There are opportunities for learning all around us, but recently I’ve attended many wonderful programs at library conferences. They’ve really got me thinking, but they say the best way to learn something is by teaching it, and there is certainly truth in that too.
One of the programs was “How to Be Effective in Your Organization” by Nancy Bolt. A version of the program is available on her website at http://www.nancyboltassociates.com/workshops/organizational_effectiveness.htm
The presenter included a few quick exercises. One was to think of a project we had been nervous about that turned out successfully, and what we learned from that. Another was to think about our skills five years ago, and what we have learned since then. Re-evaluate an idea you have considered in the past and didn’t try. Why didn’t you and would it work now?
She asked questions to involve the audience, like “why don’t people take risks?” She asked the group to offer examples of stories. She talked about behavior that is not effective, like avoiding issues, whining and complaining.
To be effective in your organization, know what you think and say what you mean. Be willing to ask for what you want while describing the benefits to others. Ask questions to increase your understanding and encourage discussion. Meet the boss regularly with a bulleted list of ideas, questions and concerns, problems and possible solutions.
Observe, check what you think you see, and provide positive feedback. Get the most out of meetings you attend by contributing and showing interest. If you volunteer to take notes you can include the points you want to make. If you don’t want anything to get done, neglect to ask “who will do what by when?” Do what you are best at, and be the change you want to see.
I’ve learned that an effective teacher asks the questions that will lead to a synergy of sharing and discussion. More learning takes place when we come up with answers ourselves than it does if someone simply hands us information. And it’s more fun too!
Here are some ideas from the time management program at the library on Monday: Use different colored markers to highlight priorities on calendars. Set up folders and filters to sort email. Cook ahead for the week. Put on upbeat music. Use checklists for repeating tasks. Keep paper and pen handy to take notes. Learn to relax and have fun.
Many of us struggle with setting priorities to handle too many to-dos. Life now offers an overflowing smorgasbord of choices from television channels to varieties of pop that can be overwhelming at times.