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Busy Bodies

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff, Life at Daxko, Workplace | No Comments

There are a lot of different schools of thought for how to best get through what the world has decided to call ‘busy work.’ You can see a lot of these different styles from just looking around the office at those on Customer Success…often to comedic effect. (Warning: this post has almost no shape and is just a humorous look into a few people’s mannerisms while focusing on work.)

Many folks, perhaps the majority, will simply go into an almost meditative like state where they focus on getting through it as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are lots of different terms for this, from going ‘heads down’ to ‘getting in the zone.’ These types find a groove and knock things out.

On the other hand, there are people like me who prefer to have white noise in their ear as they set about these tasks. It’s not unexpected that many teammates will listen to music as they’re taking care of this busy work and Spotify being open and gently playing soft background music is not uncommon. However, like in every office, there are some personalities that are too loud, so to speak, for background noise to satisfy them.

For example, it isn’t unlikely to walk into work and hear the dulcet tones of Colby, favoring us all with a rendition of ‘She’s a Lady.’ Meaning no disrespect to Tom Jones, but I think that this version is my favorite, as it means Colby’s spelunking through some finances and about to come up for air, having hopefully found a solution. What starts as humming softly eventuates in a full blown song while we cheer him on. Scientists haven’t yet discovered what makes Tom Jones and Colby work so well together, but there’s no denying that it gets the job done.

Less vocal about her busy work but perhaps more immediately apparent, you can at times look up to find Alex dancing in place as she goes through her tasks. A quick shimmy here, a spin in her chair or just some simple hand gestures, I think that Alex is usually dancing without even listening to music; the movement perhaps just helps her blood flow, letting her get through the tasks quicker.

Over the past month, with the 2016 Olympics going on, many have tuned into that in lieu of music. This busy work interspersed with conversation about how many medals the USA has secured or what events were taking place at what times throughout the day made the droll tasks go by more quickly.

More interesting to me was the championships going on before that. At the beginning of August, the sixth iteration of The International was going on. In this event, sixteen teams of five battled it out to see which was the very best at a video game called Dota 2. Not only glory was on the line, though, as the winning team took home just over nine million dollars.

My cheering and sudden (under my breath) chants of ‘U-S-A, U-S-A’ drew the attention of my neighboring teammate Josh. After a bit of explaining the premise, I had him listening as well. We were able to cheer for the good guys and boo the bad and we suffered defeats with the same sadness as when our Olympic team was narrowly edged out for the gold.

Busy work’s a lot more fun when you’ve got a friend to slog through it with.


McKee S. is a Customer Success Warlock who loves playing video games and kickin’ around a hacky sack.

Do you love to solve problems and provide stellar customer service? Work with McKee as a Customer Success Advocate!

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How to Sound Smart About Something Most People Mess Up

By | Culture, Healthy Stuff | No Comments

When it comes to data and making decisions, most of us leave an incredibly valuable tool sitting unused in our proverbial decision-making toolboxes. PROBABILITY, defined as the likelihood something will or will not happen. You may know it as “the odds”. We don’t use this tool because we may not have wrapped our heads around it (acceptable, we can learn!) or because we think it doesn’t help us (a myth, let me convince you why).

So, why is this and and why is it important?

I’ll get right back to that, but I first need to ask a favor: PAUSE — Please do not search on the internet for the term “probability”. If you do, one of the very first things you will read is how a coin toss has 50/50 chances of landing on heads or tails. Herein lies a common next misstep – it is incredibly easy to interpret equal chances as meaning that the odds don’t matter or that an answer is unknowable. This is far from the case, but even the those of us who understand probability mess this up in certain situations.

Case in point, there is a true story of a world leader deciding if he should authorize a now infamous military action and he says on record, “this is a 50-50 shot” while deciding. Only it wasn’t. The official probability calculations were closer to 5:3 in favor of the operation being successful. He authorized the action and it was successful. The probability odds were right and it was not equivalent in likelihood to a coin toss.

So why did a well-educated and experienced leader say it was a toss-up decision when if he were using those same 5:3 odds while selecting his fantasy sports team he would likely have been discussing why that data was helpful? There is a pervasive gut tendency to think certain decisions are either guaranteed or unknowable when they are actually likely or unlikely. Throw in a healthy dose of not wanting to be wrong, and we have a recipe for saying something can’t be known, when degrees of certainty are actually quite knowable.

I’d like to make the case that this affects everyone reading. We come to conclusions and make decisions every day based on what we expect to happen, and we often do so with minimal data backing up those expectations. The value of harnessing probability is that it examines how certain you should be and how right you’ve been in the past. Probability tells you that if there are 9:1 odds something is likely to happen, the right answer is “yes!”, and not “maybe” or “I don’t know”.

How can this help you? Consider the following examples …

Question: “What are the odds of X sports team winning their next game?”

Answer: Between Vegas betting odds, fantasy leagues, sport media, and sports fans A LOT of people feel comfortable having this probability scenario.

Now think about these ….

Question: “Do we think the Smith family will renew their membership with us?”
Or how about …
“If I ask our newest member to donate to our campaign, do you think they will?”

