2011

The Organized Executive's Blog

Problem-solving can be a matter of life or death | The Organized.

The Organized Executive's Blog

The ability to effectively identify and resolve problems is critical to the life of an organization. Recently, I had an opportunity to reflect on a dozen factors in problem-solving during a life-threatening situation

The argument for writing it down | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

Have you noticed a trend of waiters and waitresses not writing down your food order? I had, so I read with interest a New York Post article this week about why servers opt not to take notesand customers' uneasiness with

Trending Sources

Somebody (not everybody) take note

The Organized Executive's Blog

Who takes notes during your meetings? If you said “Everybody,” that means nobody is giving their full attention to the topics under discussion. If you designate one official note taker, that will free everyone else to focus on the discussion and other action.

The cost and benefit of an apology | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

Does saying I'm sorry make a difference? Absolutely. A recent article at Knowledge @ Wharton Today explains that offering an apology has both costs and benefits. Don't apologize and others might see you as more

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The vacation dilemma: to unplug from the office or not | The.

The Organized Executive's Blog

During my spring vacation I occasionally scanned my office email, and I regretted it. I found myself distracted by events at the office. So last month, I vowed to not look at office email during my weeklong vacation

Paper or digital? | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

I take a hybrid approach to managing information. I use an online calendar and paper to-do list. Whether I take notes on paper or computer depends on how I will use them. Over the years I've adapted my habits based on my

Make smart investments in your staff | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

The easiest decision I made as the new manager of a department also turned out to be one of the most important. It was a few days after the previous manager had been dismissed, and the staff was still a bit unnerved and

Email math: Unnecessary messages multiply | The Organized.

The Organized Executive's Blog

Looking at my inbox, I'm amazed at the number of times I'm copied on a response to an email that I don't need. Consider the math in this example: Joan sends a message to 30 team members asking them to do something = 30

Team 21

Nurture your leaders

The Organized Executive's Blog

Who are the leaders on your team? Look beyond the titles to identify the employees who: Show initiative. . Influence others. . See the big picture. . Have the respect of team members. . Take responsibility. . Speak up and listen. . Demonstrate integrity in their everyday actions. Develop their potential and offer those unofficial leaders opportunities in the coming year to take charge of projects and groups. Soon they will earn the formal titles of leaders.

The 3 conversations you must have first

The Organized Executive's Blog

“My challenge has become how to stay on top of everything,” Doug wrote in a question to our Ask the Editor feature on OrganizedExecutive.com. As the new head of a division with hundreds of employees and 30 operating units, he’s concerned that he’s learning about issues at the same time his boss and peers hear about them. We offered advice on OrganizedExecutive.com for dealing with the situation now, but when you take a new position, there are three types of people you should talk to on Day 1.

Write a message to yourself

The Organized Executive's Blog

As I was waiting in an office last week to sign some papers, I noticed a handwritten note on the printer that said “Slow down.”. When I commented that I liked the note, the manager explained why he had that message where he would see it when he was working with people. “I I have a tendency to talk too fast,” he said, and the note reminds him to speak slowly so that the people he is working with will understand him.

3 simple ways to botch your awards program

The Organized Executive's Blog

It doesn’t take much to undermine the value of your employee recognition program. Fail to pay attention to detail and the money you spent on the certificates, plaques or other tokens will be worthless. It takes only a little care to avoid these three errors in your awards: Misspelling the recipient’s name. Even if Anne is used to people forgetting the “e” in her name, that’s no excuse for you not to remember it.

Scared witless: How anxiety played a role

The Organized Executive's Blog

Following is a guest article by Jaimy Ford, editorial director of Briefings Media Group. Recently I went to Halloween Haunt at Kings Dominion’s in Virginia. I’m an adult, and one who doesn’t scare easily. I’ve always liked scary movies, and I love that tingly, hair-raising sensation I feel when hearing a good ghost story. Halloween is one of my favorite times of year. So I was excited about visiting the amusement park with its Halloween makeover.

