A lot of STC chapter and SIG mailings are done the old-fashioned way: envelopes stuffed by hand, and stamped manually or--occasionally--with a stamp machine. That's an awful lot of work, and expensive too. When I confronted this problem a few years back for my current employer, some research revealed a solution that eliminated the annual pressganging of volunteers to stuff envelopes and also saved us a fair bit of money.
Did you know that every person you encounter has at least 250 people in his or her personal network? Imagine the possibilities if you were connected to a small percentage of those individuals. Multiply that by the number of friends you have, and you've expanded your networking opportunities exponentially.
This presentation reports on an intercultural virtual team project conducted by students in two management communication courses, one at the University of Delaware (USA) and one at McGill University (Canada). The goal of the partnership between the two classes was to enhance students' ability to collaborate across cultures using a variety of technologies for collaboration, a skill they need in order to succeed in the increasingly global and technologically mediated environment of work. Each team, which included students from both universities, compared communication practices in a company or type of business that exists both in the United States and in Canada. Their task was to analyze how the practices reflect and shape the particular environments in which the businesses operate. During the project they advanced and monitored their work through different technologies, including blogs, email, and a designated collaborative Web-based workspace, and they produced several genres of documents reporting their achievements. This presentation first analyzes the advantages, vulnerabilities, and faultlines of virtual intercultural teamwork as students experienced them. We then describe conditions that help teams overcome the risks of virtual work and assess how well we were able to create these conditions in the courses.
As digital scholarship postdocs, we are seen as both technical support and scholarly collaborators, but when we enter the job market, much of our work becomes invisible. For example, here at Occidental I am being given the opportunity to work with a Chopin scholar and several people from our Scholarship Technology group on a large project. Together, we are bringing this scholar’s vision of indexing and cross-referencing the expressive terms of Chopin’s music to the Online Chopin Variorum Edition so that scholars and performers can see the variety of ways Chopin used markings such as piano.
Because of the growing popularity in team work, organizations are relying on their employees’ ability to collaborate with their co-workers. Personality is a central issue in team work. Identifying personality types beforehand, according to the studies this paper has discussed, can help in decreasing team conflict. Tools and models such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Five-Factor Model of Personality (Big Five) allow individuals to learn their own personality types and also share that information with group members.
Arrogance comes out in the apparent belief that whether the employee has any say in the matter, or has a better idea, is irrelevant in the manager’s mind. Might is right, and if the employee sputters, then the employee is clearly at fault, a troublemaker. The key to neutralizing this type of manager is for the direct reports to band together and decide what they’ll accept. And - as a cohesive group of employees - to work with your HR advisor to express your discomfort with the manager’s particular communication style. Because ultimately, this type of nasty manipulation is deeply disrepectful and dismissive of staff’s qualities and talents. Which makes this behaviour a significant negative factor in the retention of key staff - they will simply no longer put up with it.
You may not have the time to read or the money to burn on analysts' reports, but adopting a technical mentor can help you keep your skills fresh. Here are the pros and cons of making the move.
Advocates restructuring technical communication departments to eliminate 'silos'—isolated groups within the department—and develop 'channels'—a cooperative grouping of workers and teams through which information about a product can flow.
A distributed documentation group is one in which people work together from distant locations, The new problem in managing such a group is that casual, face-to-face communication is missing. Technological solutions include source control, email, groupware, telephone, and the World Wide Web. Human solutions may be even more important. Autonomy, explicit standards, various ways to meet, and deliberately working across locations build the necessary communications and trust.
Most of us struggle every day with keeping the lines of communication open between developers, subject matter experts (SMEs), customers, and writers. Sometimes you can circumvent these difficulties by simply walking upstairs or across the hall and chatting with the appropriate person. But what happens when it's not a staircase or hallway separating you but a very large ocean? The best way to keep an overseas project on track is to put together a writing team in the most convenient location; meet at least once with the development team; and set up your communication channels early.