Answer: “I think maybe, but that’s really hard to know!”
Or better yet …
“That’s a coin toss, I’m not sure we can know until we try.”

Examining and analyzing data is one of the biggest reasons I love my role at Daxko. You can use probability in your daily work or in your life as well. And seeing that most people are in the process of selecting their fantasy football teams right now, it’s a great time to put probability to work.


Constance M. is a Product Manager who enjoys organizing stuff and all things Joss Whedon.

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Training Tips

By | Culture, Free Career Advice, Grow Your Career, Life at Daxko, Talent | No Comments

Seemingly overnight, I went from five days a week in the office to five days a week on the road. It’s certainly been an adjustment, but, as most things with Daxko go, it has also been an adventure.

I would like to say that after a few months of training customers on the road, I am beginning to feel seasoned in my role as a road warrior. Because of that, here are ten things I’ve learned since I’ve started traveling:

#1: Bring your routine with you. Just because you’re in a hotel room every night doesn’t mean you should skimp on your necessities. I always bring along basically everything I use on a daily basis at home…including a bag full of vitamins.

#2: Don’t bore yourself. It’s so easy to want to go and collapse in your room after a long day of training, but I always try to find a place to go and visit. My favorite trip so far has been my trip to Altavista, VA, because I got to visit lots of historical places there! Pictured in this post are photos from Monticello and the Appomattox Court House.

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#3: Find good food. This one is probably most important to me! I scope out restaurants the minute I touch down in my location that week. I always try not to do fast food on the road because I could have that any time.

#4: Bring headphones. This one is non-negotiable. I’m not really a chatty person, so having headphones for airports and airplanes is a pretty good way around all the small talk. Plus, we’ve all heard crying babies in airports…

#5: Improvise. One of the quickest things you’ll learn on the road is that you have to improvise…a lot. You move classes around, you change flights, you update your hotel reservation…it’s all just part of the job. Learning to roll with the punches and redesign your plan will only help you in the long run.

#6: Learn what you like. Be it an airline, a rental car service, a hotel chain, or a restaurant, learn what you like and stick with it. Sometimes, you have to improvise (see #5) when things don’t go as planned, but once you get into a rhythm, you can help yourself guarantee a little on-the-road bliss.

#7: Hydration and cough drops are key. I carry my 40 oz water bottle around all day and fill it up whenever I get the chance. Staying hydrated is a no brainer anyway, but when you’re talking all day and walking around a classroom, you’ve got to keep your energy up and your voice fresh! Same goes for cough drops…for me, at least. I have tonsillitis at least twice a year, so when my voice starts to go (and it does, every week), I have a backup plan.

#8: Car sing alongs will save you. Sometimes, you fly into an airport that’s a good distance away from your training site. In times like this, open up your Spotify app, turn on some tunes, and sing along. Personal favorite for me? Hamilton soundtrack. Who would’ve guessed that after my last culture blog post? I sang this song more than once on my drive from Charlottesville to Altavista.

#9: Take time to recharge. Being a road warrior will really take it out of you. Take a day of PTO on an off week, pick an early flight so you can get home a bit earlier before the weekend, whatever works for you…do it. Don’t burn yourself out.

#10: If all else fails…ask your sister, the former trainer, every question you possibly could.

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Deeanna S. is a Software Trainer and Tudor history buff who loves the outdoors.

 

Do you love to travel and teach others? Work with Deeanna on the Daxko Training team!

staff-engagement

How to Hire Right for Engagement

By | Fitness, Industry, Marketing, Membership | No Comments

The most sustainable nonprofits have talented teams. Have you considered that your staff must be engaged before they can effectively engage members? Staff engagement starts during the hiring process. Associations with successful engagement programs say it has changed the way they hire. Even when you have all the right people in place, it is important to continuously engage your staff just as you would your members to get the best outcomes. Here are some staff engagement ideas featured in Entrepreneur from Dwight Merriman (founder of several successful startups):

  1. Ensure that those you hire understand your mission at the outset — those that understand the mission will be a better fit for the long haul
  2. Foster collaboration between staff — open huddles and team meetings encourage collaboration and engagement
  3. Educate staff regularly – when people feel they are growing and learning they stay connected
  4. Be transparent to build trust – communicating the good, the bad, and the ugly encourages open communication and engagement

Staff engagement stays top of mind at the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast. It’s a big part of the overall engagement strategy. Kathy Cannon heads up their engagement efforts and she fosters engagement with her team by facilitating a staff huddle twice a day to talk about training topics and highlight engagement achievements at the branch. The team also devotes 10 minutes to “Connections” (discussing connections with members) at their bi-weekly staff meetings and they regularly involve branches that are seeing the most success in team trainings to spread good habits across the association. The team there has a laser focus on quality interactions. Thanks to a strategic engagement plan and consistent tracking, the team doubled interactions logged from 3% of all check-ins to nearly 6% of all check-ins (that represents an increase of nearly 3,000  interactions per month!)

This is an excerpt from our recent Engagement Insights Report. You can view or download the full report on the Insights Report page.