The PMA Blog

Speeding up to Slow down

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 4/29/22 1:29 PM

 

What???

"She must have that backwards!  For years she's been teaching us to slow down to speed up and now she says it’s the other way around?"

Every day I ask people to invest in themselves and their process improvement.  This requires slowing down, learning, tweaking, changing process, and changing behavior so that they might accelerate their growth and results. 

Today it occurred to me that people are not always truly leveraging their results to move the biggest rocks.  Learning to triage and process email twice as fast has very little impact if you use the time saved to do low priority items.  Only by taking that extra time and using it to slow down will you truly achieve quantum leaps. 

How do you slow down?
By slowing down I mean taking the time required to work on hard things.  Things like relationships.  Complex problems, systems and strategy vs tasks.  Taking the time to really understand what will move the dial and then using the extra time to make those things happen. 

In 2016, Cal Newton changed my life with his book, Deep Work.  It was the best summer reading I've ever done because the simple concept of carving out time to think and work deeply was simply not a point of consciousness for me.  Since then, I've built in "focus time" almost every week, month and quarter with the duration increasing as needed for the most important work. In fact, I used it to write this blog today.  This practice simply would not be possible without an equal and opposite practice of moving very quickly through the things that do not require intense focus.

So how do you speed up?
Take the areas of work that do not require intense focus and begin to streamline, automate and develop a practice of rapid triage!

Rapid Triage Method

  1. Clearly identify all the inbound sources of work.  email, chat, meetings, calls, your brain, CRMs, etc.
  2. Develop a clear understanding or your sort choices for any inbound source.  Here's mine:
    • Delete or let go
    • If less than 2 mins, take action right away
    • If action needed, Stage it (Outlook Task or Calendar)
    • If recall needed, Store it (Teams or OneNote)

By being crystal clear about the choices and the locations of where things will go, I can move my pace into double time. I've come to love the day after a Focus Day or vacation week because I can plow through a massive amount of inbound work and traffic in a very short period of time. 

Next, you need to add some automation wherever possible. How can you start using email templates, rules, quick steps, quick parts, search folders to take your triage to warp speed.  If these seem overwhelming, join us in our next WorkingSm@rt + Outlook program for a little help navigating. If you're interested please feel free to contact Gene Venuto at evenuto@pmaphil.com.

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All

Ramping up Quickly with Microsoft Teams

Posted by Stephanie Sibille and Deb Cullerton on 3/16/22 7:25 AM

 

So, you just got Microsoft Teams...now what? It’s just another Skype, right? Not really.

 We've all heard it by now. The low-pitched "ding" that comes through your speakers, usually accompanied by a concurrent purple pop-up window. It can mean lots of things - a response to a question that you have been needing to get answered, more work that you need to complete - or random chatter from a distribution list that you have never signed up for. But dig a little deeper, and things can start to get messy. There's a flurry of IMs coming through, and you can't keep up. Or you've been added to channels than you don’t even recognize, and you don’t know why. Or you get notified any time a file or tab gets added to a team, and you have no idea if you should ignore it or if you are suddenly missing something important that you need to be diligently checking.

 So, the big question becomes: Is Microsoft Teams a productivity goldmine or a reactivity trap?

 While it may feel like Teams has quickly gone from instant answers to firefighting central, there are some ways to bring it back to what it was designed to be – a central hub for all of your internal communication, where you can find what you need in an instant.

 While that may sound too good to be true, our years of using Teams and many conversations with internal experts have allowed us to build a strategy to get a handle on your Teams quickly.


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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

7 Ways to Improve Your Virtual Team Meetings

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 3/13/20 4:50 PM

With many of us moving to home offices for a while, the number of virtual meetings has skyrocketed leaving many people feeling ill-prepared to run high quality meetings.  Use these 7 tips to improve the results immediately:
 
1. Do the basics that we all should do whether the meeting is live, virtual or hybrid.  Send the purpose and objectives for the meeting with the meeting invitation, then consider ways to engage your meeting attendees.  Be sure to end with actions committed and decisions made.  Then, you're in great shape to make the transition to hybrid or virtual meeting format.  To double check your meeting fundamentals, download our meeting facilitation job aid for a helpful checklist.

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

PMA's Response to Coronavirus (COVID–19)

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 3/12/20 6:00 AM

 As an organization, PMA Philadelphia has been closely tracking Coronavirus (COVID–19) and the impact it continues to have on businesses and communities.

