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October 5, 2021

Sharing is Caring: Host a Together Talk

After a summer and fall teaching blitz (I’m still in it!), I’m finally getting the chance to follow up with course participants to see how you share Togetherness throughout your organizations. Andrea W., a leader at the Texas Education Agency (TEA), offered a cool idea I thought could be easily replicated in your own school, district, or non-profit: Together Talks.

Here’s her context: “Every month, we host Timely Topics or Coffee Chats to bring people together around an interesting topic or body of work. COVID created many new challenges and drove us to provide guidance and support to our local education agencies at a faster pace than ever, and our work routines changed. Many of us were working remotely or shifted to more computer-based approaches for meeting and/or organizing, even while in the building. I heard from many colleagues, who, like me, wanted to learn better ways to be more productive in our new virtual setting. So, to start off the new school year, we invited several agency leaders who are known for ‘having it Together’ to share their tricks of the trade.”

I love this Together Talks idea for a few reasons:

  • Showcases internal talent
  • Socializes the idea that there are many ways to get it Together
  • Articulates how the ways we work have shifted and highlights how to remain nimble

Andrea was kind enough to share her highlight reel. Read on!

Jessica C. shares her Total Together System in this cool overview below.

Ashley J. teaches a key strategy, Task-Batching, and even gives examples and shows her calendar. Bonus points for highlighting energy levels and efficiency!

And Julie K. invites her colleagues into her calendar to see how she color codes for everything from optional meetings to Covid-19 related tasks to her own worktime.

Julie follows up with a reminder about the how and why of her Meeting with Myself.

Kudos to the folks over at the TEA for thinking about how to highlight Togetherness in times of change! Big transitions are often when we need Togetherness the most, but we are often moving too fast to adjust (Maia raises hand meekly).

Andrea shared how the Together Talks helped her team members: “We recorded the session and made both the recording and Power Point available to all staff. Several people reached out and suggested that we continue with these types of sessions. Several folks also reached out directly to presenters to thank them for their tips and to share how they had begun to incorporate them in their own systems. Some remarked that the simple tip to attach documents you need to meeting invites saved them hours of preparation time!”

The Talks also invited people to practice protecting their own priorities. Check out this slide below. BOOM.

As your organization thinks about Togetherness, there is a lot to learn from the TEA’s approach:

  • Highlight multiple ways of staying Together using existing organizational resources, e.g. Outlook and Google
  • Articulate how people shift and adapt their systems in times of change
  • Be as concrete as possible with examples, artifacts, and screenshots
  • Allow space to practice

Okay, who else is up for hosting a Together Talk? Seems like a great team meeting or PD idea as fall kicks in and revs up!

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