Monday, March 8, 2010

Transitioning: Working Ahead

Wow! This post comes three months after the last! And as much as I'd like to blame it on the baby, two of those months were before he was born. Our transition has happened, and I'm slightly past the halfway point of my maternity leave, so it's about time I conclude this series.

My white board is a staple in my office. I don't think many of the dreams I've had over the past four years could have been thought through without it. Key events couldn't have happened without this board helping organize me. Many creative sessions have been charted out on this board. Visitors to my office are always surprised by how much they can find written there. It was only fitting that the white board be key in helping with our staffing transition.

Three months before my schedule change and four months before maternity leave, I charted out everything that needed to be done and everything I wanted to do over the upcoming months. I first divided it into four columns--October, November, December and January. At the top of each column I listed every event (aside from usual weekend services) happening in that month--family movie nights, volunteer bunko games, volunteer training events, baby dedications, Christmas, etc. In the box below the calender events, I listed each event and what needed to be done for it--purchase requisitions, room requisitions, publicity, etc. as well as time-lined out when I needed to train my team on duties they'd cover for me in my absence, or permanently. And finally, the box below that held goals I had of what I'd like to get accomplished for the future--VBS planning, room decorating, etc. These items were non-essentials.

The month of January was different from the others in that it contained only a few items and none of them depended on me (aside from training my assistant in running check in on Sunday mornings). The idea was that I could go into labor on any day and just not show up to work and everything would continue without a hitch.

Our team has a weekly meeting where we go over highlights from the weekend and plan ahead for future events. These meetings became a time to check in on the white board and check off items we'd accomplished and look at what we needed to plan for. It helped my team understand what all I was thinking of and kept us on the same page as we moved forward. It also let them know what goals I was setting for myself. Even though I didn't come close to accomplishing all of them, it held me accountable to making efforts to achieve them.

By the time January 1 arrived, and my hours reduced dramatically, it was easy to make the change. Which leads me to my next post... Finally Transitioning!

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