Small changes, big results: 2-minute tasks to maintain order

The Organized Executive's Blog

The following is a guest article by Jaimy Ford, editorial director of Briefings Media Group. As a telecommuter, my home is my workplace. Because I like a change of location, I might work from my designated office, my dining room table or from a comfortable chair in my bedroom—the quietest spot in the house. I am home for a large part of my day, and I find that the normal messes that accumulate in a busy household can sometimes distract me from my work.

Honor the 9/11 survivors

The Organized Executive's Blog

I had family and friends in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001. I remember the anxious hours as we waited to hear that they were OK.

The No. 1 organizing habit | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

The iPad needs a home, I told my husband last weekend. In only two weeks, our family has found many uses for the device, and that's part of the problem. The iPad could be in the living room, where my husband has been

A dangerous word | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

I have two reactions when someone says the word assume. My first reaction is to wince and to ask more questions. Executives can quickly find their organizations in the midst of a disaster if they

Making time for peak achievement | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

The following is a guest article by Susan Ershler. She and her husband, Phil, were the first couple in history to climb the seven summits, a goal she achieved while pursuing a 20-year career in sales leadership at

Do one less thing | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

One of the most important lessons I learned about time management came from Laura Stack, The Productivity Pro, long before she became a member of The Organized Executive's advisory board. To be on time for appointments

Lessons from a master networker, Mom | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

My mother rarely worked outside our home, but her networking skill made her the highly successful CEO of our family. I didn't recognize how well-connected she was until after my college roommate accompanied me home one

CEO 11

Are you stuffing yourself with junk information? | The Organized.

The Organized Executive's Blog

You have to guard against the danger of overeating at an interesting intellectual buffet. Gary Loveman, CEO of Harrah's Entertainment. I love that quote, which appeared in a McKinsey Quarterly article by Derek Dean

Ask the critically important question: Why? | The Organized.

The Organized Executive's Blog

Perhaps you've heard a version of this story, or perhaps you've had a similar experience: As a girl watched her mother prepare dinner, the girl asked Why do you always cut the end off the roast

Create a record of accomplishments | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

In our free e-letter, The Organized Executive's Priority One, Jeff Davidson recently wrote about the importance of dividing work into segments so that you can recognize completions. Reader Alice Bakker told us that she

Small gestures have a lasting impact | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

When I heard recently that Max died, I thought of the coins and smiled. I don't remember the idea or action that earned my first penny from him, but I remember thinking that I must have done something really wonderful

Find inspiration for your office setup

The Organized Executive's Blog

Don’t start the new year in the same old cluttered, uninspiring workspace. Find ideas for an office makeover at the Flickr Unclutterer Workspaces pool. You’ll see photos of traditional offices, home offices, closets revamped as offices and more. Plus you’ll discover ideas for organizing bookshelves, drawers, electronic equipment and computer cables. The photo-sharing pool and a related discussion forum are searchable.

Do this before turning the calendar to January

The Organized Executive's Blog

Although you may be eager to jump into the new year, there’s still a lot to learn from 2011. Flip through your calendar for this year to discover whether you: Spent too much time in meetings. If meetings packed your schedule, analyze whether you can cut some or send a team member instead of attending yourself. . Failed to schedule time for your priorities. Blocking out your schedule for projects, planning and time to think guarantees that you won’t run out of time for what is important. .

Senior executives’ elementary school habit

The Organized Executive's Blog

Only one figure in a recent CareerBuilder survey of top executives surprised me: Forty-one percent bring their lunch from home. The figure is much higher for women (57%), but more than a third of the men also brown-bag it, according to the survey titled “Emulating the Big Cheese.”. That’s a smart choice. Taking your own lunch gives you control over your nutrition and your time. Nearly 40% of the executives either eat at a sit-down restaurant (19%) or grab fast food (17%).

A simple way to cut incoming email

The Organized Executive's Blog

This morning I shot off an email to three people, updating them about the status of a problem, and I knew that I wouldn’t have to worry about any of them sending a response that would clutter my inbox. I ended the subject line with this note: “No reply necessary.”. Relieving people of any need to reply saves both of us time. In many situations it can be unclear whether you need to acknowledge the original message or if the most polite thing you can do is not add to the person’s email overload.

