What is Executive Coaching?
Executive Coaching is a term that many have heard, but few understand fully. When a leader is motivated to make a change—whether it be to change oneself, a team, or an entire organization—they may seek the support and guidance of an executive coach. The best executive coaches bring years of experience successfully navigating executives through complex changes. The typical coaching process takes place over 6-12 months but can also last multiple years. The approach is highly customized based on an individual’s goals, areas of strength and opportunities for growth. As with any change initiative, there are some keys to executive coaching success:
- Focus on development rather than performance,
- A motivation to change,
- Management support, and
- Ability to prioritize the coaching.
Management Strategies & Executive Coaching
Our team of executive coaches provides executive coaching and leadership development services to leaders across a number of federal agencies. Our work typically involves us developing custom programs to provide senior leaders with a baseline of leadership and management knowledge and skills, while also helping them achieve the leadership and professional development goals they have established for themselves and their teams.
How Can We Help You?
If executive coaching sounds like something you or someone in your organization could benefit from, contact us to discuss more about how we can help: email@example.com.
We are happy to announce that Management Strategies was recently certified as a Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Federal Contracting program. This new certification allows us to compete for WOSB set aside federal contracts and allows the government to directly award us sole-source contracts. The federal government’s goal is to award at least 5% of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year.
Achieving WOSB certification is no easy feat. The eligibility requirements to qualify as a WOSB are fully defined in Title 13 Part 127 Subpart B of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). To be eligible for the WOSB Federal Contracting program, a business must:
- Be a small business according to SBA size standards
- Be at least 51% owned and controlled by women who are U.S. citizens
- Have women manage day-to-day operations who also make long-term decisions
Partner with Us!
Let us help you achieve greater business and mission success. We are an award-winning management consulting firm supporting federal agencies with strategy and management services. Learn more about our services and partnering and industry information.
Wishing you and your family joy, health, and cheer this holiday season and throughout 2022!
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant changes in all our lives. Perhaps one of the more significant shifts has occurred in where and how we work. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics American Time Use Survey (ATUS), the percent of people working at home nearly doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, rising to 42 percent. Management Strategies observed a similar shift in our workforce as several employees shifted from on-site client support to remote support. As with all significant life changes, there were challenges and opportunities to learn and improve. A few of our employees offer their pandemic lessons learned related to the workplace:
Have a dedicated workspace.
Tyler learned early in the pandemic that having a dedicated workspace at home is essential to productivity. “Your at-home workspace does not have to be an office—it could be a specific seat at a table—just make sure you have dedicated space to work that it is free from distractions. Most importantly, shut down your at-home workspace when you are done for the day. It is important to set clear boundaries between your work and home life, especially when you work from your home.”
Be aware of local norms and protocols.
Jim discovered that although some D.C. metropolitan area neighborhoods are geographically close, norms and protocols, especially related to the COVID-19 pandemic, can change significantly from area to another. “I live and work outside of the D.C. beltway. In June 2021 when Maryland no longer required masks, I learned that masking and distancing norms differed widely by community. So even if I traveled a short distance, I needed to prepare to confirm to the norms of where I was going.”
Make time for conversations.
Brandon discovered that once his work week shifted to fully virtual, he had few opportunities for spontaneous, less formal professional conversations and opportunities to network. “My work week is often booked with Teams meetings and little time for valuable side conversations with colleagues. Whenever possible, I try to plan or attend virtual or even in-person gatherings over lunch to create more opportunities to get to know my coworkers better.
Stick to a schedule.
Even though working from home can allow for more flexibility in your workday, Rachel recommends developing and sticking to a routine so work remains properly prioritized. “From your morning routine to regular work hours, keeping a schedule will help you be more productive, accountable, and prevent burn-out from over work. Just because working from home allows for a more flexible schedule, inconsistent schedules should be the exception, not the norm.”
Take advantage of the flexibility and prioritize mental health.
Annie learned during the COVID-19 pandemic that working from home gives her the ability to manage life in a more efficient and healthy way. “Without having to worry about a stressful commute around the D.C. metropolitan area, I am now more efficient during the workday. I can more effectively juggle critical work deadlines, enjoy more non-work hours during the day, and overall find it easier to maintain my mental health.”
If you suddenly adopted new working habits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can likely relate to many of our team’s lessons learned. If you have any other lessons learned that were especially helpful for you, please leave us a comment on LinkedIn.
