributors and managers should examine how office housekeeping plays out in your department and organization. Keeping an eye on these responsibilities helps even out the playing field between your staff and you should track particular repetitive tasks to make sure they are equitably distributed. I’ll offer some strategies to consider to balance the office housekeeping:

  1.  Prioritize your own needs over that of the organization. This seems like a selfish way to start my list, yet owning your career requires a constant balance between you and your work. I’m not suggesting that you don’t offer up your time to take on office housekeeping – I possess the perspective that everyone should pitch in. That said, you can take on some tasks when you have a lesser workload, feel fulfilling or offer you a strategic angle. I’m guilty of taking on several extracurricular committees and serving on interview panels. Yet, I’m deliberate about these commitments, only taking on committees that offer personal value. When I sign up to help interview, it’s only for positions where I offer a unique perspective or plan to work with that person a lot.
  2. Rotate responsibilities! For regular mundane tasks like notes, planning parties, retreats, ordering food, etc. If they aren’t in someone’s job description, taking on a process to rotate duties easily shares the burden. At the Alumni Association, I’ve seen departments do this in an effective way, whether it’s our executive cabinet with note rotation or Travel/Study in how planning their annual retreat gets assigned to the newbies with a seasoned staff member guiding them on a rotation. If you want to ask for volunteers to find out who’s interested in planning something, have them email you instead of raising their hand in a meeting so that you can see all of the hands raised and ensure the same person isn’t taking on the same task over and over again.
  3. Say no, nicely or strategically. You can say no more than you think. Sometimes it’s easy enough as directly turning down an offer to help and other times, you could offer up a process suggestion (like rotating) or suggest another person for the job. At times, this could be interpreted as passing the buck, and at other times, you might be offering an opportunity for another person to gain exposure in a new area (particularly for things like committees, mentoring and interviewing)
  4. Make the housework glamorous. You can’t do this for everything – making coffee is making coffee. Yet, if you’re stuck taking notes or white boarding, you have the unique role of positioning the message and offering strategic next steps. With a retreat, you can turn something regular into a game-changing experience for team or focus on an area important to your work. With training or mentoring colleagues, you can gain allies and build influence across the organization.
  5. Track what’s happening. I mentioned this above and I’ll say it again for emphasis. Managers and individual contributors need to look at what’s happening and if you see patterns that bother you, bring them up. As a mid-level manager, I get asked to contribute in many, many ways, and if I didn’t keep an eye on my commitments, I can easily find myself in trouble. As a manager of staff, I have an amazing team that steps up a lot. When I see them offering too much time or a perspective that might not demonstrate their expertise or skills, I’m quick to bring this up in our 1-on-1 meetings. It’s important to acknowledge the kind of professional behaviors that help us either gain respect or move up in the organization – for women, and for everyone.

Read more on office housekeeping from these sources:

Managing Up

Monday, August 4th, 2014

I’m almost finished with Stanford Manager Academy, a professional development program for managers at the university. Interestingly, many of our conversations during the classroom sessions commonly found their way to the topic of strategies around managing up – it’s an area where people find themselves at a loss and where work gets roadblocked.

Many definitions exist for managing up, and I like the one from Alison Green, the prolific mind behind Ask a Manager. She states that “managing up is about…working with your boss in the way that will produce the best possible results for your team, while at the same time making both your and your manager’s lives easier.”

I wanted to share a few resources I’ve recently run across in this area; a couple of my supervisors have let me know they appreciate my ability to manage up and it’s taken me awhile to fully grasp what that means.

Stanford Webinar: Managing Your Boss

If you work at Stanford, Learning & Organizational Effectiveness offers a free webinar on Managing Your Boss. Don’t let the 1990s appearance of the course fool you – the program is self-paced and has some gems in it. Particularly if you’re new to the workplace or figuring out why your manager seems to ask you about particular things with frequency – this webinar is for you! What I liked most was the concept of thinking about your supervisor’s communication style and how that should feed into your relationship approach – especially if the two of you fall into different categories.

