Tag Archives: Teamwork

Rally your team together this 4th July

We’ve all had to work with others at some point in our lives in order to get things done. Whether it’s working towards a strict deadline or organizing a big event, we often rely on fellow team members to help us get over that final hurdle, and they’re often the ones who we’re celebrating with when we cross the finish line. And while some prefer working on their own, many of us can’t imagine facing everyday workplace challenges without a supportive team behind us.

Rally your team together this 4th July and create the best team on the block with our top tips below.

Boost morale – a ‘good job’ goes a long way

Being thankful for hard work and celebrating small successes can sometimes get pushed aside by other pressing deadlines. Recognition of your team’s hard work not only allows you to express gratitude for their efforts, but also encourages employees to strive for greater results with a clear understanding of what behaviors and outcomes your organization values.

Share praise by Commenting on a specific job well done, and get the team geared up for the next phase of the project. With the ‘@’ symbol you can mention team members in a comment to thank them for their hard work.

Oversee, don’t micromanage

Employee autonomy limits the need for constant direction from managers and CEO’s. However, in a 2013 survey conducted by Stanford University focusing on executive coaching, 35% of coaches admitted that delegating work is something that they need to work on. And even when managers do delegate responsibility, they fall into the trap of micro managing the rest of their team, resulting in employees performing at a lower level (as found in a recent study).

Instead of feeling like you have to constantly look over your team’s shoulder, take a step back to show that you trust them to perform at a high standard. By granting the team a little authority, they’ll have the freedom to work together to get things done. After Delegating responsibilities, you can gently oversee project developments by looking at the ‘Active’ projects from within the Project Browser. Here, you’ll be able to view what’s in Progress, what’s been Completed, and areas that require your attention. With indicators displaying the status of the overall project, you’ll be able to keep track of project developments at a glance.

Define deadlines

Strategic deadlines push the team forward towards the desired end goal. Set specific task Due Dates to inform everyone of the activities and timescale required for the project’s successful completion.

How do you motivate your team to get things done? Let us know in the comments below.

Managing nationwide projects with flexibility and focus

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arete-rehab-janet-mahoney
Dr. Janet Mahoney, CEO of Arte Rehab; a company that provides quality patient care through a range of therapies within healthcare, was looking for a solution to manage the many aspects of her growing and dynamic business. Janet wanted a solution where employees could focus on accomplishing ongoing goals and would get the big picture overview of company-wide projects, and with DropTask she gained not only this, but the flexibility and visual organization to manage the workload of a large team within a nation-wide company.

“Arte Rehab operates in four different states, offers 3 lines of Business and has a wide range of consultants up and down the country. We have experienced significant growth since our 2013 inception and as a result of our expanding business, have hired a number of remote employees. Prior to finding DropTask, keeping track of everyone’s progress with shared tasks and ongoing projects became a challenge and I resorted to using an old school dry erase board to plan collaborative projects. This wasn’t a successful way to do things, and often lead to a messy board with an unclear structure on how we were going to progress forward with our next project.

This was the tipping point for me as I knew that I needed to find a solution that would fit the needs of the company and allow collaboration between a wide range of staff working within different locations. I needed us all to be on the same page with our current workload, within a system which allowed a seamless way of taking our projects from the initial stages of planning, to completion.
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The visual aspect of DropTask and the ability to organize my workload as task circles allowed me to reschedule and prioritize my workload in a simple way. I currently have the Business account, which further allows me to manage the massive process of Task Assignment within the team. In an instant, I’m able to click on tasks that are assigned to different team members and view their progress.
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The Checklist feature is one of the teams’ personal favorites to use. What we find most useful is that it breaks down larger tasks into several smaller tasks and ones which are a little less daunting to tackle. This feature is my go-to if I want to quickly glance over progress. I do this by viewing the task circle on the Canvas, which gives me a visual indicator of how long it will take until the larger task is completed – which I find is most efficient. It’s a great feature for managers to keep on track, and for employees to focus on getting their job done.
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Due to my busy schedule, I often need a prompt to direct my attention to a specific task that I need to complete. I assign Reminders to my tasks for a specific date and time for when I’d like an in-app Notification and email reminder sent to me. I find these really efficient as the Reminder Notification will remain in the app until I dismiss it, encouraging me to complete the task so I can get back to my work at hand.