The most expensive call he ever took

The Organized Executive's Blog

We drove onto the lot ready to buy a car. So why did we drive off without one? Soon after we sat down to negotiate the deal, the salesman took a personal call and started chatting with his buddy. My husband and I stood up and walked away. I know you’d like to believe that the people you hire already know some basics about how to behave in the business world. That’s a dangerous assumption. Just this summer I received an email from a customer service representative written in ALL CAPS.

A skill every organized executive must master

The Organized Executive's Blog

My neighbor Shelby came right to the point. “I’m I’m calling to see whether I can talk you into serving on the board.”. Not a chance,” I told her. We both laughed and had a nice conversation. A year earlier I explained to her why I wouldn’t accept a nomination to our homeowners association’s board of directors. With a fulltime job, a young child and other obligations, I had decided not to take on any other commitments that would take time away from my family.

You asked for it: A to-do list example

The Organized Executive's Blog

Following is a guest article by Jaimy Ford, editorial director of Briefings Media Group. After my recent post “Small changes, big results: My new and improved to-do list,” some readers asked to see a sample of my to-do list. Below is a small portion taken directly from the list that I use every day. As you can see, it is nothing fancy. No bells and whistles—or alarms notifying me of when something is due. I haven’t prettied it up with fancy fonts or images.

Small changes, big results: My new and improved to-do list

The Organized Executive's Blog

Following is a guest article by Jaimy Ford, editorial director of Briefings Media Group. I have a to-do list dependence. I keep one in tip-top shape and spend a few minutes every morning and every evening reviewing and updating it. There is something incredibly satisfying to me about striking through a task, so the standard run-of-the-mill written list has always been my go-to. However, recently I began drafting my to-do list in a basic Word document, and I am hooked.

Write to erase anxiety

The Organized Executive's Blog

This is a guest post by Kendall Martin, editorial contributor at Briefings Media Group. On those days when I have assignments from different departments, as well as emails and phone calls waiting to be returned, my first inclination is to write. I take out a legal pad and my favorite pen and construct a working list of to-do items. The simple task of writing out all of the items filling my brain instantly relieves my anxiety.

Small changes, big results: Rearranging my day

The Organized Executive's Blog

The following is a guest article by Catherine Welborn, web editor of Briefings Media Group. As web editor, one of my jobs is to track our growth on Facebook, Twitter and our blogs. I chart it on a giant spread sheet so we can see what works well and what doesn’t. Until recently, that’s been my ritual morning task—the one I use to settle into my workday. However, when Amy Beth wrote about “The science behind better decisions,” I realized that my schedule was all wrong.

Reaching for goals: triumph and tragedy

The Organized Executive's Blog

Last week two images of men reaching for their goals in sports arenas revealed a powerful leadership lesson to me. During dinner Thursday night, I described to friends a piece of artwork that I want to decorate my office wall. It’s a photo of Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu making a touchdown last year in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. The Steelers were behind, 7-0, when Polamalu intercepted the ball and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown.

The science behind better decisions

The Organized Executive's Blog

A fascinating article on “decision fatigue” in The New York Times describes the negative effects of having to make too many decisions and of having a low glucose level when making a choice. The research makes a lot of sense.

A career-limiting habit

The Organized Executive's Blog

Click to see full infographic. Your messy desk could be holding you back. Nearly 30% of employers in a CareerBuilder survey released last week said that they were less likely to promote employees who have disorganized workspaces.

Carmageddon or a commute you can enjoy

The Organized Executive's Blog

Warnings of Carmageddon with last weekend’s closure of the 405 Freeway in California reminded me of some of my worst commutes to work. When I accepted a job in Washington, D.C., I was still living in West Virginia. I boarded a MARC train before dawn for Union Station.

Doc’s best Rx for stress management

The Organized Executive's Blog

Obviously my doctor was listening between the lines. As soon as I finished describing the five minor ailments that finally led me to schedule an appointment, he asked “Are you under a lot of stress?” He nailed that diagnosis. Work had been very stressful, and it was taking a toll on me.

Between a tear and a yawn | The Organized Executive's Blog

The Organized Executive's Blog

My assistant burst into tears on her first day at work, and it was my fault. had worked for our customer service department for years before applying for the job as an editorial assistant. With her deep understanding