December 12, 2018

Are the Holidays Causing a Dip in Employee Productivity?

According to infographic in How to Not Lose Track of Productivity During Hectic Holiday Week  post by ZeroCater, 42% of employees are shopping on-line during the workday for Christmas.  Plus  35% are planning  Dec. 25 activities, while 30% are thinking about what  they may be doing during their holiday break.  Wow!  Various excuses are given for why these employees are slacking off, including "it is slow during the holidays."

Check out their blog post and full infographic for ideas on how to boost workplace productivity during the holiday season with breaks and gamifying work projects.  

November 6, 2018

Never-the-less Principle, Adjusting Attitude at Work

With the seasons of Thanksgiving through New Years approaching, I began to think about the different feelings and attitudes people many experience on-the-job.  All too often, work and holidays bring stress and grips rather than relaxation and joy.  Are we letting the wrong attitudes steal our happiness at home and work?  There is this old principle for attitude adjustment called "the nevertheless principle".  The principle works this way - take a negative complaint and add a positive spin to it with the word nevertheless (never-the-less) at the end of the statement.

Below are a few statement examples to consider for adjusting attitude at work:
  • I get tired of working so much of the time, nevertheless, I have a job that helps support my family.
  • My position here is not very high, nevertheless, I find satisfaction in doing my job well.
  • I have a lot of work to do before the holidays, nevertheless, I will have free time with my family once it is done.
  • A few here seem to get away with doing very little, nevertheless, I will do my best and know that I truly contribute.
  • My boss is hard on me, nevertheless ,I know he appreciates it when I make the department look good.
  • This company only cares about profit, nevertheless, those profits are what enables them to pay me.
How does this help adjust attitudes?  First by forcing oneself to turn from a negative thought into a positive one.  This will immediately make one feel better.  Eventually, the negative fades as we concentrate more on the positive.  Resulting in a more positive attitude more often so that  the negative goes away to be replaced with feelings of contentment rather than resentment.  Happier employees are more productive employees.  Happiness them=n spills over into their personal lives as well.

What are some of the statements you might make?  Please share them in the comments for this post.  If you want to see some personal life example statements, see Lifestyle Organization blog

October 16, 2018

Breaks Proven to Increase Business Productivity

Do you think you are getting more done by not taking breaks or skipping lunch?  Actually doing this decreases your productivity as it can lead to both mental and physical fatigue.  You do not believe that?  Check out these articles and posts that support taking breaks.

Why take breaks?
Forbes Want To Get More Done? Try Taking More Breaks
Taking a Break Can Boost Your Productivity
Smart Business Advantages of taking work breaks to boost productivity
Science-Backed Ways Taking a Break Boosts Our Productivity
Psychology Today How Work Breaks Help Your Brain
Up Your Productivity by Random Work Sprints Vs Marathon Time

How to do breaks?
Creativity Break Ideas to Boost Your Productivity at Work
Fast Company 15, 30, and 60-minute breaks to boost productivity

How to do lunch?
Rules of effective lunch breaks that boost your productivity
Zero Eating Healthy Meals and Snacks for Workplace Success blog post includes 3 infographics:
  1. How to prevent getting hungry at work
  2. Tips to eat healthier at work
  3. How to tell if you are dehydrated

September 18, 2018

Writing Resolutions: Two-Part Text

Often a committee, sub-committee, ad-hoc team, or sub-team may need to take their motion up to a higher-level authority (such as a board, officers, management/leadership, treasurer, assigning committee/team, etc.) for approval in order to finance an idea or corporately carry-out an initiative.  To make the approval process easier for that authority, instead of making a vocal motion or presentations during a meeting they will instead provide a written resolution.  A resolution is merely a main motion submitted in writing and it is used when requesting a formal decision from a higher body.  Although it is in writing, they may present the resolution by reading it aloud and then handing the authority’s secretary a copy of the written resolution.  Or they may do a formal presentation and then have 1 or 2 slides at the end that cover the written resolution, in this case they provide the secretary a copy of the presentation to attach to the approving authority’s minutes.

A resolution contains two parts:
1. Preamble (which are the reasons for the resolution and/or potential benefits to the organization)
·         Start each paragraph with “Whereas" capitalized
·         Close each paragraph with a semicolon (;) or comma(,) followed by "and"
·         Avoid the use of (.)  periods
·         Close the last paragraph with "therefore" or "therefore, be it"
2.  Resolution (written in motion form so the approving authority can just amend it as desired and then copy into their minutes).
·         Begin with italicized and capitalized words, "Resolved, That"
·         Then word the rest of the resolution in the format of desired decision

September 11, 2018

Motions in Meeting Minutes

When doing meeting minutes training for non-profits, I get asked about how to spot a motion to put in notes and how to put it in the draft of minutes. 

