Together Team: Document Your Annual Activities

Feb 11, 2016

As The Together Leader gets closer and closer to release, I want to highlight a few leadership tools I’ve never mentioned before on the blog.

Worried about capacity, collisions or communication on your team? I definitely recommend creating an Annual Activities plan.

Sheena M., Director of Talent Development/Advanced Studies/AVID Programs for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, was reviewing this very cool planning matrix during one of my recent workshops on prioritization. Naturally, I sidled up behind her to learn more—it’s a color-coded slide that outlines her team’s big projects for the entire academic year. She was kind enough to share it with me, along with her tips on how to use it.

Sheena leads a small but mighty team of seven. They are responsible for all creative and gifted programming in her district, including all AP courses, IB programmes, AVID sites, and other special events.

In short, they are busy. Sheena’s team must manage time very carefully. To do so, they created this Annual Activities planner.

According to Sheena, the matrix allows her team to “see any areas of overlap, and predict ahead of time when we will be doing a high volume of work.  We can use backward design to reduce the workload as well as communicate to each other when one project lead may need more support.”

Because plans are only as good as their usage, I asked Sheena how her team keeps the document front and center. Her awesome answers:

  • We revisit the document at each quarterly meeting.
  • I review the Annual Activities weekly.  This allows me to see when I may need to eliminate specialist requirements or offer more support.
  • When a new project comes up, the team checks the Annual Activities to determine how it can best be supported, and by whom.

I love how Sheena and her team took the time to plan ahead and map out work across the year. They also had the guts to keep it simple. And their habits for reviewing and returning to their Annual Activities are amazing!

PS – The case for the visual, analog calendar