The most common feedback we’re hearing from customers is that they are considering whether to curtail or even eliminate travel, rethinking participation in company training and industry conferences, planning for remote worker support, and/or taking a firmer stance on employee illness and related attendance.  Our team is here to help and we’re taking several steps to help our customers manage through this time of need and crisis response.  
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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

Our most popular blog of 2019: Is the People Stuff Getting You Down?

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 1/14/20 9:35 AM

The votes are in for 2019 most popular blog! This blog is full of tips for taking your work relationships to a new level of success. Be sure to take advantage of the download "Know Your Colleagues"!  

I was coaching a client last week and asked about his progress since he went to our WorkingSm@rt class.   He said, "Well, I'm more organized and more focused but I haven't solved the one issue that takes up more time than almost anything else -- the people stuff!”.

I knew he was saying it tongue in cheek, but he winced a little as he said it and I knew there was more truth there than he was comfortable with.  I wish I could say it was the first time I've heard this complaint, but it's not.  It's impossible to focus on people's productivity without consistently running into the challenging people issues that can take up significant chunks of our day.

 So, without ado, I thought I’d outline three people areas that waste significant time in our workplaces with a few solutions that can make a significant impact:

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Topics: Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

6 Ways to Scale Up Your Team Capacity

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 9/10/19 7:58 AM

Automate your repetitive processes.

Identifying all repetitive tasks in a process is a great way to quickly surface opportunities for automation.

Consider templates, checklists and rules in Outlook, Gmail, OneNote, Keep and other applications as a non-programmers option for automating. With increases in communications, an automated process for client contacts can save a team a bunch of time. Scheduling applications like Fullslate, AppointmentPlus, Acuity, TimeTap and Bookings (free in MS 365) can save everyone on the team countless hours playing phone tag and emailing people with new appointment options when you work with external clients or vendors whose schedules you can't see.

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Topics: Organizational &Talent Development, Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters, HR Executives

Stop Working So Much!

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 5/8/19 6:50 AM

It's in my blood!  I grew up in a family that rewarded it.  For many years I believed it was responsible for everything good in my life.  I have always put it in my top 3 values and traits.  And, I now believe (and it kills me to say so) that I was wrong.  In fact, it may be my biggest limitation in achieving both my professional and personal goals.  While I have spent years jumping in and working more and harder when things get dicey, I realized now that this hard work ethic has, at times, caused me to:

  • Make the wrong prioritizing decisions at times when my health, my family life and my spiritual needs were on the line.
  • Become judgmental when others chose differently.
  • Measure "hours in play" instead of results.
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Topics: Productivity for All

Is the "People Stuff" Getting You Down?

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 3/19/19 7:25 AM

I was coaching a client last week and asked about his progress since he went to our WorkingSm@rt class.   He said, "Well, I'm more organized and more focused but I haven't solved the one issue that takes up more time than almost anything else -- the people stuff!”.

I knew he was saying it tongue in cheek, but he winced a little as he said it and I knew there was more truth there than he was comfortable with.  I wish I could say it was the first time I've heard this complaint, but it's not.  It's impossible to focus on people's productivity without consistently running into the challenging people issues that can take up significant chunks of our day.

 So, without ado, I thought I’d outline three people areas that waste significant time in our workplaces with a few solutions that can make a significant impact:

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Topics: Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

Running Meetings with Purpose:  Wait, Why Are We Here?

Posted by Stephanie Sibille and Deb Cullerton on 2/6/19 11:39 AM

Last week, as I plugged into my computer and logged into my video conferencing software, I found myself asking this exact question. It was the end of a long week, and I was meeting with some industry colleagues to discuss a potential upcoming project. While the work was exciting and I was happy to connect with my colleagues, I found myself dreading this particular phone meeting.  Why, you ask?

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Topics: Productivity for All, All About Teams, Leadership Matters

Finding TIME to Achieve Your Goals

Posted by Deb Cullerton on 1/16/19 8:59 AM

In LEAN Six Sigma, there is an acronym for 8 different forms of operational waste called DOWNTIME (defects, overproduction, waiting, not utilizing staff talent, travel, inventory, motion, excess processing). This has me thinking about my own time this month as we head into the new year with big audacious (maybe not hairy) goals.  Where will the time to make these things happen actually come from?

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Topics: Productivity for All

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