How to note a motion during the meeting?  A correctly stated motion starts with “I move,” “we move,” or “the committee moves.”  Occasionally, you might hear it put as “... would like to make a motion to…” which according to parliamentary rules is incorrect - but it does get the idea across.  This beginning of a motion may be put into the secretary’s or recorder’s notes, however it is not put into the official minutes unless it is seconded, discussed, revised, then voted on and approved/carried.  Per parliamentary rules, negative decisions (motions not passed) are not recorded in minutes.  However those decisions may be in handwritten notes and then later marked through so they do not accidentally in the minutes.

When to publish a motion in meeting minutes?   Per parliamentary rules, only positive decisions carried by majority (or unanimous) vote are put into minutes.  Why? Because a failed or incomplete motion may be brought up again at another meeting once it has been researched and revised, at which time it may get passed.

When to use names in published motions?  Although you may state the name of person who first brought the motion to the attention of the voting body - if you wish it on-the-record, it is not necessary to mention who seconded or suggested amendments (revisions/changes) during discussions. Why?  According to parliamentary procedures, a motion should not be debated or discussed unless seconded.  Once seconded, it can be discussed and revised followed by a call to vote.  Once a motion begins discussion, it belongs to the entire body and therefore no additional names in the process are relevant.  In other words, the motion process is typically: Move, 2nd, Debate/Revise, and Vote.  Although I have seen groups who prefer to do it more like a team as they feel it goes faster to: Move, Brainstorm/Discuss, 2nd, and Vote.

How to write a motion in the meeting minutes?   A complete motion will be a statement that answers all the appropriate the 5W’s (who, what, where, when, and why).  Below is an example motion for minutes and how it may be amended in future meetings.  The text in [brackets] is optional.

MOTION [by Susan?]: The Rewards and  Recognition Committee  resolves to hold the Annual Awards Ceremony at a location (facility TBD)  that can hold 500 people for a maximum facility cost of $2,000 in Autumn (date TBD) using a program similar to last year in order to thank high achievement participation during current fiscal year. Motion carried [unanimously OR by majority vote #’s?].

1.   If this motion is in the committee minutes and their name appears at the top of minutes, it is not necessary to repeat their name within the motion. 
2.   TBD (T-B-D, to be determined) within the minutes indicates an amendment will be made later when more data is finalized.  Although committee and sub-team minutes may contain TBDs, board or officer minutes should never have a TBD as they tend to make final decisions. 
*From example above, simplify the amendment process in the following meeting where the committee will select a location from 2-3 places that meet their criteria.

MOTION to Amend: Committee resolves to hold the Annual Awards Ceremony at New York Regency Hotel - Royalty Ballroom in autumn (date TBD) using a program similar to last year to thank high-achievement participants during current fiscal year. Motion carried.

*From example above, the committee gets 3 possible dates from the hotel and then rewrites the decision below in another meeting to show the date that best fits their calendar.

MOTION to Amend: Resolves to hold the Annual Awards Ceremony at New York Regency Hotel - Royalty Ballroom on October 15 using a program similar to last year to thank high-achievement participants during current fiscal year. Motion carried.

The “MOTION to Append” example above are the easiest way to amend past motions because each subsequent meeting is a new decision based on one made in a previous meeting using “to append” clearly indicates this path, Using TBD to indicate future changes is also much clearer and easier than having to go back to first occurrence of the decision, amend the minutes and re-approve minutes.   If choosing to follow the parliamentary process to amend a previous decision in old minutes, the committee would have to use the following markings which could make the minutes harder to read and understand: Additions/Insertions must be in Italics, and Deletions/Removals should be indicated with [Brackets]

September 4, 2018

Comparison of Terms for Robert's Rules of Order and Meeting Wizard’s RARA Process

After asking if Robert’sRules are valid for your meeting, a need to show the differences in process and terms in a more easy-to-read format has come to light.  Roles are often the same, just different names.  Below are three comparison charts to illustrate the differences and similarities.