Six Key Principles of Managing Up

Alison Green wrote this piece in Intuit’s The Fast Track blog centered on the following ideas:

  • Focus on what’s within your control.
  • Get aligned.
  • Make your manager’s job easy.
  • Pay attention to what your manager really cares about.
  • Ask for feedback.
  • Be emotionally intelligent.

Earlier in my career, I used to get incredibly frustrated when my supervisor continued to bring up something that seemed resolved to me. Now I’ve learned that means I haven’t closed the loop or made her feel comfortable enough that we can move forward. Overall, your relationship gets better when you try to see the world from your manager’s perspective and see how you can fit into their bigger picture.

How to Get Your Boss to Read Your Emails

Of course, sometimes you’re not focused on ongoing frustrations, and you simply want your boss to respond to an e-mail or deadline. Alison focused a short blog on how to get a good response – tips that can help you when you’re trying to get a reply from anyone, really.

In my job, I work with incredibly busy Stanford faculty and have 3 main principles for my e-mail correspondence with them:

  • Use obvious and action-oriented subject lines. For example: “Seattle: your availability for faculty meeting” and “Reunion CWOQ: your talk information” For co-workers, I always add “FYI:” in front of the subject line to let people know there isn’t an action item associated.
  • Make it easy to reply. If you are attaching a document, why not include it in the body of the e-mail? If you are going to a survey client with 1-2 questions, allow the respondent to reply with their answers in an e-mail. Sometimes it’s more work on your part, but you’re also more likely to get your answer. If you need a decision, have you clearly delineated each option? Also, always include a deadline!
  • Try to limit your e-mail to one request.  This is just good common sense in a world of short e-mails. I don’t always practice what I preach out of necessity, but when you really need particular information by a certain deadline, focusing on one thing will increase your chance of getting a reply.

Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life

I’m currently in the middle of a great book by Patty Azzarello. On the subject of managing up, she focused on thinking about how your manager represents you to senior leadership. A lot of her concrete ideas are in the LOOK Better portion of her book around building credibility. She reminds you that doing good work isn’t always what moves you forward in the organization (especially if no one truly grasps your contribution!)

One of my big takeaways was around presenting to senior leadership. If you’re introducing a lot of new terminology and ideas, as opposed to speaking in their language around existing priorities, you aren’t communicating what they understand as core organizational values and business.

In GoodReads, you can find this book on my Working Smart shelf.

I hope these ideas get the gears turning in this area. I can’t emphasize enough how important this skill is – and the best part is that managing up isn’t only about making your manager’s life easier. When you do it right, it produces great benefits for you in the relationship (happiness and career trajectory), as well as your whole team.

on likeability and having a yes attitude

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Regular readers of my blog might be surprised to see the word yes, since in a past post, I focused on saying no. It’s a reminder that there’s always a time and a place for everything! I came across two of these articles by Guy Kawasaki in the same week, so I knew it meant that I needed to cover the topic.

First, he focused on how to achieve likeability – mostly on accepting others and smiling. He starts with an Oscar Wilde quote, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.” 

I met one of these happiness causers during my Stanford interview more than 8 years ago and we remain good friends to this day. If you work at Stanford, you might know who I’m talking about – NaSun Cho. When I first moved to California, I didn’t know many people. NaSun is known for taking new people under her wing and making introductions and connections to everyone she comes across. She embodies this idea of accepting others, always bringing out the best in people and finding commonalities. I’m glad we’ve remained close, as she’s a constant reminder of how that positive energy feels infectious.

I like to think of this idea as expecting the best from people. If a colleague misses a deadline, doesn’t return a phone call, doesn’t understand what you’re requesting from him/her…the best response is always to expect the best from your team. That moment where you choose how to respond to a misstep is very important in building relationships. We all have bad days and each of us makes a choice on how to respond in various situations, let’s make the choice to be positive.

Smiling is a no-brainer for me. I’m lucky because I tend to smile a lot when I’m nervous, uncertain, etc – it basically covers my bases!

