Get Shift Done: Management

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Most leaders manage to get through their entire careers without needing to deal with a highly talented team member who’s also highly volatile. But some of us aren’t that lucky.

I had an incredibly able and high potential team member who was passionate about her work and her area of expertise. Unfortunately, she was too passionate. She would get keyed up in discussions with anyone, at any level — people who were on her team, leaders of other teams, me, even the president of the company.

After several discussions on the subject, it became clear she was blissfully unaware of her reactions, or how it affected those around her. …


Get Shift Done: Management

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Over the past couple of decades, many companies began using job titles that were…a little unusual. From the Chief People Person to the Digital Marketing Magician, Wizard of Light Bulb Moments, and Director of Fundom, it’s become hard to understand what people actually do.

On the upside, this is fun, especially for startups that want to break free and stand out. One the downside, the meaning of titles, especially those with no counterpart outside of their organization, have become opaque and confusing.

What’s the harm? Titles are more than just a bunch of words. Titles convey important information in a quick way including: seniority, skill sets, and scope of responsibility. …


Get Shift Done: Management

Failure is only one of the risks that innovators face

Businesses have always pushed for innovation, but traditionally most of the focus was on improving existing products. In recent years however, that’s changed as more companies have launch “radical” innovation projects — ones that leap outside the box. The result? Failure is no longer the greatest risk of innovation.

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The Big Failure In The Room

In 2015 I collaborated with some of my management peers to propose an “lab” of sorts within our organization. Due to the high chance of failure, company leadership was reluctant to commit resources to the project. …


Get Shift Done: Management

Your boss is going to make a mistake at some point. And you might be the lucky one who notices. The question is, what should you do about it, and how do you handle it?

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First, it’s important to make sure you’re raising appropriate concerns at the proper time and in a productive way. Happily, there are some basic dos and don’ts you can follow to guide you through this potentially sticky situation.

Let’s Start With How

Why start with how? Because why and when won’t matter if you talk to your boss in a way that makes them tune out.

DON’T literally use the words “You’re wrong.” I don’t care how awesome your boss is, and how much you think they can handle it. …


Get Shift Done: Management

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When you manage knowledge workers — especially developers and other IT staff — you encounter a lot of introverts. They like to work on their own, prefer quiet and solitude, and enjoy digging into problems.

While some of these folks learn to push past their discomfort, as a rule introverts don’t speak up in meetings, nor do they jump at a chance to present or lead collaboration sessions. They’re often overlooked in favor of more extroverted employees — and that’s risky business.

As Susan Cain writes in her wonderful book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, nearly one-third of the population are introverts. If many of them aren’t contributing — or being given the chance to contribute—to the conversation, then your company is losing out on the ideas and input of a good chunk of its staff. …


Get Shift Done: Management

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Image source: WOCinTech Chat on Flickr

Over the years, my really good teams have by and large been pretty strange. Not in a bad way, but in a way where every person on the team was an individual, and yet worked together as a single unit.

Each team had a unique culture, and the last thing I wanted to do was bring in a new person that would throw that dynamic out the window.

But I did have to bring in new people from time to time. …


Get Shift Done: Tips and Tricks

Trello is such a powerful way to keep your projects organized, but it can also get a little unwieldy. With Trello’s powerful search features and operators you can quickly find boards and cards, see what’s assigned to you (and others) and even get a quick glance at what’s due, when.

Using Search to Find a Board or Card

That little search box at the top of your Trello window is a powerful thing. Start by clicking in the search box.

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Trello immediately drops down a help and search results window below the search textbox. …


Get Shift Done: Tips and Tricks

If you’re just getting started with MailChimp, you probably have some email addresses that you shouldn’t send to any longer — those that have unsubscribed previously, bounced or reported your list as spam.

Due to the CAN-SPAM laws, you’ll want to make sure you get those off your subscriber list before you send another email out. The good news is, MailChimp has a way for you to add these addresses, quickly, to a suppression list that will essentially remove them from your list.

First, let’s prep the list. Add your email addresses to an Excel file as shown below. …


Get Shift Done: Tips and Tricks

A huge bee in everyone’s bonnet right now is IT security. And as you’re accessing your company’s financials with Xero, you’ll want to make sure your account is as secure as can be. Adding two factor authentication (or as Xero calls it, two step authentication) to your account will help you do just that.

A quick word on two-factor: While nothing can guarantee your account’s safety, two factor authentication will get you pretty close. Two-factor in security means you have to have 2 things to get access — usually something you know, and something you have. …


Get Shift Done: Management

In 2010 I accepted a new position as a Senior Manager. On my first day I found out more about the teams I’d be leading — one team was considered a high quality team, performing at its peak. I’d have a manager overseeing that group, and little to worry about.

Then there was the other team.

My new boss had been managing them directly, and his description of them was less than complimentary. In fact, he made them sound like a bunch of misfits, barely a team, hardly able to get anything done. …

About

Dawn Kuczwara

Writer. Leader. Technologist. Speaker. Label-maker power user. Co-host of the Leading Questions podcast.

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