Teams and Leaders.

Teams and Leaders… Two of my most favorite topics.  When I read this article on the awesome Time Management Ninja site, I felt compelled to share it with you – I have been delightfully working within so many amazing teams lately and none are free of challenges and hardships.  However, every team is unique and has it’s own energy and language.  I love working with these groups… here’s a great few thoughts around the leaders that lead teams.

Leaders are not created equally, nor is the team that results from their different styles of leadership.  There are a number of pitfalls that the majority of team leaders fall into that cause time to be wasted in organizations.  Many teams are proud of their ability to get things done, but are they as effective as they could be?

A Team is Only as Good as Each of Its Components

A computer with the finest video processor can be made redundant with a lackluster central processor that prevents complete utilization of it’s components. The same principle goes for teams who become bottle-necked by another member who isn’t functioning at their best.

Imagine walking into the office in the early morning to work on an enormous project with your team. Every team member made the sacrifice to come in early — except one, “Pete.”

Pete is a genuinely friendly person who always lightens the mood when tensions rise and is an invaluable part of the team. However, the last week has seen slower progress because Pete is constantly an hour late and all members of the team need to be present to bring everything together.

While Pete has become the bottleneck that is slowing progress and costing the team an hour of work each day, there is a larger problem. It’s the team leader, and his disregard for the impact that Pete’s tardiness has had on the project.

This is a common problem in businesses. But there are a number of simple solutions.

Here are 5 Core Principles Leaders Should Follow to Have More Productive Teams:

1. Develop Employees

Employees are one of your greatest assets but are often undervalued and have their needs taken for granted. When employees are happy and have support from their employer in developing a healthy lifestyle then you benefit from their intrinsic motivation towards their employment.

Make the time to appreciate your employees and offer them methods of developing themselves through seminars, free (e)books and training related to their tasks.

2. Build Better Leaders

Leaders are the cornerstone of group activities inside organizations and can keep things running smoothly if properly trained. Most of the time leaders are not given ample time to develop their leadership skills and are promoted to these positions based solely on performance or in some cases due to favoritism.

You should be promoting people who have shown initiative but require them to develop the highest standards before hand.

3. Pick Team Members Wisely

Being a part of a team provides the chance to learn and grow as an individual by forming a mastermind between the members of the group. Often team members are thrown together due to their strengths which leads to minimal growth as an individual.

Consider that what may be lost in project quality will be regained through improved skill sets in each team member if you select based on weaknesses and what your employees need to learn the most.

4. Keep Group Sizes Small

The worst thing that you can do for your business and employees is jumble too many minds into the same project. The more links there are between each employee the less productive each of them will be. One of the common principles to follow is the, “Two Pizza Rule” coined by Jeff Bezos of Amazon.

5. Get To Know Your Employees

Many business owners can spend their entire careers without knowing the names of anyone outside of the executive team. When you can’t remember an employee’s name, your brain begins to process them as an object rather than a person. This leads to less than stellar employee morale.

Make it a point of your daily routine to remember the name and a small description of one member of your staff per day. You’ll be amazed how far this little act will get you when interacting with your employees and influencing them to complete a task of your choosing.

Better Teams, Better Productivity

Business requires team work. It’s the leader’s job to ensure that the people come together as well as the project.

By investing time in your employees on a regular basis, you’ll find that projects come together faster, with less stress and more unity in the office.

That’s called productivity.

[This is a guest post by Shawn Hartwell. Shawn is the author of his personal blog where he writes about customer experience, the importance of happy people in modern business, and shares his observations on life.]


Quote of the week.


What’s coming up?

Hey everyone!

I hope your March is off to a great start!  I have been slowing down on the blogging, which feels really good.  My calendar has been incredibly (overly) packed and I have had some great projects with clients happening that have really been all consuming and with busy kiddos and a full schedule, I’ve needed all energy going in the same direction.  I’m SO grateful for such varied and interesting work with people, teams and companies.  I just finished a 10 day coaching project at California State University, Channel Islands.  I did  a project with them 5 years ago and had the honor of going back… they have such a wonderful team – their Student Affairs and Housing Departments were my main focus and the point was this… how can we all work smarter, not harder?  So, I got to sit with each person to help them each figure out their big picture and how they can do it better and process improve.  Such fun and SO effective!

I have some classes and conferences coming up that I want to share…

In mid-April, I will be heading again to the National Association of Professional Organizers National conference- gratefully it’s in Los Angeles this year (just a 90-min drive from where I live – and I”ll be taking the train).  I have never before presented at this conference – last year I was part of a panel, but this year I am co-presenting with my amazing friend and colleague from the “other” coast, Cena Block, owner of Sane Spaces.  We are presenting on How to Integrate Training into your Business.  It’s been really fun to put this presentation together with her and we will be delivering it in a 3-hour workshop as a pre-con session.  So, that’s in April.

Also in April is the Santa Barbara Business Expo, where I will be presenting along side many other awesome speakers.  Really looking forward to being a part of this event!  If you are a current business owner, thinking of owning a business or just know someone that owns a business, then come on out to this event on April 25th – a Saturday and join us at the Doubletree here in Santa Barbara!

May will be another round of my UCSB Extension class as well as my Adult Education class on Home & Office Organizing (where Keri Dickerson will again be guest presenting and sharing her ninja tricks to get uber organized – not to be missed!)  (May 9 for Extension and May 23 for Adult Ed).  Links and more info to come…

Most importantly, I’m participating in the Avon 39 Walk in Santa Barbara on September 12-13.  Yep, I’m walking 39 miles in 2 days with an amazing group of gals – we are forming our team right now and currently have 8 gorgeous girls dedicated and ready to go.  We have started training so I’m putting time and energy and attention into this walk like I have never done before.  Even though I’ve run a 1/2 marathon and a few 5 k’s, I’ve never participated in anything this big.  With the 1-year anniversary of my mama’s passing coming up, it just feels right.  I can’t wait to do this and will be asking for support both emotionally as well as financially as we have some lofty goals set for our team.

More on that soon with pics and stories to come…. here’s a fave of mine right now!

Be well,




Quote of the week.


Quote of the week.