In my organization, the yes attitude certainly means you’re more liked and perceived as someone willing to partner on new ideas and it signals you’re a team player. We’re a matrix organization and it’s easy to put up walls or act defensively as a default during times when you’re short on resources or the scope of an idea feels overwhelming.

I wouldn’t call myself a yes lady, but I strive to embody the idea of “yes, tell me more.” Of course, I can be cautious in the beginning, but when it comes to action, I try to maintain a positive attitude and not say no from the beginning. If you keep saying no, people will stop coming to you with ideas.

In his LinkedIn post on a Yes Attitude, Guy Kawasaki notes that, “A “yes” buys time, enables you to see more options, and builds rapport….By contrast, a “no” response stops everything. There’s no place to go, nothing to build on, and no further options. You never know what may come of a relationship, and you will never know if you don’t let it begin.”

So let’s all try to say “yes” more often this week.

the lost arts of closing the loop, saying i’m sorry, handwritten notes and sleep

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Lostclearly, it’s been awhile since my last post, so with that, i thought i’d focus on lost arts in the professional world.

closing the loop

i’m not sure where this has gone, but i find that an inordinate amount of time is spent in short back and forth e-mail conversations, because someone has left something out. for instance, you run into someone in the hallways who says, we should have lunch some time. if you say yes and s/he emails you asking if you want to grab lunch, it’s not closing the loop if s/he doesn’t throw out some dates that work so you have a starting point. that’s a pretty simplistic situation and answer, but it’s worth thinking about when you need something at work, how you are approaching it that helps close the loop. that’s just being a solid project manager.

read more: What Great Bosses Know About Closing the Loop

apologize when it’s important

acknowledging a problem at work is vital. it helps build trust in relationships, can red flag a problem before it gets too late and builds a communication pipeline. if you know you’re going to miss a deadline or truly messed up on the job, calling it out shows maturity and the acceptance of responsibility. pretending like there’s something wrong or making excuses for yourself is not want people need from you in a professional environment. saying “i’m sorry” can feel like a difficult task, but it’s really quite easy. you are vulnerable for about 2.5 seconds and most colleagues will respond positively to your admission.

read more: The Most Effective Ways to Make It Right When You Screw Up

sleep! really, you need 7-8 hours

i’m not sure that i’ll ever be a morning person or get to bed before midnight – it’s just how i’m wired. at the same time, i am surrounded by highly productive morning people, and many of these strategies work for them. we’re all more productive and pleasant to be around when we’re getting enough shuteye on a day to day basis. there are some great tips to help you jump start your day or move towards being a morning person in this lifehacker piece. my favorite is the last one: J.F.D.I. (click through to find out what that means)

read more: Why You’re Not a Morning Person (and How to Become One)

the importance of handwritten notes

i really don’t believe in using a lot of paper at work and try not to keep files, since everything should be saved on shared drives or scanned so we don’t have paper accumulating in our offices. despite that fact, i firmly believe in the handwritten note. i personally hand-write all faculty thank yous for stanford events where professors speak on behalf of the university. even if it’s something quickly discarded, a handwritten note these days is a gesture of the thought and time you put into considering that person. i wouldn’t hand write something when i’m expecting a response, since that puts a burden on the letter receiver to go out of his/her way – if you want a reply, e-mail away.

read more: Handwritten Notes Are a Rare Commodity. They’re Also More Important Than Ever. 

Are you a really amazing employee?

Friday, March 8th, 2013

I don’t think everyone should be amazing, since we all come to work each day with different perspectives about what that 40 or more hours means to each of us. That said, a recent post in Inc. on the 10 Things Really Amazing Employees Do got me thinking about the subject.  I like their list and there are 4 standouts for me that I try to exhibit:

  • Enthusiastically Learn All Aspects of Business
  • Demonstrate High Standards, With Low Maintenance
  • Grow Themselves, and Others
  • Stimulate Happiness

Learn it All. When you show up to work, putting in the time is a given, and striving to learn more about the current context and future direction of your industry is very important. For my job in particular, this means staying attuned to what’s happening at Stanford across the board from the student experience, major sports, university priorities and understanding my primary audience, faculty and their world. I regularly read university publications, look for Stanford in the news beyond, pore through every set of Faculty Senate notes and stay current with the makeup of the student and faculty bodies. Beyond Stanford, checking in with colleagues at other Ivy Plus institutions and keeping tabs on the latest in content and online learning is incredibly important. Knowing this background helps inform my work and honestly, it keeps me energized and full of purpose.