Currently within DropTask I’m working on reviewing and updating our employee handbook, policies and procedures. This project is very time consuming and requires a massive team effort to review, rewrite and research the policies that our industry requires. For such an extensive project, this entails lots of job roles being assigned to a variety of different staff members in order for the project to remain on course to meet its deadline. In all of my projects and in this one in particular, I review the Status of each of the tasks that are assigned to my employees, and I do this on a daily basis. As Project admin, I have access to all of the Project’s minor details including: changing the permission levels of each project member, editing advanced Permission Settings and removing members from the project. I find this feature useful as I am in affect the owner of the project and as a result have complete control of any user’s accessibility to shared work.
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Our time management as an entire team has improved significantly with the help of DropTask. We now assign Start and Due Dates to all of our tasks. This not only encourages us to work harder, but we have found that it has allowed us to complete tasks much faster than ever before. For example, each member of the team has a unique Calendar that is based around the tasks that they’re assigned to. Before this, there was confusion surrounding dates and not knowing when deadlines were put in place.

As a doctor of physical therapy with more than 30 years experience, I have worked in acute care hospitals, co-founded a skilled nursing facility rehab management consulting company and written many articles to emphasize the need for industry change. And now I finally feel like I can manage all of these different aspects of my life within DropTask. I have everything that I need to accomplish my projects without any additional stress of knowing where my work is, as now it is all available within one superior task management tool which is DropTask.”

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Individual Work Vs Teamwork

Individual Work Vs Team Work

Knowing when to go it alone, and when to pull together

As Rio plays host to the 2016 Olympic Games, we find sports fever taking hold across the planet. No matter what your favorite sport is – rowing, gymnastics, triathlon, volleyball – you can only marvel at the incredible performances put in by so many talented athletes and teams. At DropTask, this got us thinking about the many parallels between this glorious sporting event and the workplace. Just as in the Olympic Games, today’s businesses have individual and team sports, and it’s always best to play by the rules of each game so you can emerge triumphant as opposed to wallowing in defeat.

So, individual work vs teamwork. The question isn’t “which is better?” as they’re both needed for a well-rounded enterprise, but “which is better for what?” Let’s take a look at the kinds of tasks that call for you to work independently and those that benefit from more of a group effort.

Individual work: when flying solo works best

1. Tasks that need high concentration and focus

1. Tasks that need high concentration and focus

Group work can be a bad move in some contexts because it interrupts focused thought. All the chatter might be fun and liaising with others creates strong bonds, but less work gets done. An intriguing study known as the Coding War Games found that programmers tend to work faster when coding as individuals without distractions. And as a general rule, designers, engineers, writers, and artists do their best work alone. For tasks that require pinpoint accuracy and mental clarity, it’s better to find your own private space to be productive. Author of Brain Rules John Medina reports that people whose work is interrupted take 50% longer to finish a task and make up to 50% more errors. If you need to focus on an intricate job, block out time in your DropTask calendar to tackle it single-handedly. You’ll get it done quicker without outside disruptions messing up your groove or pointless meetings eating up your time and energy. Use DropTask to brief your team so they know when you’re going to be in a focused work session and don’t want to be disturbed – then get cracking with those tasks!

2. Learning new skills

2. Learning new skills

Everyone has their own individual learning styles and preferences, and there’s mounting evidence to show that solitude can help us learn. Psychologist Anders Ericsson famously said that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something. According to his research on peak performance, the best way to master a skill is to go directly to the part that’s most challenging for you personally. This usually means going it alone as you isolate the tasks that are just out of your reach and strive to upgrade your performance bit by bit. In his words, “If you want to improve, you have to be the one who generates the move. Imagine a group class – you’re the one generating the move only a small percentage of the time.”

Visuals – such as icons, images, logos, symbols, colors or shapes – play a massive role in our learning. Educational studies have found that up to 75% of the population prefers visual/spatial thinking, and meaningful visuals can ease ‘cognitive load’, improving the overall learning process. DropTask is all about visual task management to support the natural processes of the brain. If you’re on a training course and want to get some serious study done, or looking to lock down a new skill, then take advantage of DropTask to manage your learning from start to finish. Create a project for your skills development and schedule all your study actions by Start Date and Due Date. You’ll have a complete visual presentation of your course which is much easier to comprehend than pages and pages of notes, and reaches more of your senses all at once. With DropTask’s inclusive features, not only can you visually track each learning milestone, you can also store all your study materials in one neat space, making for a clutter-free mind.

