17 December 2013

Managing Others: Team self-awareness

In today's post you may learn a few tips about how a better understanding of the people you work with can allow your team to best use its skills and abilities to accomplish your mission.

Know your team

One of the key aspects to good management is good team leadership, and a key aspect to good team leadership is having a good understanding of the people you work with.

Consider making a list of the people you work with along with their skills and abilities. Do they rank high or low on the skill continuum?

Then think about their attitude and motivation. How motivated are they to accomplish objectives? What is their attitude when it comes to achieving your mission? Do they rank high or low?

Sample listing of employees and primary responsibilities

Skills and Attitudes

With this analysis of your team fresh in your mind you now have the opportunity to examine which skills and attitudes best serve your mission. Try making a list of those now.

Choose your lineup wisely

You may use this list of desirable skills and abilities as a tool for hiring or recruitment. You may not always have the opportunity to put a team together, but when you do, you may find it helpful to use as a reference.

Building a team is important. There are many things to consider such as these five steps to building successful strategies:

Team ownership
Shared responsibility for success and failure
Understand costs
and how it effects the work environment
Measurable progress
What does it mean to do better?
Clear results
What can reinforce the impact of our work?
Obvious benefits
Always connect to the mission

The key message to today's post is that a successful team has good self-awareness. It is vital for the manager or supervisor to understand how each player's individual skills and attitudes will contribute to or hinder the mission.

10 December 2013

Managing Others: Using your mission statement to motivate others

Have you ever found yourself in charge of a team or a project? Perhaps you are responsible for managing or supervising a group of people? You may benefit from some of the information and tips in today's post.

Know your mission

Perhaps one of the first things that you will need to determine is to identify your purpose or objectives; what is your mission? The easy way to find that out is to either:

  • A: look at your organization's mission statement
  • B: ask yourself why your work is important (more on this later)
Once you know what your mission is, make sure that everyone else knows it. Put it up on the break-room wall. Put it up in your office. Make it a part of each day.


The following video will help to illustrate how asking why can move your team in the right direction.

Match your mission to each of your your team member's primary responsibilities

Your people will benefit from being matched up with tasks and responsibilities that will make the most impact for the company's mission. Try making a list of each of your employees or team members and write down in as few words as possible what their primary responsibilities are (or what they should be). You will be rewarded with a better understanding of how your people can do their best work for your organization's mission.

Sample listing of employees and primary responsibilities

Name Primary Responsibility
Maria Customer service
Carlos Social media marketing

If you lead or manage a team then it is important for everyone to know your mission. Getting everyone on the same bus will make it much easier to get to your destination. You will be rewarded with a team that is motivated to do some high quality work for a mission that they believe in. Good luck.

03 December 2013

My letter of concern regarding sequestration

Today I called each of my US Congress representatives, and I told them the following:

  • who I was,
  • where I was from,
  • that the WIC program is a vital part of my community,
  • and to eliminate the sequester and fully fund WIC to meet the public health nutrition needs of mothers and young children in fiscal year 2014

Then I followed up by sending the following email to:

I encourage you to do the same. Take action now.

Message text follows:

    René Herrera
    Tempe, AZ

    December 3, 2013

    I urge you to support a budget plan that puts the nation on a sustainable fiscal path without taking funding from important human needs and public health programs like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

    WIC is the nation's premiere, preventive, mission driven, short-term public health nutrition program. It influences lifetime nutrition and health behaviors in a targeted, high-risk population of low-income mothers and young children at risk for developing nutrition-related diseases and disorders. Serving nearly 9 million mothers and young children, including 53% of all infants in the country, WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, referrals to medical and social services and a low-cost nutritious food package.

    We urge you to support a budget plan that:

    1) Provides an overall funding level to adequately fund non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs like WIC.

    Funding for NDD programs has declined by more than 11% from $540 billion to $483 billion between fiscal years 2010 and 2013.

    2) Eliminate the sequester.

    Entrepreneurial WIC programs across the nation are already lean, implementing clinic consolidations, reduced clinic hours, hiring freezes, and food cost containment strategies that have left them no wiggle room in their mission to deliver effective, quality nutrition services. They are out of strategies to dampen the impact of the upcoming sequester cut in January.

    If sequestration remains law, WIC managers will be forced to triage vulnerable mothers and young children, removing them from WIC. This is not a solution for an already at-risk population. It will only result in increased infant mortality, more and costly pre-term births, long-term negative health consequences, and nutrition-deficient children unprepared to enter school ready-to-learn. All of this places America's future - our children - at jeopardy.


    René Herrera