Category: Project Management

Unlocking Employee Engagement

How do you keep employees engaged? And especially now, in this time of crisis, how do you keep employees focused, while understanding the impact of these unprecedented times on their very lives? It’s not easy. Most people will take any tips they can to realistically move projects along. And knowing how to lead beyond work takes some creative initiative.

Leah M. Joppy & Associates recently hosted a webinar titled 5 Tips to Unlocking Employee Engagement in Crisis – And Beyond. The purpose behind this webinar was to explore ways we all can use to keep employees engaged, active and interested.

Obviously, this subject was a hot one! During the highly interactive webinar we informed each other. Creative ideas were tossed around. Each participant could absorb the information and ask questions. Everyone came away from the webinar with insights into what they could do given their individual situation.

Here are some of the takeaways from the webinar.

  • First, lead by example. We learn from each other. How we react is often an extension of how our leader deals with the situation.
  • Encourage virtual collaboration. For some, this may seem silly, or scary. Technology is often puzzling. But showing how easy and effective it can be puts everyone at ease.
  • Get to know your team on a social level. We’re not robots, rights? Getting to know your team as individuals, with specific needs, helps you appreciate more fully exactly what they’re going through and will help to identify resources needed.
  • Offer honest feedback regularly. Think about what we hear on the news now – don’t we all appreciate honest assessment rather than vague direction?
  • Recognize team members using their Appreciation Language. Everyone wants, and needs, appreciation, but you have to know how THEY want to be appreciated. People are different and they have a preference of method in which they like to be appreciated.
  • Mindfulness. How do you feel about the current crisis? Whether your glass is half full or half empty, it is refillable. Taking care of ourselves today will determine our tomorrow, post-crisis.
  • Practice empathy and flexibility. People have a lot going on – loss of job, homeschooling kids, personal health issues and maybe elderly parents who may live in another state – all of which is only made more complicated by the crisis. They need someone to be able to talk to and understand – to LISTEN. This is a new situation for most of us.
  • Stay connected. There are so many ways nowadays – through phone, messaging, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, and more. Staying connected keeps us occupied and engaged.

All in all, the webinar left us all energized. See the additional resources we sourced below. And stay tuned for the next one. If you want to make sure you don’t miss it, send me your email so I can include you on the next announcement. 

Additional Resources:

Be safe, be well everyone!


Setting goalsA new year is upon us and it’s a time that naturally lends itself to reflection and thinking about what we want to achieve in the future. Setting goals are an important part of this process. Goals give us a sense of purpose and meaning, point us in the direction we want to go and help us become more interested and engaged. All of this adds up to greater overall happiness in our lives!

Aristotle said, “Well begun is half done.” In terms of goals, he’s absolutely right. That’s why we need to pay careful attention to how we set our goals and move towards accomplishing them. Here are few ways to get started:

Set A Goal That Motivates You

Goal achievement requires commitment, so it’s important that you set goals that you’re actually motivated to accomplish. These are high priority areas of YOUR life, not your spouse, children, co-workers, etc. Start by writing down why your particular goal is valuable and meaningful to you. If you were to share your goal with someone, how would you convince him or her that it’s worthwhile? This is a good exercise to help you if you start to doubt your ability or lose confidence.

Choose a Goal That Emphasizes Your Value

It’s easy to beat ourselves down and not recognize our assets. Especially at the beginning of the year, we should think about making ourselves a priority. Think about how your friends and co-workers appreciate you – is it for your calmness? Your thoughtful consideration? Whatever your strengths, try to create a goal that works with that strength. Not only will it make you wiser and stronger, but more fulfilled.

Choose A Goal To Create a Journey, Not Just A Destination

Instead of setting a life goal, think about setting a life direction. Determine the things that would create a compelling and fun journey. Ask yourself some questions like: “How do I want to spend my time?” “What do I want to learn?” “What daily activities make me want to get out of bed and get moving?”

Set Goals In Writing

There’s something about the physical act of writing down a goal that makes it real and tangible. Frame your goal statement positively. Use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.” Then post your goal in a visible place to remind yourself that you’re working towards this incredible accomplishment!

Make An Action Plan

You know what you want. Now, how are you going to accomplish it? Don’t get so focused on the outcome of your goal that you forget to plan all of the things that you need to tackle along the way. Write out the individual steps and cross each one off as you complete it. That way, you see that you’re making progress.