Our team often hears a recurring pain-point from our clients: back-to-back meetings without breaks is exhausting and impractical. This pain-point is growing more familiar to many of us as the current pandemic requires us to work remote and meetings are scheduled to compensate for a lack of face-to-face time. When meetings are scheduled back-to-back, one meeting going over the allotted time can have a domino effect on the rest of the day’s meetings, throwing off everyone’s schedule. Even when meetings end as scheduled, often there is no transition time before the next meeting starts. Without time to reset and refocus, employees can experience fatigue and distraction setting in, which can then cause real problems for teams.
We host many meetings and are always looking for ways to alleviate scheduling pain-points. An effective tool that many may not be aware of is the ability to automatically shorten meeting times in Microsoft Outlook to allow for more meeting transition time. You can even choose different standard meeting durations depending on the length of the meeting. The option is also available as an enterprise-wide default for organizations that want to standardize the practice of giving their employees a bit of buffer time.
If you use this option, meeting facilitators still need to make sure meetings end at the scheduled time, but enabling the feature will remind everyone of the importance of having a break in between calls.
How Can We Help You?
Could your organization use a team like ours to help coordinate activities and identify and alleviate pain points? Contact us and let us know how we can help you and your organization achieve greater business and mission success: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether related to specific project challenges or larger program inefficiencies, Management Strategies excels at uncovering and resolving client pain-points. Let’s address some typical pain-points that our teams encounter when we are hired, as well as how we apply our expertise to uncover and address these pain-points:
Pain-point 1: Lack of Data
A program manager lacks on-demand access to project data and dynamic dashboards that provide at-a-glance answers—our program management services can consolidate, streamline, and mature processes and enable transparency through custom reports and dashboards.
Our Project Management Professionals work with clients to develop solutions that centralize or tap into existing program data and provide visually appealing, data-driven, and automated analytics that enable quick decisions, provide transparency, and eliminate roadblocks.
Pain-point 2: Inefficient Processes
A teams’ progress is stymied by overly bureaucratic processes and decision roadblocks—process improvement can identify and eliminate “waste” in processes and help to find ways for organizations to operate more efficiently.
Our Lean Six Sigma practitioners are trained to uncover root causes of problems and find creative solutions that eliminate waste and increase efficiency.
Pain-point 3: Disconnected Stakeholders
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) learns that their customers are not supporting or adopting the new IT initiatives/policies that the agency is rolling out organizational change management (OCM) can help articulate the new initiative’s value to the organization, increase stakeholder buy-in, and reduce resistance to change.
Our Prosci®-certified practitioners are skilled at assessing agency stakeholder needs and designing custom strategies and plans for winning their trust and commitment.
Organizational Change Management
Pain-point 4: Outdated Structures
An agency leader determines that outdated organizational structures and lack of information sharing due to disparate IT systems is slowing mission execution—business transformation can streamline business operations and identify an integrated technology solution.
Our business transformation experts draw on their deep, collective experience designing and delivering comprehensive transformation initiatives across multiple Federal agencies.
How Can We Help You?
Do any of these pain points resonate with you? Contact us and let us know how we can help you and your organization achieve greater business and mission success: email@example.com.
Today we recognize our nation’s heroes on Memorial Day and we ask you to join us as we remember and honor those who courageously sacrificed their lives. From everyone here at Management Strategies, we thank you!
There is no better time than spring to re-commit ourselves to less business clutter and better organization strategies. Decluttering and reorganizing is essential to maximizing our time and can also have a noted, positive impact on professional teams’ productivity. We polled our team members for some of their tested “spring cleaning” tips and have organized them in this post to provide you and your teams with inspiration for increased productivity as we move through 2021 and beyond.
Senior Manager Tyler Pietruszka offers advice for enhancing team productivity using scrum:
“We employ a modified scrum approach to make sure that all team members are aware of workload and tasks that team members are on the hook to deliver throughout the week. Having multiple team touchpoints allows me to track team progress and offer support or guidance when team members have questions or find themselves overloaded with client requests. These touchpoints also contribute to team unity which is especially important in a fully remote environment due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.”
Manager Harrison Moore has council regarding digital automation tools that can help easily manage digital clutter:
“I recommend using automation programs to help keep your computer organized (Hazel for Mac, File Juggler for Windows). Use these programs to monitor folders and automatically rename and/or move files based on set rules. For example:
- Monitor “Downloads” folder for files where filetype is .xlsx, filename contains “Master Schedule”, and was downloaded over a week ago, move any found to trash.
- Screen Shared Dropbox “Bills” folder for new files and display a notification whenever something has been added.
- Scan desktop and automatically move screenshots to a “Screenshot” folder.
- Automatically delete files sitting in trash/recycling bin for more than two weeks.”