Teamwork: when it pays to be part of a group

Brainstorming – generate more, better ideas

1. Brainstorming – generate more, better ideas

Teamwork is a fun, stimulating and useful way to produce tons of ideas, fast. Team discussions offer more scope for creativity in comparison to working solo, especially if they bring together people with diverse backgrounds and experiences. If your group brainstorming sessions always fall a bit flat, then perhaps you haven’t been playing by the rules. For collective idea generation that works, you need to foster a playful environment where people can share their ideas without judgment. Use Alex Osborn’s (the ‘father of brainstorming’) principles as a guideline:

  • Go for quantity: Don’t stop at the first, most obvious idea. Creativity is a numbers game. Aim to extract as many ideas as possible and you might just hit upon a real breakthrough.
  • Seek out crazy ideas: Avoid groupthink by encouraging teams to shoot for insane and exaggerated ideas. The wilder the better. Ideas that seem completely ridiculous or far-fetched on first sight can always be toned down to something more practical later on.
  • Suspend judgment: Postpone any criticism or analysis of ideas until you’ve generated a sufficient number to work with. Snap judgments, whether positive or negative, will destroy the seeds of potential ideas as people fear to speak up in case their suggestions are rejected.
  • Combine and build on ideas: Two bad ideas can combine into a great one. Try snowballing on other people’s ideas to create more robust solutions or merge two radical ideas and see what happens!

Provide team members with a visual platform on which to capture and connect all their ideas, like iMindMap’s brainstorming view. Once you’ve got a pile of options ready, don’t forget the most crucial step – taking action on the best ones. Nothing kills group motivation and creativity faster than new proposals that come to nothing. Use DropTask to get moving on your ideas and secure total buy-in from your colleagues. Invite team members to collaborate on joint projects, and define specific actions and timelines to make things happen. That way, the whole team can share in the moment of victory.

two heads are better than one

2. Problem solving – “two heads are better than one”

Two or more people are always better than one for solving problems. In a team, everyone is unique and can apply different skills and viewpoints to explore a problem from multiple angles. Leave it to one individual, and they’re at risk of becoming overwhelmed and reaching illogical conclusions. Open communication is key for effective team problem solving, but the use of numerous messaging channels such as email, phone and text can be more of a hindrance than a help. Important messages can easily get lost in a wave of back-and-forth emails. Agree upon just one medium to make your team play more manageable. DropTask provides a shared space that makes it easier for each individual to think like a united team when tackling complex problems, rather than acting the lone ranger. People can ask questions, share files and update progress, all in real time. This open environment acts as a great support mechanism for team members during challenging times, as people can look to one another for help and guidance, leading to better decisions. With everyone (including remote colleagues) working from the same page, you can be sure that no one will be left in the dark and that the best solutions will always come to light. After all, a collaborative team is a winning team!

As you can see, a blend of both independence and interdependence is a must for optimal productivity in the workplace, and DropTask supports both. When do you prefer to work alone or in a team? Hit the comments and let us know.

 

To build the team, build the trust

Team Trust

At the foundation of any strong team, is trust.  Building trust between individuals can take time, but once gained, can result in a truly productive team that will harness individual strengths to form a strong, cohesive unit. See below for our top tips on how you can build trust in your team.

Get personalGet personal

It’s easy to fall into a routine where you’re so focused on the things that you need to do, that you forget to engage in everyday conversations that don’t involve deadlines or progress updates. Remember, each person in the team has their own story, values and hobbies and getting to know them on a personal level can create a powerful sense of trust as well as comradery.

Have integrity

Have integrity

In order for trust to be built, an open and honest communication policy should be followed. Honest mistakes happen and promises are sometimes broken, but it’s important to come forward and accept accountability while putting personal consequences to one side. This courage will give confidence to your fellow team members who are relying on you to do the right thing.