We adopt goals for one reason: to change our lives. The path toward our goals may not

always be easy or run smoothly, but having goals is part of what makes life happier and more meaningful. Leah M Joppy and Associates can help you make 2020 your best year yet by helping you identify and achieve the goals that really matter to you. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email


effective teamsBuilding and maintaining an effective team is not something you should think about in between all of your other day-to-day activities. Projects come and go, but the teams behind them drive the results. Leaders play an important role in team development, from facilitating communication to mediating conflict to setting standards for accountability. But all too often, it’s easy to forget to check in and make sure teams are running smoothly and efficiently. The beginning of a new year is a great time to step back and take a look at what’s working, what’s not and make necessary changes. To do so, let’s take a look at a few characteristics of effective teams:

  • Having a common goal and shared objectives
  • Creating a positive environment around the objectives
  • Maintaining open communication
  • Establishing clearly defined team roles
  • Focusing on time management in order to meet deadlines
  • Implementing practical problem solving tactics
  • Encouraging differences in opinions and not suppressing alternative ideas

You can have all of the checkpoints listed above, but the foundation of any effective team is trust. Team members need to know that everyone will deliver on their promises, support shared goals and maintain open communication. Patience, transparency and providing mutual feedback are a few ways to cultivate trust. Team building exercises and problem-solving activities are also effective ways to build team trust.

Effective teams are the foundation of every successful organization. If you feel like your teams could use some help in the New Year, Leah M. Joppy and Associates can help. We’ve helped a wide variety of organizations assess their current team structure, determine where changes can be made and develop a course of action to get everyone on the same page. We also specialize in team building activities that promote bonding and trust. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email

Strategic Planning For The New Year

strategic planningLike most of us, you’re probably consumed with all the holiday hoopla right now and finishing out the current year on a strong note. But don’t forget that 2020 is just around the corner and you can’t put off strategizing for the New Year. Now it the time to clarify your goals for next year and beyond, think about how you can meet those goals and when you should meet with your team to get everyone on board.

You can make an argument that your annual strategic planning session is one of the most important things you’ll do all year. It’s a chance to move your team’s long-term strategic goals forward and make sure you’re all on the same page. It gives you an opportunity to step back and look at the bigger picture. For example, what are some of the biggest challenges facing your department over the next year and beyond? What your strengths and weaknesses to meet those challenges?

No pressure, right? Strategic planning takes effort and preparation, but it doesn’t have to become a stressful exercise. Here are a few steps to get the ball rolling:

  • Define your department’s vision: This is the first and most critical step in creating a long-term plan. This statement should answer the key questions that drive your department. Where are you headed? Where do you want to be? Get it down on paper!
  • Establish short-term goals: This should include everything you want to achieve over the next 12-36 months. Remember to keep them “S.M.A.R.T.” (specific, measurable, actionable, reasonable and timely).
  • Outline your strategies and create an action plan: Strategies are the steps you’ll take to meet your short-term goals. Your action plan is all about the specifics – what you’re doing, when you’ll do it, what resources are needed, etc.
  • Review and modify on a regular basis: Don’t create a strategic plan and leave it at that. Check in regularly to make sure you’re progressing toward your goals. Foster strong communication with your team to ensure everyone understands your direction and what they should be doing to achieve strategic goals.

Planning in advance is one way effective leaders avoid the stress of being behind the eight ball. Leah M. Joppy and Associates has worked numerous firms to draft annual plans that align and inspire teams to reach their goals for the coming year – and beyond. Then we help you put it all into action. For more information, contact us at 301-670-0051 or email

Coaching For Self Reliance

self reliantWhat is your first memory of feeling truly self-reliant? Maybe it was the day you received your driver’s license and the possibilities that came with the feeling of independence. Perhaps it was when you became financially independent from your parents and started paying your own bills. Whatever the example that comes to mind, self-reliance is trusting your abilities to get through the challenges of life on the back of your own resourcefulness.

In his essay entitled “Self-Reliance”, Ralph Waldo Emerson states that society has an adverse effect on a person’s growth. Self-sufficiency, Emerson wrote, gives a person the freedom they need to discover one’s true self and attain true independence. He advocates that people avoid following the path of others and follow their own instincts to blaze their own trail. Self-reliance means different things to different people, but there are a few character traits that are often associated with it. You can probably see yourself in at least a few:

  • Self-disciplined
  • Hardworking and dedicated
  • Dependable
  • Perseverance
  • Reliable

Self-reliance is important for so many reasons beyond just the basics. It means you can solve problems and make decisions by yourself. It enables you to develop self-knowledge and self-acceptance. Self-reliance also provides perspective, which can lead to greater direction in your life. And perhaps one of the greatest gifts is that it allows you to feel happy by yourself and about yourself  – without relying on others to provide that happiness.

