“….one of everyone’s favorite parts.”

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Caitlin Daniel, People and Culture Director, The Domain Companies

The Domain Companies was founded in 2004. We have about 20 properties spread out between New York, Louisiana, and Utah. We have residential apartment buildings, a condo building, hotels, co-working spaces, and on a lot of our properties, we have retail elements as well.

We were planning a director’s conference, a leadership conference with our director level, which is the level right under a C-suite. There are 13 of us, so a good size group, and we wanted to …

It was our inaugural, our first kickoff off-site conference and we wanted to have a really strong speaker come out speaker or trainer, and I found out about Maura and her subject material just seemed really applicable to us.

We’re all so busy. We get bogged down with communication that I think isn’t always efficient. I feel like there are a lot of things flying around at once. We definitely have a culture of urgency. 

When I saw what Maura’s content was and really what she was going to be able to deliver to us, we just thought it was really spot on and would be hugely beneficial. So she came out to our off-site and did a training session with us for about three hours.

The key message that she delivered was that so much of our technology, while it’s beneficial, it’s also very distracting. And if you’re not using it in the right manner, it can be more of a detriment than a useful tool.

We took away from it some easy … well “easy,” simple changes to make that could help us:

  • Streamline our processes.
  • Use communication in smarter ways.
  • Be less distracted.
  • Get more into flow, where we’re having productive output versus constant distractions.

When she talked about the average person is distracted every three minutes at work, it was mind-boggling. But then when you actually think about your day-to-day, it’s really true. 

Everything is pinging us and distracting us. So how can we: 

  • Get ourselves focused? 
  • Be more productive? 
  • And set up sustainable systems so our teams can do the same?

And (I) also said the same thing with my team. Let’s figure out how we’re communicating so that people know if it’s a true emergency. It’s not going to come on my email. I don’t need to be constantly connected. You can actually take a break because if there’s a true emergency, that’s not how it would be delivered.

I think a lot of my fellow directors have done the same, and we’re actually currently working on our communication grid and some communication norms to put into place with the support of our senior management team and roll it out company-wide. So that’s in the works, but hasn’t been fully rolled out yet.

Maura had a communication grid in the presentation that we loved, and it suggested:

  • What communication do you use at what time?
  • How to handle after-hours communication.
  • What are the key hours?

Just things to outline so that people have more structure and know what is and isn’t expected of them, and also what communication methods to use for what type of information you’re relaying.

I think it’s going to make us more efficient. I think that our communication methods will be better. I think honestly people will be a little, hopefully, less stressed because it’s not like I always have to be connected to Teams, text message, phone, or email because there could be a fire coming on any of those four channels that I have to put out. 

I think efficiency-wise, we have made some small strides and it will only get better. Maura coming to our leadership conference was one of everyone’s favorite parts.

 

Maura Thomas headshot

Speaker, Trainer, Author