Designed in 1876 for government use and later adapted for societies, 11th edition published 2011
Evolved out of quality improvement and team building efforts in business 1980-1990 then RARA published in 2003 – new release coming  2019

Process Summaries
RONR Process
RARA Process
Formal and strict structure
Informal but adheres to set agenda
Requires motion and 2nd to debate/discuss, if no 2nd then no discussion
Team agrees to discuss issues/solutions or not
Suggests quorum to call for majority vote, minority is allowed to debate/discuss prior to call for vote
Allows for multiple decision-making methods (consensus, majority, ranking, etc.)
Committees do or arrange outside work and report progress
Team members do/arrange outside work and report their progress
Gavel is used to mark meeting progress or gain attention
Facilitator encourages group back to agenda
Includes process to discipline disruptions and problems during meeting time
Suggested methods for handling typical disruptions in meeting
Speaking time per person limited to 10 minutes for small groups and typically 2 minutes each for large groups – also an individual may be limited to speaking 2 times during a debate/discussion
Presentation time is limited to what is set on agenda and individual speaking time during discussion on set topic may be set before discussion begins

Possible Roles
RONR Roles
RARA Roles
Secretary/Clerk or Historian
Recorder, aka Record-Keeper
Assembly/Officers and Members
Guest (cannot vote)
Observer (cannot vote)
Sergeant –at-arms or Doorkeeper or Parliamentarian
Gatekeeper or Timekeeper (optional)
Talker, aka Presenter
Treasurer (if $) or Teller (vote-counter)

Most Used Terms
RONR Terms
RARA Terms
Call to Order
Code of Conduct or Ground Rules

Motion/Move                    EXAMPLE IN MINUTES

New Business
Open Time
Order of Business/Order of the Day/Program
Agenda (3T)

Refer/Commit to Committee (or person)
Action Item (3W)
Resolution/Resolved        2-PART DESCRIPTION

Roll Call

RONR = Rules of Order Newly Revised
RARA = Roles, Agenda, Records, Actions
Put in Parking Lot
Unfinished/Old Business
Next Agenda or pull from Parking Lot
Decision-making methods

Meeting Types
RONR Meetings
RARA Meetings



6 types
Electronic (specified method other than face-to-face in bylaws) – added in 11th edition
4 methods – 2019 update to include newer virtual methods and tips

August 28, 2018

Robert's Rules of Order - Are They Valid for Your Meetings?

Robert's Rules of Order (currently abbreviated as RONR to include "newly revised") have been around since 1876 and are still used in many organizations today.  So they must be the best way to run a meeting, right?  This process is typically for those wanting a parliamentary-type procedure to be used in their meetings, such as government, societies, and other non-profit organizations.  These rules are often used in town meeting type events where audience members are recognized and allowed to share their thoughts on agenda items being presented. 

Are Robert's Rules of Order Valid for Your Meetings?  That depends upon whether or not you want a highly formal process for running your meetings.  Robert’s process includes specific terms people must use during the meeting and in the meeting minutes.  It has guidelines for voting in the processof decision-making.  Typically silence or non-participation by any member implies consent to whatever the group decides. 

If you think you might want to use the rules, then you may want to review a few of these links to get more familiar with the process before deciding to go with Robert's Rules of Order.  
* Please note that none of these example links are official RONR websites.
If you are interested in using Robert’s Rules of Order, you may want to consider getting the most up-to-date copy of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised to have on hand to check various points of order before, during, and after your meetings.   The required use of Robert’s Rules should be spelled out in the organization’s bylaws or code of conduct.

If you are looking for a less formal approach to use in team or business meetings, consider getting the book RARA A Meeting Wizard's Approach.

August 21, 2018

Majority Vote vs. Quorum

Voting by show of hands.

What’s the difference in Quorum for decisions and Majority vote?  Majority vote means that more than half of the group/team members present have to agree to the decision for it to pass.  Some people try to be deceptive and bring in guests to vote their way so they can obtain the majority – this should not be allowed! Any way a vote is done, it should be only by voting members of the group or team.

A quorum is a way to make decisions even if all group/team members are not present as it requires only a percentage of voting members to be present for work to continue.  A quorum is usually 2/3 of the voting membership, so if at least 2/3 of the members cannot attend the meeting then the meeting may not be necessary because no decisions can be made. Having a requirement of a quorum can prevent a small group trying to take control via special meetings that they know most members with a different view will be unable to attend.

It is also important to note that a quorum may be different from a 2/3 vote, which is different from a majority.  A 2/3 vote means twice as many people must vote for the decision than vote against it in order to pass.  .  Whereas, a majority vote is simply more than ½ (51% or greater) of voting members can pass a decision for the whole, leaving the almost 1/2 minority with little voice. A  2/3 vote may also be referred to as “large majority vote.”

Whether you use Robert’s Rules of Order or another meeting process, the group/team must state in their code of conduct, bylaws, meeting guidelines, or rules/regulation, whether most decisions are to made via majority vote, quorum, consensus, or if alternative methods may be applied as appropriate.

Voting methods can be show-of-hands (raising one arm), secret ballot, roll call where each person states their vote when their name is called, counting those standing for Yes/No, or saying Yay or Nay..