Tag Archives: team

The End is Nigh

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The calendar year is coming to a close. I love how people do end of year posts and they are always so supper sappy – as much as I love unicorns – I do have a special place in my heart for Unicorn Meat.  So this is going to be realistic yet magical…..

Although we have made plans, I’m not certain what’s in store for the band, the label, or even just little ol’ me in the year to come, but for everything that has been the past year:

Thank you

to all the amazing people who have been working alongside the band, the label, the community to continue to work against the random factors of Life through creating art! Thank you for fighting the good fight.  Your support and love and sheer wild bewildering believing has provided our little band with a beautiful community, a stunning audience at our shows, and the joy of performing.

To have you come to a show, post your thoughts on our Facebook page, hangout with us on Twitter, send us an email (see below), talk to us about your thoughts on music, life, love, community, change – we have been very privileged to engage with you.  Thank you for sharing in our music!

Our last show of the year is Friday Dec 16th at the legendary Velvet Underground in Toronto – it will be loud and lovely.  If you are at the show we would love to have your thoughts on the new songs!!! We will definitely need your feed back on songs!!!  (see below)!  SBS + Friends are then heading away to the Hart House Farm to write, and record demos for the upcoming album due out Spring 2012.  We will be sharing demos in late December an early January.

Every day is a new year – not in a shmultzy kind of way – but in the way that love, joy, merriment, peace and resolutions can be had at any time! Don’t sweat the insanity that is supposed to be “The Holidays.”  Besides – The End is Nigh! Which means we get to begin again.

Much love,  your band always,

SBS

We will be releasing new tracks very soon – if you’re interested in being a part of our listening panel – please provide your info below! In the comment section – you can write Listening Panel! THANKS!
 

Team Shout Outs! (Romperoom Styles)

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So this month has gone by very very VERY quickly. Where do we start!?

  • Daniel Trinh came by and took some GORGEOUS photos of the band last weekend and we now have some amazing photography for the site. It’s soo easy working with Dan and we are soooooooooooo excited to do a formal, stylized photoshoot in the coming months.
  • Our website is still in the works! I made it a bit more difficult than it should have been for our website producer, Chris Mallon, by not transferring some name servers recently……SO SORRY CHRIS! But he’s on it and the first version of the site should be up very very shortly. Had a great Mobile meeting with Nik Papadakis – omg – so super informative. Mobile is a medium that is definitely on our radar.
  • We are so lucky to have some amazing mentors/advisers and we had a chance to chat with Fleur Leslie, at Small World Music (Chair of the Board of Directors).  She sat down with us and helped talk us through some business planning with engaging teams, building robust contact database and focusing what our core business will be and how it might expand in the next 3 -5 years (always daunting especially when you’re only really 2 months in – but vision helps steer this creative ship!).
  • We have a real space to work out of at the Centre for Social Innovation down at Queen and Spadina.  AMAZING energy and people in that place – super stoked to be working out of there!

Which brings us to the time for Marco’s vlog – we’ve met with our growing MineOwn Media team over the past month and Marco wanted to send out some love – in song form and highly inspired by Romperoom – “and I see Timmy and David….”  they never saw Bandana or Tanuja or Nik Papadakis for that matter – but in Marco’s vision of the Romperoom Shout Out – he sees us all!

B is for Blog is now ‘The Workrooms’

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Hi Guys!

Hope you have all had a great long weekend (if you’re in Canada you’ve been enjoying a lovely Monday off!)

This image is from my phone

Tomorrow people will be going back to school, back to work, back to the grind – and yet – it will be new; a new school year, a new work week after a long break; a bit of a fresh start.

We at B is for Blog are thinking about doing the same – September is a great time to make change! We have changed the name of this blog to simply:

THE WORKROOMS

This is happening for several reasons:

a) This space is a workroom – there are bits and pieces of stories, ideas, essays, conversations; this space is being used as a working studio not as a publishable magazine
b) It’s not really about just B anymore (to be honest it was kinda creeping me out)
c) We hope the change in name will also make it more appealing for everyone to join in the creation of the page! It’s a work in progress and always will be – this is a testing ground, a playground, a stomping ground for all!

I personally love September – it feels more like a meaningful change than New Years to me. The season’s are changing, the weather is changing, we get new chances at things we’ve tried before; we get second chances at the things we’ve tried again and again – there’s just something really lovely and fresh about September.

You can now find us directly at http://theworkrooms.com

(The old address –https://bsingh83.wordpress.com -will automatically re-direct you to the correct place too! – there’s no missing out!)

Isn’t it just a lovely time to make change?

Your pal,

B

Working with Virtual Teams – Everybody’s doing it. You want to do it right.

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This blog, you will notice,  is made up of many people from different places contributing their original works- that is nothing new – now.  But some 2 or 3 years ago when we first really started to venture into the virtual workspace we had little idea what any of us were doing.  Things have come a long way in a short time and many of us are becoming more comfortable with the idea of collaborating and even creating online in groups.  Here are some of my thoughts about leading and motivating these awesome virtual entities into healthy and organic places to create and work!

