Working From Home: AKA, How to Keep Your Cat out of your Zoom Meeting

Ahhh, working from home.  It sounds so dreamy, and it’s portrayed on TV as the most easily executable task there ever was.  Picture it:  the kids are off to school.  The kitchen is sparkling clean from the previous night’s family dinner, where afterwards you enjoyed a nice card game as a family. Your house is clean, smells like freshly baked cookies while you sit in your favorite comfortable chair, sipping coffee out of a nice mug that has a sentiment on it like “Mom of the Year” or “Best Dad Ever”.  What a dream, right?

Except… that is not how it worked out for ANY of us in real life.  Suddenly, we were in the middle of a pandemic.  We began prepping at Partners, just “in case” we were suddenly working from home.  Technology was checked for all employees to determine what tasks each staff member would still be able to perform with their current remote setups at home.   Lists were made of things we would need to have with us, in order to keep a smooth flow going for all Partners’ clients.

Fast forward to the second week of March 2020 – the schools in our county go on Spring Break, never to have another day of school for the 2020 school year.  We are suddenly in quarantine, and all of our “just in case” plans are now “make it happen” plans, and we are all working from home.   We all agreed: working from home is just not as glamorous as it looks on TV.

Staff meetings and client team meetings are now happening via Zoom.  Half of us have sound, no video.  The other half of us have video and no sound.  We are all looking like something the cat drug in with un-brushed hair, trying to help each other with our tech struggles over the phone.  The good news?  We all worked through it together.  In addition, we are all now Zoom experts serving the company well, as we are still not traveling currently for company or client events.

I feel comfortable sharing some of the most important takeaways I gained from our journey:

  • Stay on your routine. Set your alarms, and “go to work” like it is any other day.  Not doing this will ensure complete chaos.  Trust me on this one.
  • Schedule breaks to execute your tasks that are NOT work related. If you jump up 30 times a day to do “just that one thing”, you will lose your train of thought every single time.
  • Stay connected to your coworkers – even a simple text or phone call will remind you that you are all a team.
  • Remember the physical background of your home office and execute Zoom meetings without your cat in the room!

We have been so fortunate here at Partners to have amazing management who have guided us through this pandemic with astounding patience.  We may still be in a strange spot, but we are certainly all prepared for the future.

Ricki Romig

 

Achieving Results through Successful Committees

By: Dee Kring, CAE, CMP

Whether you’ve chaired them, served on them or staffed them, you recognize that successful committees don’t just happen without some effort and thoughtful planning.   Committees play a huge role in the overall success of an organization and their ability to meet their goals and objectives.

What can we do ensure successful committees? The following isn’t an exhaustive list, but a few tips I’ve found helpful: Continue reading “Achieving Results through Successful Committees”

Tips of the Trade – Board of Director Relations

By: Bennett Napier, CAE

My entire career in association management has been in the association management company arena. Working in the AMC environment, I have had the privilege to work with many associations, large and small, functional and dysfunctional and everything in between.

Regardless of structure or size, not for profits are a people business and outcomes (positive or negative) are achieved by the efforts of the people involved, both volunteers and staff.

Here are some useful but not original tips to consider. I can attest that if applied consistently and with conviction, they will achieve positive results. Continue reading “Tips of the Trade – Board of Director Relations”

6 Tips for New Chairs in the New Year

By: Eric Thorn, Esq. 

Each new year brings many new things.  And since many non-profit organizations have calendar year based terms for their officers, a new board chair or president is often one of them.  Frequently this is their first time leading a meeting in a more formal manner.

The following are six tips to help your new president or board chair start off the new year on the right foot: Continue reading “6 Tips for New Chairs in the New Year”

Wait, Too Many People are Talking at Once!

By: Lauren Millard

How many times has this happened to you?  You’ve been on a conference call, or in a board meeting, and too many people try to talk at once.  When this happens it can cause frustration for everyone involved.  The “talkers” aren’t being heard, and those listening can’t follow anything going on.

conference

We recently held a Job Task Analysis for one of our certification programs, which involved over 20 enthusiastic people who all wanted their idea to be heard.  To help alleviate some of the frustration, we were able to implement some basic guidelines to ensure the meeting was effective, and all the ideas were heard.  Continue reading “Wait, Too Many People are Talking at Once!”

How Does Your Board Orientation Stack Up?

By: Rachel Luoma, MS, CAE

One of the most important aspects of board management, which can often be undervalued and underutilized, is a proper board orientation for new and incoming volunteer leadership. The board orientation is the best opportunity for welcoming a new board member, teaching them about the association, the expectations, the processes and the culture.

Think about it like this – would you hire a new staff member without providing them with some initial information and training? I sure hope the answer is no! If someone isn’t properly on-boarded, can they really be effective?

Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of MR LIGHTMAN at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A 2003 Study called the, Mellon Learning Curve Research Study showed that the average time for new hires, external to the organization, to achieve their full level of productivity ranged from between eight weeks and 20 weeks depending on the profession.

Fast forward to board orientations…what are you doing as an association to ensure that your board members, who essentially are external hires of your association volunteer leadership are effective on the shortest time possible?

So, ask yourself, how does your board orientation measure up?

Take the quick 10 question assessment below to see how your board orientation measures up and to help identify gaps in your program.

  1. Do you provide your new leadership with a copy of the current association budget, a copy of the association’s most recent financial statement and/or a copy of the most recent audited financial statement?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with information relative to their board responsibilities (i.e. job description, behavioral expectations, attendance requirements, etc.)?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with written association policies (i.e. antitrust, conflict of interest disclosure, etc.)?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with copies of the current articles of incorporation and bylaws?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with information on all standing committees and task forces?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with a current copy of the association’s strategic plan?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with meeting minutes for the previous year so they are aware of recent board decisions?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with information on staff and who to contact for what?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you provide your new leadership with information relative to the difference between board roles and staff roles?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points
  1. Do you have an orientation call or in person meeting for new leadership?
  • YES, prior to the term – 3 points
  • YES, within the first few months of the term – 1 point
  • NO – 0 points

BONUS: Add 1 additional point if an outside facilitator is used for this call or meeting.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

SCORING

20 to 31 points – Congrats! Your board orientation seems to be very comprehensive and you seem to be anticipating the information that your board needs and providing it in advance.  You should teach a class!

10 to 19 points – You are on the right track! It sounds like you are working to provide a sound orientation for your board.  Keep up the great work!

0 to 9 points – Sounds like there are opportunities for improvement! Consider if items are missing or if you might be able to provide them earlier to make sure that new board members start off on the right foot.


So, how did you measure up? Are you brave enough to share it in the comments of this blog?

Bottom Line: No matter what you scored on the assessment above, there are always opportunities for improvement on your board orientation. If you are a member of an SAE, such as the Florida Society of Association Executives, ask your fellow members what they do as they on-board new volunteer leadership.  Or take a moment to ask your current volunteer leaders what information they wish they would have received prior to their term or within the first few months of their term.

Additionally, below are a few great resources for improving your board orientation program:

What other great resources do you have to share?  Please post them below in the comments section of the blog.  Happy orienting!

RachelLuomaBio