High Standards, Low Maintenance. I have incredibly high standards and find myself having to dial it back and pick and choose my battles. In managing staff, it’s very important to hope for the best and motivate others to maintain a similarly high level of excellence so you don’t have to micromanage their efforts. Despite the high standards, the low maintenance part is key. How many times have you been a part of a project where you aren’t the most senior person related to the decision – you do a huge amount of work and it can be derailed when it’s brought to decision makers? For those with certain expectations, especially leaders and decision makers, it’s paramount to articulate must haves from the get go so that others can be on the same page, or build in check-ins before others have gone down the wrong path.

Grow! It’s an expectation in management-level positions to grow others around you, but I’ve found it’s one of my favorite things about work. This doesn’t even have to be a formal mentor relationship, but taking the time to get advice from senior-level staff or peers can be invaluable. Asking for feedback in tough situations can only help your job to better, and let’s face it, people love to be asked for these kinds of things. Don’t devalue the impact of little things, like providing feedback to peers, or just being a listening ear when a colleague needs to vent or work through a difficult situation. Regular readers know from my blog that I am a voracious consumer of all things learning. The more professional and personal development you can do from productivity to technical skills to exercise/nutrition will all make you a better and happier person.

Exude Happiness. We work more than we sleep, more than we spend time with our loved ones…more than anything. In some ways, that means that work is life. I don’t say this in a negative way at all, but when you do the math around your day and factor in your commute, it’s a lot of time. You are valuable and you should enjoy what you do and why you’re doing it. If not, find something else. We all have some level of agency in choosing our careers, so find something you love and show up with a smile and ready to connect with colleagues and tackle projects. This isn’t only important for really amazing employees, but for everyone.

The Six People You Need in Your Life

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

This blog is a long time coming, as I’ve been in the weeds at work. If you find yourself visiting this page to see if I’ve written something new, did you know you can subscribe to e-mail updates when there’s a new post? Just enter your e-mail address on the right hand side.

Last month, I saw this great piece in Forbes, reminding me that you can’t get anything done alone in the workplace. It’s all about finding the right people to help you stay motivated, happy and successful in your job.

This photo represents the instigator. That’s the person I strive to be, as it’s more aspirational and forward-thinking. For most people, I probably fall into the category as the taskmaster, since I manage so many projects around the Alumni Association.

I think it’s an interesting exercise to go through the list and  first consider how your co-workers might see you, especially looking at how that relates to who you think you represent in the office. Beyond that, go through the list and see if you have your bases covered for these office advocates.

  • Instigator
  • Cheerleader
  • Doubter
  • Taskmaster
  • Connector
  • Example

For myself, I think I’m missing a good connector in my work life. Anyone want to volunteer to help me out? Otherwise, I feel like I have a strong base of people that keep me energized and focused around here.

A Lesson from Improv: Accept All Offers

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

I haven’t been taking my own advice of breaking seemingly big things into smaller pieces. In the last month, I’ve gone to several influential trainings and talks ready to be blogged about. I had this lofty idea to combine them into one post, but I think that feat seemed so big I’ve never gotten around to it, so today I’ll just review one of the them.

In May, I went to a workshop by Dan Klein at Stanford entitled, Improvisation: Collaborative Creativity and the Art of Making Stuff Up. The experience was a bit of a game changer for me in that it’s shifted the ways I’m approaching my every day life. He reviewed some basic improv principles.