While volunteering at the Millennium Network I was able to experience the new way of working – virtually.  Once I was in the thick of a project working with a team virtually, I began to understand that I needed new tools and resources to adequately make this virtual workspace successful!


Failures (aka Learning Opportunities)

The first thing I noticed was that all of my years of leadership and management training – were failing me. The techniques relied heavily on face to face communications, including visual cues and vocal tone – there is so much that can be said just by the intonation of your voice.  Secondly, once you’ve electronically met all of your team, managing the varied individual schedules and meeting times was a difficult task; multiple timezones, multiple job types and task schedules -it was a real learning curve. Also the temptation to work or create at all hours of the day because you know someone somewhere is awake needs to be addressed: these tools are supposed to actually free up more personal time – that was how they were originally sold to us!  Just because you and your team can work 24hrs a day doesn’t mean you should be.  Stress, fatigue and members dropping out of the project can be the result! Finally, interpersonal relationships and team dynamics required individual attention, ie: we would have to allocate time with each individual member on a regular basis for one-on-one meetings to ensure tasks were being completed.  Also – I wanted to actually get to know who they were – they weren’t autobots on the other side of the screen (could you imagine? Bumble Bee on my team?!).  The level of accountability definitely changes working virtually – especially when you are volunteering your time (as everyone in this example had been).

Successes! (aka here are some thoughts and tools that might help you keep your sanity):

Virtual leadership for me meant that I had to be incredibly organized.  My beautiful articulate ornate and precise language was counter-productive via email, or Google Docs or even conference calls.  This is where my media writing background finally came in handy.  I had to be concise.  I had to be direct.  I needed to clearly understand the scope of the project and how each individual member (members of committees) fits in the final picture.  I was honest about time-lines and ensured that the team recognized how important those time-lines were to the greater project. I had to motivate them to contribute in ways that were an efficient use of  our time:

Google Docs – great, free, interactivity allows for each member of the team to easily view, contribute and share information in documents, spreadsheets and presentations; not every member has to have gmail to access the documents created by the team lead [though it sure helps!] and you can export documents as needed.

Personal Brain – I LOVE this software for brainstorming, strategy building and mind mapping. It’s free [although I’ve been using it for years and recently upgraded to the pro version].  It allows for a visual respresentation of your thoughts and allows for tangents like documents, webpages, contact information or notes to be added to each thought – so the links between the thoughts are realistic and I just love the way it works! You can print and export parts of your ‘brain’ however you should note that you will only have full functionality for a short while with the free version.  You will be able to retain, change and save all of your future mind mapping – you just won’t be able to export it after the demo time expires.

Basecamp is a pay service which is really professional choice -I have yet to  use this platform specifically but it’s the choice of many small businesses and large enterprises alike.

Applications: My ‘smartphone’ is particuarly inept and hates to function properly so unfortunately I don’t have any insight into mobile apps currently [except for ones that don’t work well – which may be a representation of my phone not the application- I have a 2yr old phone running windows mobile – says it all doesn’t it] but if you have any suggestions please share I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have some insight on these.

Meetings and Time Zones and Schedules Oh My! Pavinder Tut (from the Millennium Network) introduced me to Doodle which I love. I think it’s a great tool and it puts the accountability not only in the hands of the team leader but of each individual as well.  Lord knows I’ve probably spent hours of my life in the past attempting to hunt people down, wait for their responses, reorganize if there’s an issue – Doodle helped make the virtual meeting scheduling much more efficient! (it’s great for regular meetings too!)  Mac Entourage – I also really enjoyed this application as it allowed for so many of my email accounts and project specific information to be pulled from separate external places;   it did a lot of the heavy sorting for me after I had set preferences. Heap CRM was also handy – I used it mainly for storing contact info on the go – but it’s a great simple interface and easy to use.

Individuals Make the Team: I couldn’t understand  personality through the virtual world. .  When you’re meeting anyone for the first few times in person it can be awkward – let alone when they’re not even a real person but rather 1’s and 0’s in your inbox. I would have individual phone calls with the team members just to see what was going on in their world – work related or otherwise.  I needed them to understand that I was actually genuinely interested in their skills and experience.  The internet is a hard place to come across as genuine!

Skype is the obvious cheap and cheerful choice: free calls over the internet from Skype to Skype accounts;  cheap international calling rates, great audio quality; fairly good video quality; chat on the side – we all know how great it is! Mac and PC friendly.

Also Pamela (PC only platform – sadness) is my new friend.  Pamela is a software that allows for Skype video and audio to be recorded! Who knew! As someone who works in media, being able to record interviews or team ideas is a great boon! (Although please do let the other callers know that you are recording the conversations – not disclosing that information makes you creepy not clever)

Also if you are working as a member of the team – give the team lead a head’s up if something’s not working for you! If you don’t feel comfy in how you communicate, create or complete projects – then the entire idea of the autonomy behind the virtual working team is lost. None of the examples above are super original discoveries but I just found that when I was trying to figure out how exactly to function in this new working environment there was little in the way of direct links to tools or resources that worked.    If you have others, let’s add them to the list!