Tag Archive: appreciate

Getting Organized in the New Year

February 4th, 2019

I imagine I am not alone in thinking about getting organized in the New Year. My 4th grade teacher told my mom that I was the most organized child she had ever seen (far more organized than most adults she knew, even though she owned a business and was in politics in addition to teaching). Given that endorsement, I knew I better get back to living up to my 4th grade teacher’s praises.  So, after returning from Arizona where my mom and I organized a major portion of the house that required focused attention (since my dad passed away a few years ago) I decided I’d return to organization by early January. I am >90% there!

Why does being organized matter? I have found that you are faster, on top of critical topics and focused when organized. As my mom used to complain about her situation, she would have a piece of paper one minute, walk into another room, and it would disappear. Now she is talking about “everything having a place”. It could save you countless hours over the course of a year. Do you have extra time to look for papers or files? Worse yet, are you satisfied providing less than optimal answers and responses because you can’t find it?

One tip to implement this week:
As much as I enjoy that my 4th grade teacher appreciated my organization, it isn’t rocket science. Do you categorize information so that you can find it later? If it is in the computer, is it searchable by key word? Try using easy systems a 4th grader would understand. Color code so you can find what you need easily. Clean up your area so you don’t have to go through sift through clutter. Get rid of junk. If you haven’t used it for a year, do you really think you’ll use it now? Actually one of my global consulting strategy group members prompted me into action on this topic. His garage was more organized than anything I have ever seen. I figured the least I could do was get my work area into good shape after seeing his garage!

Don’t be afraid to spend wisely. My APICS Inland Empire Board of Directors group has APICS-IE emails; however, they forwarded to our personal emails. One of our key members changed jobs at the end of the year.  That prompted us to decide we should upgrade to Microsoft 365 so that we would have a natural archive (and don’t need to spend hours looking for invoices, class rosters and the like in mountains of emails). Worse yet, if someone was sick or changed jobs and didn’t send the files to another board member, we would lose critical information. We are organizing as well! The same is true for the storage of files. If you can’t easily access files, search and upload/download, is the $16 you save really worth it?  NO!

Start small and find a relevant pile and organize it. These “small things” add up. Soon, you’ll have saved a week. By the end of the year, perhaps you’ll have saved a month! Imagine what you’ll do with the extra time.

 



Holiday Cards & the Personal Touch

January 2nd, 2019

Certainly when it comes to what I’ve really been thinking, there is no doubt  that “holiday cards” are on my mind!  It has actually become somewhat funny. I have a bit of an assembly line going with Outlook updates (it makes no sense to send cards to old addresses or to miss new clients!), envelopes, stamps (both domestic and international), adding a personal note, and for a few groups, inserting a relevant brochure or letter.  And my mom’s envelopes were thrown in for good measure to lend a helping hand.

There have definitely been days (even before I started) when I wondered whether it is worth it. What I have always thought is if I couldn’t personalize the card, I wouldn’t send it. With that said, I think there is something to be said for the personal touch so I carry on!  Who doesn’t appreciate the personal touch? I often find myself at Olive Garden for lunch, sitting at the bar and working on my laptop. They usually bring my order without me saying a word. The other day, the manager bought my lunch and just had the server tell me it was taken care of. Nice personal touch!  Do you add a personal touch now and then?

One tip to implement this week:
It is quite easy to add a personal touch. It isn’t common or expected and it isn’t rocket science. Think about one of your colleagues. What does he/she appreciate?  Do NOT think about what you would like if you were this colleague. It is unlikely to be the same answer. I learned that lesson quite a long time ago when I was a VP of Operations. I couldn’t understand why a direct report would do the things she was doing. It made no sense to me.  If I asked, she answered 100% opposite of what was happening but believed what she said. It turns out that my best friend helped me understand what no business book could – this person had a different reality and saw things in her version of reality. If I wanted to provide a personal touch in her case, I’d have to transform my thinking into her reality.  

Fast forward to earlier this year….   I had to laugh because I took a test for a train-the-trainer class, and my answers (to what turned out to be a personality test of how I like to work) came out very different from my preferences. No one told me to answer the test for me. I answered the questions how I assume most clients would prefer! Strangely, the other consultant in the room did the same thing!  Go Valerie!

The good news is ….it isn’t typically that hard. People are happy to tell you what is important to them and it is easy to pick it up on it by what they do and say.  For example, if one of your employees values task completion and hard work, don’t recognize them by giving them time off. Instead, recognize the significant accomplishment with a specific comment that shows you understand what was required to achieve it.