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How to Navigate a Smooth Transition for Your Team

Whether you are on-boarding or off-boarding a team member or a client, a smooth transition is always the goal. While there are likely to be a few hiccups or bumps, there are several things you can do to make the process as successful as possible. 

Ideally, you want everyone whether they are leaving or just joining to have the right information, the adequate resources and appropriate access to continue after the transition. 

Following are some tips and tools to help you manage the process and avoid common pitfalls:

1. Plan in plenty of time

Give as much notice as you can. Take more time than you need. Make a timeline from announcement to effective final transition date. Also plan in status meetings and meetings where critical decisions can be discussed and possible shadowing and training can occur. 

Tools to use: Google Calendar, Zoom, Asana 

2. Create thorough documentation of processes and standard operating procedures

When you have a new support team, make sure they understand the existing process before they start new work. If your business grows and implements new processes, create videos to make it easier for anyone to know how to proceed. Create easy-to-follow documented steps so that someone can refer back to when needed.

Tools to use: Loom video, Asana, Google Workspace

3. Prepare transition tools

Preparing transition tools takes a lot of time. You have to make sure that all the information and documents, files and visual assets are ready, so they can be handed over to the next team member, who is going to take over your and manage the work no matter what. Not doing this can often lead to delays and mistakes.

Tools to use: Canva, Google Workspace, Last Pass 

4. Reassess access 

Determining who has access to critical information, files, programs, accounts and passwords is a major consideration in times of transition. Setting everything up so it can be easily and securely shared or transferred is a solid foundation for any business no matter how big or small. 

Tools to use: Last Pass, Google Workspace

5. Make introductions to external working partners or parties

While transition and training is taking place, make sure to make introductions to outside vendors or support staff like website designers, podcast producers and publishing teams. This helps the new team member feel welcomed and saves the time of having to explain who they are and what they might need in the future. 

6. Conduct exit interviews and check-in meetings when possible

Learning from insider experience is key. Before the completion of off-boarding occurs, set aside time for a healthy discussion about the experience and explore areas of continued improvement, efficiency and innovation.

Change is always hard even if it is for the better. So paving the way with thoughtful planning and helpful systems can make the transition far more successful. 

Special thanks to Jen Lehner and her Front Row CEO program for being such an expert leader and guide in navigating business growth opportunities like this. 

Why It Took Me Two Weeks To Send This

How do you handle this?

This blog post was meant to go live over two weeks ago. But I couldn’t send it. I didn’t know how to strike the balance in acknowledging the acts of war occurring in Ukraine while trying to move forward with “business as usual” without seeming unmoved, unsympathetic, or tone-deaf.

So I started asking others:
“How do you communicate with your audience right now?”

The responses were all over the place with some who kept emailing and posting on social media with no mention of Ukraine, while others had all but stopped their communications unless it revolved around the most recent news cycle. A few commented that it felt like we were going from crisis to crisis these days so they were adapting to this new normal.

After discovering a few thoughtful posts about “do-scrolling” (thanks, A.J.) and “hope-scrolling” (thanks, Jeffrey) and being inspired by countless thoughtful acts of grace and generosity, I landed in a place acknowledging, we can show empathy, support, and awareness AND we can also keep working (and sending emails like this) to help our communities be the best they can!

I’d love to hear from you though about how you integrate what’s going on in the world with your work.

Ways to Approach the New Year

Full disclosure: I don’t start the new year ready. It’s not my thing. I like to enjoy the holiday time of the end of the year being with family and friends and slowing down. My brain can’t wrap around reflections and resolutions. So I’ve made peace that January is my month to get ready for the upcoming year.

To “get ready” has been an evolving process over the years where I try new things to figure out what works best and fits with how I live and work. This month I’ve lined up several resources to help guide my journey of launching into the new year. I’m sharing them below if you are looking for direction too:

One Word: This fairly simple concept (though it does require time, space, reflection and listening) is captured in a wonderful little book that walks you through the process of finding your one word to guide, direct and impact your year. My word this year is LIGHT. What’s yours?

Un-Do 2022 with Kate Hanley & Terri Trespicio: Tune into this series of short podcasts (Ep. 607-611) where they are taking a slightly different approach to starting the new year – especially after the past two we have had. Kate and Terri will walk you through five surprising strategies (based on Terri’s new book – see below) for a better year.

A Good Look with OhHappyDani: The oh so creative and purposefully passionate Danielle Coke has a brilliant worksheet walking you through reflections and asking questions to guide you into your best approach to the new year.

Clarity Cards with Dan Blank: This 5 step system author coach Dan Blank has been using for years for himself and clients is not really complicated. However, you’ll find its simplicity and the physical act of writing out and moving around your priority pyramid is incredibly enlightening.

