PPR Strategies


Skills Development: A Middle School Master Class

Today’s blog post is written by our writer, Meghan McQuade Boyle. 

Complete this sentence: everything you needed to learn, you learned in ______________.

While many people may credit mentors or work experiences that illuminated the pathway to success, I’m willing to bet that elementary or middle school tops the list. I recently attended a middle school parents’ night, and the tips that my son’s eighth grade teacher shared were a revelation!

If you’d like to upgrade some foundational skills in the new year (but have little time to slot in skills development on your Google calendar), here are some tips that are easy to incorporate – no schedule block required.

1. Communicate clearly.

When you reply to an email or communicate with a colleague, are you responsive when you respond? Hitting the pause button on your response–by stepping away or re-reading their request–makes you a thoughtful problem-solver. Walk down the hall to their office, or pick up the phone to address a client’s concern. The communication cues you receive through pauses and inflection will help you connect and find a way forward.

2. Try new time management tactics.

If you’re anything like me, better management makes me feel more in control. There’s a lot to be said for a school bell system that signals the end of one time frame and the start of another. Having jumped on the “New Year, New Me” bandwagon, I’ve been tracking the time it takes me to complete a project by setting a timer in our team’s project management platform. My DIY bell system tracks the amount of time that I estimate that a project will take, down to the second. This tactic helps me make better use of my time and informs our operational process going forward. No detentions necessary!

3. Change is hard; acknowledge it.

Transitions are tough, whether we’re five or forty something. When leaders step down, processes change, and reorganizations occur, we fear the unknown, even if we manifest it differently. If you’re the person in charge of this transition, engage others in the process. Set aside Q&A time at team meetings to build trust or create helpful visuals that detail how new processes will work. By acknowledging the elephant in the room, and finding proactive ways to support the elephant, you’re likely to gain more cheerleaders than naysayers.

4. Edit, proofread, and make your favorite teacher proud.

Even if you don’t write for a living, well-crafted copy elevates your message. So before sending that email, drafting that board report, or writing that proposal, incorporate these smart editing hacks into your process. Print it out, or imprint it on your brain; either way, you’ll benefit!

Sometimes leaning in on what we already know is the best way to go forward. Do you have any strategies that make you more productive, resilient, or mindful in 2023? If so, send us a message and share them with our team!

Reimagining Places With You,
Meg and the PPR Strategies Team

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