Our first exercises caused us to think about how often we say “no” or “yes, but,” which turns out to be a no in reality. This thinking made me reflect upon how many times I’ve heard “yes, but” in the workplace, especially right after someone brings up an issue or idea. We practiced some exercises where our job was not to be inspired, but to inspire our partner through building sentences. The message really resonated with me on being an active follower.

Around coming up with ideas and tackling problems, Dan had many catch phrases and words of wisdom including:

  • imagination is as easy as perception
  • raise the stakes. allow it to be important
  • don’t fight against the cat (when you’re trying not to think about something in particular and it’s all you can think about)
  • every exercise is a good excuse for a debrief
  • be average, be obvious
  • how do you signal status in your interactions

When he noted that this is where you end up:

Yes = adventure

No = safety

It makes the choice pretty clear that Yes is the way to go. It doesn’t mean you are always committing to the idea, but that you’re open to dialogue and newness. One of my favorite exercises we did was one designed for a group to constantly make mistakes when you’re ‘on stage.’ The idea was for us to go through messing up over and over again, failing cheerfully, and taking a bow. It was pretty fun to go through the motions and actually raise your voice with a “ta da!” for my actions. Improvisers love mistakes and think about how they can use them to their advantage. Of course, this also has implications for our daily work life.

Most impactful for me about the workshop was saying yes more often and accepting all offers from the world. When something falls into your lap personally or professionally, why not give it a chance and see what happens? Opening doors can only show you the possibilities life has to offer you. I challenge you all to think about accepting offers that come your way.

If you prefer a video recap of improv, watch Jane Lynch’s commencement address to Smith College.

On Procrastination and Letting Go

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

PROCRASTINATION

Believe it or not, I’ve had procrastination as my next blog topic for awhile, not only because this post is long overdue. Fast Company had a great article, Get to Work by Meeting Procrastination Head-On, with some quick tips to consider. Basically, to do the following:

  • declutter and do any tasks immediately that take less than 2 minutes
  • avoid busy work – stop organizing your to do lists and just do it!
  • do the heavy stuff instead of pushing that to the bottom of your list
  • avoid priority dilution (don’t just respond to incoming e-mail!)
This feels like great advice, especially since they are around clever tactics we employ to procrastinate. I often wonder why inboxes are the way they are. Gmail has created a priority inbox to try to help. I flag my e-mails to process them better, moving less urgent e-mails to a “later” folder and highlighting urgent items.

LETTING GO

Another interesting post I ran across focused on the things we hold onto that prevent us from being happier and better. Perhaps it’s appropriate it comes from a site called the Purpose Fairy: 15 Things You Should Give Up to Be Happy. My favorites to think about around the workplace include:

  • give up your need for control (aren’t all project managers control freaks on some level?)
  • give up complaining (it’s infectious in a team environment)
  • give up the luxury of criticism (some times your feedback is more valuable than others. it’s not always necessary to weigh in.)

While you’re letting all of these other things go, what you should hold onto the most is a deep seated feeling of expecting the best out of your colleagues. Especially in matrix organizations, it’s easy to point fingers, place blame or just group co-workers in categories. When things go wrong (or right!) the best course of action is always to expect the best – that person didn’t mean to drop the ball – maybe I forgot to send a reminder – he or she probably has another huge priority project. When you expect your peers have the best intentions, it really creates a more supportive and friendly atmosphere. If you put out that good energy, hopefully the universe (and your co-workers) return it back to you.

Choose your battles – and your projects

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Matrix organizations such as the one I belong to, often lead some differences of opinion that sometimes go your way and sometimes don’t. Any job presents situations where within a group, some ideas rise to the top and others sink to the bottom. Additionally, depending on the groupthink involved, the chosen path might be the right one or led off from its the intended purpose. For some reason, I find myself in this situation often – usually several times in a week, perhaps based on my particular job.

Chip Conley did a tangentially related talk on Rypple recently about solving for happiness at work. Most relevant were his comments on anxiety, as he suggests you ask yourself the following questions.