And his final recommendation concerns a frequently overlooked detail – the essential task of backing up data:
“After learning this lesson the hard way, I now follow the “3-2-1 Rule” for Backups, which means:
- At least three copies of your data (original and two backups)
- On at least two different media (two different hard drives, one hard drive and cloud storage, etc.)
- With at least one backup offsite (cloud provider, hard drive kept at a family member’s house, etc.)
Senior Consultant Kelsey MacDonald’s recommendation is:
“At the beginning of each season, I organize all digital files on my computer and make sure each file is logged appropriately for future reference ensuring I am able to find them in the future.”
She continues with a tip for continuous process improvement:
“I advise clients to conduct a “lessons learned” review each season (or quarter) to determine what worked well, what didn’t work, and what should be done differently. This naturally leads into a planning conversation for upcoming team goals and deliverables.”
Director Brandon Dart focuses on the true meaning of “spring cleaning” with his technique:
“I find that refreshing my workspace also helps to refresh and refocus other aspects of my work. Some ways that I refresh my workspace include incorporating new items or swapping out old items in my office such as pictures and plants. I de-clutter my workspace (digitizing whatever I can) so I can visually and mentally focus. I also set aside time to re-evaluate my routines and see if there is a new way of doing things that I should explore. For example, trying out a new team collaboration software and seeing if it helps to address a recurring pain point such as a need for increased team information sharing.”
Manager Elizabeth Lazaro has a few remote working tips:
“Now is a great time to re-evaluate if the ergonomics of your home office setup are still working for you. Consider specifically if your home environment allows you to work comfortably. Find ways to create a functional workspace that will help you maintain a good work momentum, maintain your data and productivity, as well as your professional dynamism despite not working in a standard office setting.”
President Peter Sobich recommends that after a project has been completed, the work doesn’t stop there:
“From a personal perspective, I find that spring is a great time to review and update your resume to ensure that your most recent experiences and accomplishments are included so you are ready for your next client or project. Similarly, from a corporate perspective, our team takes time in the spring to ensure that past performance citations have been created for our most recent client work so that our website and other corporate capability materials can be updated accordingly. While it’s a best practice to complete these write-ups as soon as a project has been completed, we all know that doesn’t happen every time!”
How Can We Help You?
With “spring cleaning” in full effect, decluttering and reorganizing personal and team business procedures can boost productivity for the year. We hope that our thoughts have triggered ideas of your own to declutter and reorganize. To learn more about any of these tips or to speak with us more about maximizing productivity, reach out to Management Strategies at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Task Automation?
Task automation has quickly become an essential tool that enhances modern teams and organizations, especially those that are looking for ways to reduce the time-consumption of routine, administrative tasks and designate this time to focus on more value-added activities. Implementing task automation into your organization should not require the purchase of elaborate tools or in-depth technical resources. In fact, members of our team routinely use task automation to streamline internal business reporting processes (invoicing, financial reporting, and dashboards) as well as client support initiatives (risk reporting, project status dashboards, and document compilation and formatting).
Task Automation using VBA
Management Strategies specializes in a particular type of task automation that uses Visual Basic for Applications (VBA). VBA is a feature of common Microsoft products that are used in modern businesses (e.g., Excel, Word, Outlook). A VBA code can repeat any action that a user can perform manually in a Microsoft product. Since VBA is available across common Microsoft products, a single script (several lines of code) can issue commands across multiple products. For example, a script can format data in Excel and then send that formatted file to another user via Outlook.
A Detailed Example
Management Strategies uses VBA for task automation across several clients. A popular request we receive from our clients is to improve program/project risk tracking and reporting processes. We find that many risk management programs are time-consuming and lack robust reporting or special display functionality that ties back to real-time data (dashboards). Our solutions are customized to address unique client needs and requirements; however, our typical solution involves the migration of risk data from an offline form to a simple online database.
First, we consolidate data in a central database. Next, we develop VBA scripts that automate the processing and transfer of data into a user-friendly display, such as Excel. Finally, we establish a script to format the data so it is easy to understand and also supports executive decision-making. We can set up the script to run at a specific frequency (e.g., weekly to support a meeting), as well as configure the dashboard to be emailed out to key stakeholders to allow easy tracking.
How Can We Help You?
Task automation using VBA is a powerful tool that teams and organizations should use to maximize efficiency and free up personnel to focus on more value-added activities. To discover more about task automation and how Management Strategies customizes our support for your team or organization, please contact us at email@example.com.
From all of us at Management Strategies, wishing you and your families a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!
Management Strategies is an award-winning management consulting firm with 12 years of experience helping federal agencies address complex business challenges and manage mission critical programs.
11921 Freedom Drive, Suite 550, Reston, VA 20190