Time Tracking with Laura Vanderkam: Making the most of your year means being intentional with your time. Figuring our where your time goes is the first step on that journey. Join author and time management expert Laura (and me) next week as we track our time for 168 hours (a whole week)! Sign up by Sunday, Jan. 9th at 6pm ET / 3pm PT. Register now!

Better Than Ever with Lisa Corrado: If your business is your main focus right now, don’t miss next week’s free masterclass “Create a Better Than Ever Strategy” with coach Lisa Corrado. Whenever I get bogged down or overwhelmed with planning or prioritizing, Lisa has the gift of making everything seem so much easier and simpler. Register here for this January 11th event at 4pm ET / 1pm PT.

I‘d love to hear what system or process works for you. And if you are having trouble getting started, need someone to brainstorm with, looking for a planning partner or want some accountability then let’s chat. I’d love to see how I can help!

Life Lessons Learned From A Folk Festival

Having recently spent several days in Newport at my beloved Newport Folk Festival (live music again – yay!), I’ve realized why I love it so much beyond the music. It’s about how it’s run which also dictates the amazing community (#folkfamily) that shows up faithfully year after year.

In thinking about things I’ve witnessed or experienced over my many years of dancing around the festival grounds of Fort Adams, I realize that much could be applied to the way we might want to live our lives, run our businesses or even just host our gatherings.

So here are 7 Powerful Lessons You Can Learn From A Folk Festival:

1. Don’t judge people by the way they look or act.

Say “Hi” instead of passing judgment. Your first impression might not always the best indicator of who or what a person is about. What if you simply said “Hello” or asked them a question about your common interests that brought you to this common place. My sister and I met terrific new folk friends that we are sure to stay connected to in the future simply by chatting on the ferry, at the check-in gate and while waiting for bands to take the stage.

2. Get out of your spot. You never know what might happen or who you might meet.

While staking your spot and throwing down the blanket and chairs at a festival is a typical first thing to do, don’t limit yourself to staying put in one spot, or you are certain to miss other shows, acts, people, food or scenes. Go with a sample mindset of giving everything a try if you can – it will greatly broaden your experience and your perspective.

3. Be an inspiring leader. It sets the tone for everything.

The executive producer of the Newport Folk Festival, Jay Sweet, is so meshed into the mission of continuing to the make the festival the best it can be, while carrying on 60 years of legacy, that it oozes out of every interaction he has with his team, the artists he curates, the attendees and with the public in general. He gets the best out of everyone – sometimes even more than anyone knew they could be.

4. Make sure you have a capable, fun team.

Even if you are a volunteer who has to tell people to move or clear a lane, or dump out a water bottle (if it’s not filled with water), it can be done in a fun, safe and community focused way that makes it engaging for all. Make sure your team, whether paid or volunteer, is having as much fun as the people they are supporting.

5. Over-communicate to manage expectations but still leave room for surprises.

From the first day of getting the news we had festival tickets, through the decision to cancel last year and reschedule this year, to showing up at the gate on the first day, every email, social media post and app alert from the festival organizers was clear about what was happening, what we could expect and what was expected of us, the attendees. And even though the line-up was typically announced last minute or “with surprises” that was OK because we had been told that would happen – and we even got excited guessing who might show up!

Photo by JJ and Michael Kingsbaker via Instagram.

6. Always leave room for collaboration and connection – you never know what magic might be made. 

Life shouldn’t be a solo act, it should be one of creation and connection and making things better. That’s what happens when artists from different bands, genres and locations get the opportunity to create music together and sit in on each other’s sets or even create their one-off bands (High Women, Middle Brother) or relationships. It pushes boundaries and limitations and opens up potential that often lasts well beyond a set on a stage. 

7. Fly your freak flag and/or dance like nobody’s watching.

A festival, especially this one, is one of people who are interested not only in the music but also the community. It’s a safe space, so go ahead and be you! Wear your festival outfit (or not), sing at the top of your lungs (even if it’s off key), and dance your heart away (even if your son calls it a bobble-head dance 😁 ). We only have one go around – and I can’t imagine you’ll regret it. 

And if you can’t tell by now, I love music festivals, particularly this one that I’ve been going to off and on since 1990 when I was scooping ice cream from the Ben & Jerry’s cart (see pic above) where I discovered this thing that is the Newport Folk Festival. If you’re curious about going to festivals or learning more about this one, let me know. Also, check out Season 2 of this wonderful podcast called “Festival Circuit” where you’ll hear about the festival as it unfolded in real time.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear what life experiences or life lessons you are learning right now!

Head over to my calendar here and let’s schedule some time to chat!

How to Create Space and Grace

I don’t remember when, where or how this phrase came into my lexicon but it’s been a very important one recently and I almost feel like it’s become a mantra, a calling, maybe even a guide.

I mean who doesn’t want more space and grace in their life – right?

Here’s what it means to me – or how I think about “space and grace”.

