CategoryTeam Management

Google Docs Could Change the Way You Work

I really want to believe that software including the word “doc” will cure all of my pains. In the case of Google Docs — often called Google Apps — I wouldn’t be far off.

Google Apps is a completely free offering that is a suite of several applications:

  • Google Drive (file storage, management and sharing)
  • Google Docs (similar to Microsoft Word)
  • Google Sheets (similar to MS Excel)
  • Google Slides (compare to MS PowerPoint)
  • Google Drawings (some features similar to PowerPoint)

If you notice a pattern, it’s because for many people Google Apps can just about replace Microsoft Office. Unless you need the powerful formatting features of MS Word or the sophisticated formulas of MS Excel, you might be able to avoid buying MS Office. And that would be a deal, because Google Apps are free.

(There is a paid version called Google Apps for Work that adds more useful features for $5 per user, per month. But you probably don’t need it.)

Google Docs offers quite a few features that will cure “pains”that often afflict office software users.

  • Simple interface
  • Collaboration with co-workers very easy
  • Available from any computer, any time
  • Automatic file saving to the cloud
  • Accessible and usable from your smartphone
  • Frequently updated with new features

For the entrepreneur this might just be tech nirvana.

Workplace Collaboration with Google Docs

The ability to work with others on the same document at the same time is pretty cool. Say you’re working together on a blog post or a new business proposal. You and your partner can be typing in the same document on two different computers — in the same room or across the planet — at the same time. You can even see what the other person is typing, while she is typing. (And you can annoy her by changing it while she’s typing.)

I call this “live drafting,” which I explained in detail here.

Get Started with Google Docs

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Effecting Change in Your Nonprofit is Like Rebuilding a Highway

Change management is fun, right?

As the leader of a nonprofit organization you’re well aware that failure to modernize is a major risk factor.

Managing change might seem slightly easier in the nonprofit world if you think of it in terms of building a highway. This analogy comes easily to me, as a communications consultant to nonprofits, as well as major highway projects.

Whether it’s a highway or a nonprofit organization, wouldn’t it be much easier to rebuild if you could just  send your calls to voice mail and all the traffic to an alternate route?

But you can’t really do that. It’s essential to keep providing service even as you re-examine and fix everything. Impossible?

Keep the traffic flowing

In the nonprofit environment, organizational change closely resembles a highway reconstruction project. As users of the system, we hate the traffic jams but love the smooth highway that results.

Let’s look at the elements of a huge highway reconstruction project, keeping in mind how these elements are analogous to development and implementation of your new strategic plan.

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‘Live Drafting’ plus Google Docs Creates the Ultimate Team Collaboration Experience

(This post was reviewed for accuracy and relevancy on 7-5-15.)

My client was amazed.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” he exclaimed to me recently, as we were working together to draft his responses to an important questionnaire. (As his consulting wordsmith, my role was not to create the responses, but to help him express his ideas in clear, accessible language.)

Google Docs plus Jonathan Lehrer's "live drafting" technique add up to effective brainstorming.

Google Docs plus Jonathan Lehrer’s “live drafting” technique add up to effective brainstorming.

The client was talking about my technique of “live drafting,” which I recently described (Use Google docs for live collaboration on documents).

Live Drafting is a brainstorming technique that uses a large screen to make  collaboration quicker and more effective for team members. Rather than relying on flipcharts or dry-erase boards, I connect my computer to a projector and write or edit language live on the screen while all the participants watch.

Live drafting with Google Docs

This client, a successful engineer and businessman, surely has been involved in brainstorming, but the revelation was how Google Docs improved the process.

The statement that I had created as a Google Docs document was projected from my PC onto the wall of his office. I showed him how to log into his Gmail account and open the link to the Google Doc I had just sent him.

In a moment, he was able to simultaneously edit what I was writing.

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