Holding competitions at regional and local levels enhances the value a chapter provides its members. This workshop, designed for chapter leaders and competition managers, provides a practical and well-tested plan for managing the chapter’s annual competition. Attendees will receive a complete package of samples, spreadsheet and document templates, and presentation slides that they can customize for their chapters.
Conflict is characteristic in any situation that brings diverse groups together to manage tasks and obstacles. Nowhere is that more apparent than in business environments based on hierarchical structures where teams are inherited and divergent objectives create barriers to effective teamwork. Conflict resolution is among the many tasks delegated to managers, yet it is often the most difficult to master.
Conflict resolution is among the many tasks delegated to managers, yet it is often the most difficult to master. From individual performance appraisals to an all-out assault within a project team, managers are expected to not only have the wisdom of Solomon, but also the patience of a saint. Yet often, this skill is not cultivated, leaving many managers unable to adapt to instances that can bring even the best performing machine to a screeching halt. To help avoid this from happening, there are various tools and tactics that an organization can adopt to not only diffuse immediate threats to productivity, but also alleviate potential issues in the long run.
Whenever you work on a team, team members may disagree. To move from those conflicts to resolution and successful teamwork, you first need to be able to recognize various styles of conflict behavior and adopt communication strategies to transform conflict into successful negotiation. The four steps in negotiation reduce internal conflicts so that the team can meet its goals.
The increasingly collaborative nature of the workplace--including writing teams and documentation groups--heightens the need for sophisticated document management solutions. Written for managers of workgroups and writing/editorial leads, this paper examines some common issues, including version control, document lifecycle management, and support for collaborative authoring and review. This paper also presents a model for finding and implementing a technology solution that makes sense for your team, as well as a case study of a successful implementation.
To make alternative work arrangements operate at maximum efficiency, you might need to fine-tune your team’s schedule. As a result, this could be one of the most useful activities for retaining key people and keeping morale high. In my experience, nearly everyone who has an alternative work arrangement realizes the value it brings to their work and personal lives, and will go to almost any length to maintain it. For one thing, when it comes to driving fewer days to an office in this age of soaring gas prices, it’s like giving employees a raise.
Today's businesses are overwhelmed with the need to create more content, more quickly, customized for more customers and for more media than ever before. Combine this with decreasing resources, time, and budgets and you have a stressful situation for organizations and their content creators. To reduce the costs of creating, managing, and distributing content and to ensure content effectively supports your organizational and customer needs, organizations can benefit from a unified content strategy. A unified content strategy is a repeatable method of identifying all content requirements up front, creating consistently structured content for reuse, managing that content in a definitive source, and assembling content on demand to meet your customers' needs.
The traditional concept of an ‘international assignment’ is rapidly becoming a misnomer. Certainly the situation whereby an individual (with or without accompanying family) is sent to an overseas location for two or three years still occurs – despite the recent downturn in business. However, today there are all sorts of permutations of business activities that can result in business people working with international colleagues and clients. It may be that people are on short-term assignments (e.g. one to six months) in another country or that they are frequent business travelers visiting subsidiaries and clients or even that they are managers of long-distance teams working on developing new products for third country markets.
Technical communication managers are faced with common responsibilities from company to company. Typically, they are responsible for resources (people and equipment), customer relations (internal and external), product, and administration. To successfully complete these responsibilities, a manager must have people, communication, planning, technical, statistical, and financial accounting skills. While focusing on the skills necessary to meet these responsibilities, managers may loose sight of key writing skills. Well-rounded managers must stay current with their teams. They must grow for their teams to grow.
Managing multiple deliverables with a small staff is a discipline unto itself, different from those departments where each writer has specific responsibilities. In this environment, each member is required to have multiple skills and the flexibility to jump from one project to the next quickly. Because of the demands, heavy training costs are often incurred, and the involvement of other departments is mandatory, all of which makes management support essential. It is an exhilarating, often exhausting environment, but the rewards are multiple skills, a wide variety of assignments, and the satisfaction of being part of a tightly-knit, highly-productive team.