Consider everyone equalConsider everyone equal

Whether there’s a new member in the team or a long-standing colleague, be sure to give fair weight to feedback and new ideas – as well as the credit that’s due for them. Acknowledging someone’s contribution regardless of their position will help to convey how much value they bring to the team, and this show of respect will help to build the foundation; resulting in a happier and more productive workforce.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

3 Qualities to turn a good team player great

2 months free for teams

This week, we’re celebrating teams and putting special focus on how you can promote better collaboration in the workplace.

Effective teamwork is essential to any business or organization looking to achieve high performance rates, and by combining individual strengths and pointing them towards one shared (and clearly established) vision, you can maximise your efforts and make sure that you work to the best of your ability as a team.

To achieve this, having the right skills for the job is undeniably essential, but what qualities define a truly effective team player?  See below for our rundown of 3 qualities that can turn a good team player great, plus, details on how you can get 2 months free when you upgrade to any annual DropTask PRO team plan before Monday*.

1. A willingness to help

Teamwork

A truly great team member will always be glad to share advice, offer support and extend a helping hand if any troubles arise. With this, comes the importance of commitment and dependability, demonstrated through the ability to complete a task within the expected time frame and to the same standard as if it were their own. As Henry Ford once said, “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself”.

2. Compromise

Work together

Though it might be a hard pill to swallow, we can’t be right all of the time. Being stubborn with your views can alienate team members and create a negative environment for ideas to flourish. Instead, a great team player will remain open to the opinion of others and will follow a flexible approach to any situation, especially when it comes to solving a problem.  As part of having this quality comes the need to be fearless, and placing trust in the judgement of your fellow team members.

3. Constructive communication

Team communication

Even with all good intentions, it’s easy to fall into the trap of giving unsolicited advice and feedback that gets taken the wrong way. For healthy, open communication, a great team member should initiate conversations with respect; listening, using specifics, and offering solutions or improvements if a problem has been identified.  Communication in teamwork is key, so remember, be constructive, not destructive.


SPECIAL OFFER:
For this week only, get 2 months free when you upgrade
your team to DropTask PRO*.

Claim Offer

*Offer valid on annual DropTask PRO team plans only and expires midnight 16th May 2016. Cannot be used on subscription downgrades or in conjunction with any other offer.

New to DropTask? Learn more about the benefits by signing up for a free account today.

Celebrate teamwork this Labour Day

DropTask Labor Day Sale

As Labor Day celebrates the success and achievements of workers in the United States, there’s no better time to evaluate whether you and your team are doing all that you can to maximise your productivity. What’s more, we’re giving you the option to improve your performance with an extra month of DropTask PRO completely FREE when you sign up to any annual PRO plan!*

Together Everyone Achieves More

Here are 3 powerful reasons why working as a team should be at the forefront of your mind…

1. MotivationMotivation

Knowing that there are other people working towards the same goals as us inspires motivation. Whether we turn to team members for support or to celebrate big achievements – we’re better together. Share your projects with an unlimited number of people so everyone is working from the same page. By inviting your team members to collaborate on projects you can make your team feel inspired, motivated and supported – all whilst getting a better idea of what everyone is up to.

2. Improved Efficiency

Improve Efficiency

Dave Liddell, President of SKYE Business Solutions, speaks about the importance of teamwork in an organization: “It is proven through research that when employees feel ‘included’ as part of a team and part of a work family, they will be more productive and more efficient.” Combining the individual strengths of team members can help push a project forward, and clearly defined responsibilities ensure that work is accounted for and completed by the team member who is most suited to the task.

3. Optimized Solutions

Fresh pair of eyes

When you work with others you can gain otherwise unseen perspectives on a problem. This means that others can spot things you might have missed, or even identify a different approach that you may not have thought of. This is incredibly valuable when problem solving but is also a great asset when generating new ideas or beginning new projects.  With more people working towards the same goal, you can be safe in the knowledge that you have covered all bases. So start a conversation with your team today and get those ideas flowing!


Engage your team and celebrate Labor Day this weekend by upgrading to DropTask PRO and claiming an extra month of PRO for FREE.* To redeem, simply hit the button below:Redeem Offer*Offer valid when purchasing any annual DropTask PRO subscription and expires at midnight on Monday 7th September 2015. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.