Sounds great, right? But we all know that sometimes self-reliance is easier said than done. Are you feeling like you could use a self-reliance jumpstart? Here’s a short list of some ways to start:

  • Accept yourself and appreciate your unique character strengths.
  • Build your inner confidence. Receiving compliments and reassurance from others feels great, but self-reliance involves the ability to feel confident in yourself without them.
  • Make your own decisions and stop looking outside for security and guidance.
  • Recognize dependence and manage it. Turning to others is not a bad thing, but when we do it consistently, we miss out on chances to build up our own confidence.

And that’s just the beginning…

Self-reliance doesn’t mean living in a bubble without other people. However, it is knowing when to ask for help without handing over your sense of self. That’s where a coaching partner can be a powerful ally. Leah M Joppy and Associates is ready to work with you to create a path to greater self-sufficiency. Call us at 301-670-0051 or email to discuss your goals.

There are many reasons why people work with a coach. Learn more.

Effective Communication In The Workplace

Have you ever walked out of a meeting scratching your head and wondering, “What was that all about? What exactly am I supposed to do? What’s the goal of our discussion?” We’ve probably all been there. It comes as no surprise that effective communication is one of the most important issues in the workplace. Strong communication helps everyone feel heard and understood, resulting in a positive, encouraging, and productive environment. On the other hand, ineffective communication causes ideas to fall flat due to lack of follow-through, frustration, and an overall decline in morale.

If you feel like your team is stuck in a communication rut or you’re just looking to improve your skills (and we all can!), here are some things to keep in mind and strategies to employ:

Give Undivided Attention: Whether it’s a group meeting or one-on-one, offering full attention to those you’re with goes a long way. How often have you had a conversation with someone who continuously looked down at his or her phone or seemed lost in another world? Lack of focus devalues conversations and causes people to tune out.

Remember to Listen: Listening may not sound like a component of communication, but it is one of the most important ingredients. Being an effective communicator means listening, as well as talking. It sounds easy, but it can take some practice. How often do you find your mind wandering during a meeting or a conversation? It can be helpful to keep a mental checklist of all the main points the other person makes. When the conversation is over, try to recall at least three important things the person said. Get in the habit of doing this until listening is second nature.

Be Mindful of How You’re Communicating: Body language and tone contribute a great deal towards the effectiveness of your message. Maintain a relaxed stance and facial expression, rest your arms by your sides rather than crossing them in front of you, and make eye contact. Remember that words only make up a fraction of your message.

Follow Up in Writing: A lot of information and ideas are thrown around during meetings and it can be challenging for everyone to remember what was shared. Prior to meetings, designate someone to take notes and then assimilate this information into a concise email. Having a follow-up and refresher is an important step to make sure everyone is on the same page.

Effective communicating is more than just talking; it’s about connecting with the people around you. It’s integral to team development, company culture, employee engagement, and innovative thoughts and ideas. If you’d like to improve the communication process in your office or are interested in doing a “wellness check”, we’re armed with lots of strategies and ideas to help. Please call Leah M. Joppy and Associates at 301-670-0051 or email us at to learn more.

Intelligent Workshops

Our workplaces today have had an eruption in technology. How we work and how we deliver our products and services has shifted. We need to maximize the ability of our employees in order to create efficiencies. The workshops listed below help to break down barriers to productivity.

Give us a call at 301-670-0051 and let us help you achieve faster results with your team.

cloud computing electronics technology

Word Excel
Access PowerPoint
Outlook InfoPath
OneNote Project
Publisher WordPerfect
Crystal Reports Adobe Professional
SharePoint SharePoint Designer
Office 365/One Drive Skype for Business


SharePoint: Empowering Teamwork

Sharepoint logoBusinesses and organizations must be able to work intelligently. We have to be able to communicate rapidly, change directions when needed and manage projects and staff simultaneously. Work requires agility. It’s a tall order. To be productive and efficient, we need to invest in solutions that are tested. The applications we use must be reliable and still provide flexibility for the particular work we do.

We spend money and time investing on our infrastructure. Our expectations are that these investments will improve performance and reliability. And we expect these systems to expand as we do – providing future needs as we grow in different ways.

Still, our investment in infrastructure depends largely on our workforce and our adoption strategies. Given the right application, and the training needed to utilize its capabilities, organizations have the power to collaborate, manage projects, and work more intelligently than ever before.

SharePoint, the web application designed by Microsoft, is probably the most highly configurable application used to reinforce the work processes throughout organizations. Here’s how SharePoint can help your organization.

