Communicating to Connect, Inform, and Lead in Virtual Work Environments

Carole Deerin, a manager with Hewlett Packard who works virtually with colleagues around the world, is our guest blogger this week.  Please join us in welcoming Carole and picking up proven communication how-tos on leading and managing a widely distributed workforce.  

Out of sight, out of mind –This is something you definitely don’t want when you work in a company where many people are working virtually.

While not an expert, I pride myself on managing through an extensive career in a corporate environment, being part of an acquired organization and quickly establishing myself as a manager who can lead through change.  I want my manager to know that I’m here contributing every day.   It is just as important that my employees know I hear them and am available for them so they can perform their jobs successfully.   A good communications plan that I follow consistently enables me to engage up, down, and across with colleagues.

Communicate Read more

Focus to Work Effectively Online

In preparing for a recent overnight visit from long-time friends, I was reminded of the French phrase mise en place—establishing intent and work plan by putting the food items and equipment in place in the kitchen prior to cooking. Since my brigade de cuisine is mainly me, I had to work ahead of their arrival and line up tools and ingredients to make the final preparations for dinner go fast, look easy, and still have time to socialize. My husband and I succeeded. The four of us enjoyed our time together, our friends loved the food, and the leftovers became our “meal of the week,” i.e., we kept eating until it was all gone!

This experience made me think of mise en place in regard to working online. How do we ensure that we have the right readiness–whether it is mindset, clarity of purpose, space, and equipment to accomplish the things most important to us?

When the mind is ready, the opportunity to learn appears.

Before Desk

My Desk Before Focus

Leo Babauta came to my rescue. His Focus: Simplicity in the Age of Distraction ebook, free and available here, beautifully captures the challenges of our current time:

“…we have distractions coming from every direction. In front of us is the computer, with email notifications and other notifications of all kinds. Then there’s the addicting lure of the browser, which contains not only an endless amount of reading material that can be a black hole into which we never escape, but unlimited opportunities for shopping, for chatting with other people, for gossip and news and lurid photos and so much more. All the while, several new emails have come in, waiting for a quick response. Several programs are open at once, each of them with tasks to complete. Several people would like to chat, dividing our attention even further. ” Read more

Is Learning the New Fountain of Youth?

Like many of us I embark on new year’s resolutions, those promises to myself for self-improvement. In addition to my perennial resolutions of  losing 10 pounds, exercising more regularly, being present in the moment, I review my learning plan for the year.

I am energized about my learning plan as it leads me to new territories, places, and mental challenges. As part of my learning plan for 2013, I decided to broaden my learning horizons beyond my comfort zone, and subscribed to the Harvard Business Review as one of my action steps. In this month’s edition, Wolfgang Lutz wrote an interesting column on aging and productivity and prosperity. He says “…education has been shown to be a key determinant of better health, longer life, and higher productivity (not to mention open-mindedness). “ Read more