  1. What don’t I know?
  2. What can I influence?
  3. What can’t I influence?

I think this is an immensely helpful barometer to help you choose your emotional battles. Honestly, if you have no influence and don’t have an alternate path to get there, it’s a waste of your time and energy to allow it to take up brain space. It’s the same idea that stress is when you want something to be a certain way and it isn’t. In a situation where you have no power to change it, don’t get upset or find a way around it.

This extends beyond the job. A small example is that there are times when I really can’t stand the slowness of the line in the alumni cafe downstairs. On a busy day, it’s a waste for me to spend emotional energy on getting irritated by the wait. My solution? Either grab and go to avoid it altogether, or get in a short walk in the sunshine and go somewhere else. It sounds simple and silly, but there are plenty of people put into similar repetitively irritating experiences who continue to get fired up – myself included.

Back to the subject of choosing your projects. I care deeply about the work that I do and since I have a perfectionist instinct, I’m always ready to go to bat for my ideas, as exhausting as that can sometimes be. If I feel like there’s a right decision, especially if I’ve invested thought and data into the process, it can be difficult for me to walk away. In a couple of meetings over the last two weeks, I’ve said my piece and when the decision goes the other way, I’ve just let it go, which can be refreshingly liberating.

With a 10 day vacation coming up this week, necessity has altered my perspective on my pile of work as well, and I think it’s a healthy experience. You eventually reach a place where it’s clear that it’s impossible to accomplish everything and decisions have to be made. The key is to know which items can fall off the list and how you manage those expectations. I’ll actually use Basecamp if I had something scheduled to do this week, by moving the milestone back a month or two if I can and don’t think about it until the time arises. Equally important is taking a wide view to determine what’s absolutely critical. In the next two days, I’ll be assessing my work, letting people know what I can’t finish and just let the rest go. This way, I can have a physical and AND mental vacation while I’m out of the office.

Do status meetings work?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Today I had a BeWell appointment, swiftly followed by four meetings that ran straight through my lunch hour. Lucky for me, only 1 of these constituted a status update meeting, but depending on the time of year, 2 more of these would turn into an hour where colleagues give brief updates around the table.

According to a recent survey by Harris Interactive,  I’m not alone in feeling these lead to counterproductive meetings, as “only 30 percent of U.S. information workers feel status meetings help them accomplish work tasks, and 40 percent believe status meetings are a waste of time.” For me, the most shocking findings from the survey were that half of information workers find preparing the information takes longer than the meeting itself and then spend 1-3 hours attending meetings to update each other. Shocking! Add to that people showing up late, not attending, playing on their phone, etc. and there’s a lot of time wasted.

I don’t find this is always the case. I’m do believe in productive, efficient meetings. You can realize this with a quick look at my calendar, where I frequently schedule 30 minute meetings and get project updates that aren’t on a weekly basis.

It’s a new year and I’ve noticed managers trying out new staff meeting tactics. Our team is still deciding the best format that makes sense. Another department is doing weekly updates through e-mail and the director consolidates and sends out notes. This works well if everyone submits and reads them – especially more effective for a team that is often traveling.

Here are a few tips from me to help you organize successful meetings:

  • Does a meeting even need to happen? Consider alternatives like a status update.
  • For project teams, is a weekly basis overkill? Why not organize these meetings around project milestones and collaborative topics instead?
  • The facilitator has to do the job of running the meeting. The facilitator should not consider herself/himself as an attendee as much as an organizer to ensure everyone is focused and on topic.
  • Know your meeting objective. Send it out in advance if that’s helpful.
  • If you send out the agenda, do this in the body of the e-mail instead of as an attachment. If I attend 10 meetings in a week and everyone sent an attached agenda, how many will I actually open in advance? If you want to increase chances your agenda gets read, placing text in the e-mail body allows colleagues to read on their phone or while glancing through e-mail.
  • How much time do you need? 30 minutes will often suffice. 45 minutes is ideal and attainable with some thought put into it. Also, everyone will show up on time to their next meeting, since you planned well.
  • Finally, outline next steps and responsibilities resulting from the meeting. It should feel like there was progress, or why did you all sit around the table in the first place?