Content management. Nearly everything that you can do with documents and content is easier with SharePoint. You can store files and then retrieve the information. You can search that information for certain content. You can manage these files intelligently and even track who’s accessing them. The application is designed specifically for record keeping purposes, legal issues, compliance and work processes.

Collaboration. SharePoint allows people on the same team to share documents. Process management is centralized with every member of the team sharing the same knowledge. Departments are more productive with easy file sharing.

Project Management. Projects are more easily managed. Communication within the team is easier and less cluttered when everyone can have access to documents and leave comments as needed – all within the same platform. Schedules are less likely to slip with reminders in place and hand-offs that are communicated more efficiently.

Intelligent Data. All companies and organizations have data. The problem is finding the data when you need it. How do you search through emails effectively? How do you find the latest version and feel confident that you can make changes and they will be seen and absorbed by all? SharePoint allows centralized access to enterprise information and applications.

The power of SharePoint is empowering teamwork. Every member can find, share and communicate content from any place, to any device.

You have the power. Leah M. Joppy & Associates has training capabilities that can help your organization build effective communication skills that ultimately lead to better teams and better productivity. Check out our new offerings on the following computer training. We have training in these applications at all levels, and in any version! We’re standing  by.  Give us a call today at 301-670-0051 or send us an email at



Where will you be, this time next year?

Game strategy drawn with white chalk on a blackboard.It’s the beginning of a fiscal year. A year from now you’d like to look back on the last 12 months and be proud of what you’ve accomplished. Is that even possible in our changing environment? Can I create a plan that not only motivates me, but motivates all the people who work for me?

I know what you’re thinking. . .

“Maybe if I owned my own business, I could make plans!”

“If I work with blinders on, maybe I can just keep pluggin’ away and not pay attention to all the changes happening around me.”

It’s not easy. In this changing world, is there any point in trying to plan? The answer is a resounding YES! But the planning has to be smart. Consider these points.

Set Priorities. As of today, what are the priorities of your organization? The basic priorities probably won’t change much over the year, so think high level priorities and write them down.

Focus Energy. In every job, there are lots of things we do that sap us of energy, but really don’t move the organization forward. So what we are talking about here, is focusing on the items that have more to do with the overall health of the organization, rather than your particular job.

Identify Resources and Strength Operations. Identify the high level priorities and decide where your energies should be spent. Look around your organization and beyond for resources that can help. Are there groups or departments who can help you strengthen your talents and accomplish a goal? Is there an individual with particular skills who can help develop those same skills throughout your department? Should you go outside your organization? Sometimes training is best accomplished by someone from the outside. A third-party resource may not have preconceived notions on what you should learn. Instead, outside resources are generally better at listening to you and coming up with the training customized to your needs.

Establish Common Goals. We all have different work to do, but our goals can be universal. Knowing what my part is in reaching a goal helps me keep on track. And measuring the activity leading up to the goal can remind me each month of the importance of the goal.

Assess and Adjust. When the organization takes a turn, you can adjust your priorities, energy, resources and goals. Chances are, you’ll only need to adjust them slightly, making everyone feel better about the change in the organization.

Measure Accomplishments. As each quarter winds down, focus on what you have been successful in achieving. On a daily basis, we sometimes feel like we’re going in circles. But when we look at a 3 month period, it’s fulfilling to see how far we’ve come.

Strategic planning depends on a disciplined effort that produces fundamental decisions and actions that shape and guide what an organization is, who it serves, what it does, and why it does it – with a focus on the future. Measuring action items is critical. See our tip on measuring strategic plans.

For more information on how Leah M. Joppy & Associates can be your resource for training, give us a call at (301) 670-0051. Or take a look at the training opportunities on our website.

5 Tips for Measuring Strategic Success


  1. Include Key Performance Indicators. Nearly everything we do can be translated to numbers. While numbers never tell the entire story, they serve two purposes: 1) they help management determine results, 2) they motivate everyone to reach the goal.
  2. Include the HOW in your plan. How does your goal help align the organization? Including your organization and how your objectives improve the performance of the entire organization helps everyone understand the vision. Communication is key toward helping an organization achieve success.
  3. Set timeframes. Working on your strategic plan for 12 months is more effective than squeezing it all in during the last quarter of the year! If timetables are given for each goal, small chunks that can be accomplished on the way to the accomplished goal, the chances of reaching that goal are improved considerably.
  4. Make it possible. If a goal is not attainable, there will be no movement toward that goal. Breaking it down, even if the goal will end up taking several years, will improve the chances of success. Along the way, your organization will see progress, allowing your group to envision the end result.

For more information on strategic planning and overcoming organization challenges, check out our website at, or give us a call at 301-670-0051.