SPACE [time, distance]
on my calendar, in my office, for myself, with others

GRACE [OK-ness, forgiveness, no judgement, blessing]
for myself, for others, in alignment with higher powers

They feel like they need to go together – don’t they?

Are there steps or ways to allow for more space or grace in one’s life? I’m not exactly sure but this is what it’s been looking like for me:

1) Listening and honoring what I feel, in my heart. Hopefully this is more for heart and inner wisdom and less direction from fear-based ego – that hasn’t figured everything out yet – wanting things to be different but not knowing how, not sure how.
Because of all that we have been through with the pandemic (and not being able to plan), I feel like I could make it to the ½ way point of this year but had to be OK that I couldn’t figure out what the rest of this year might look like.

2) I made the personal as important as the professional. This has been a real shift over the past several years. Not allowing and permitting myself enough time, energy and focus with “personal” stuff in my life was making me crazy. It still feels a bit weird and my inner gremlins love to scold me for not being more focused on “work” but I’m learning that my heart will hurt – and I will feel totally out of whack and unaligned if I don’t make room for “space and grace” here.

3) Looking at my life calendar and taking a big view. No matter what was going to happen with CoVid, some things were going to happen this year.
On a personal level, our oldest would graduate from college, our youngest would be home for the summer from college, my husband would celebrate a big birthday – and I have some fun events that have been rescheduled this year. With work there were several projects I had committed to doing that needed finishing. And I have started to get an “inkling” of wanting to do things new and different as we emerged from CoVid… but I also knew that I needed to give this its own “space and grace”.
Acknowledging all of this – that these things need my attention, planning, emotion and true perseverance…(giving myself grace) I blocked out space on my calendar around them.
I’d like to say it was organized space where I blocked out increments of time on how exactly I would use it – but I didn’t – I haven’t achieved that level of time management zen yet. However, it did look like blocked out times on my calendar where other people couldn’t book time, when I wasn’t taking new work because I didn’t want to create overwhelm or feel unaligned with where I might be headed.
Blocking out time allowed me to work on what was in front of me, it allowed for buffer space. It also kept me from over-committing, while focused on getting a strategic task completed. When I didn’t know what I needed to do or when I simply needed TO BE – – – either by myself or with others — there was “space and grace” for that to happen.

4) Making space and grace to explore, ponder, wonder (my word of the year), think, read and listen. While I don’t know what the second half of this year or beyond will look like, I know that I can’t expect July 1st to get here and suddenly know or have an “a-ha” epiphany and it will all be clear. So I’m listening to inner wisdom (call it God, spirits, guides – I’m in for whoever has something that I need to hear). I’m wondering ALOT. I’m journaling and I’m reading. Coincidentally, I just finished The Listening Path which is an updated, shorter, actionable version of Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way which has been really helpful with being open, aware, listening and exploring. I’m also (re)visiting type tests like StrengthsFinder, SparkType and Enneagram.

5) Breaking things down into steps, manageable action items and to-dos. This is soooo not my strength – but I’m getting better (grace!) Yes, I use a project management system. Yes, I have a planner and a digital calendar. Yes, I have an assistant (yay Lizzy!). But that still does not mean my days go 100% according to plan. (I’m happy if I’m making it to 75%). The biggest part is getting better at planning out the personal (vs work); like celebrations or even personal things like exercise, journaling, seeing friends, etc.

6) I’ve gotten support to stay focused and on track. I could easily throw in the proverbial towel and say that I can’t do anything right now (and on some days I can’t) – or I can spin my wheels on things that aren’t important just to feel like I am doing something. But by owning my intuitions of what I value and what I want to see happen – or at least make space to see what happens – I have a desire to move forward with a sense of purpose and accomplishment. With my assistant, an accountability group (thanks Lisa Corrado) and some amazing collaborative work partners (I am looking at you Sound Advice Strategies and the Hayvn community team), I feel supported to make things happen as well as accountable to see them through and best of all, I don’t have to figure everything out by myself.

7) I’m looking to others for help where I don’t feel support – and making space and grace for that help. Whether it’s committing to a trainer to get in better shape or finding the right business coach to help with the next phase of my work, I am excited to find someone who can help me see the things that I can’t see, understand the things I don’t know, ask the questions I’m not asking and know how to help me get to where I want to be and headed next when I can’t see they way there.

8) Space and grace allows me to connect with people I feel need to be in my life. Whether personal or work, there are certain people I’m drawn to and feel that they are meant to be in my life for some reason. I try not to analyze it but instead honor it more than a passing fancy and make a commitment to see what will come in making these connections happen.

Literally, just thinking about what “space and grace” feels like, looks like and can become has truly been a stabilizer so far this year and I look forward to seeing where it will lead.

So what about you? What are you making “space and grace” for right now? I’d love to hear what’s working (or maybe not working) for you right now as we embark on the other half of this year! Head over to my calendar here and let’s schedule some time to chat!