Newsletter – January 19, 2022

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Backup, forecast, and check-in—tools to help during the surge

Hi friends,

We’re kicking off 2022 with some tools for reprioritizing and checking in with your team. Whether you’re feeling that “new year, new me” energy, still working to shake off 2021, or just trying to hold steady in crisis, we could all use a little bit more focus and connection this month.

3 tools for reprioritizing (again)

Many of you are radically rethinking goals for the year given omicron and staff shortages. The tools below can help.

1. Draft a plan B in under 60 minutes.

It’s a good time to create a backup plan. In less than one hour, you can plan who will take over critical functions, gather documents, and do an equity check to address any imbalances in who’s being asked to carry more (or less) of the load.

2. Anticipate best, worst, and likely scenarios.

Next, consider the direction things are headed, including internal and external forces that impact your operations. Use our 5-box scenario planning tool and guide to develop contingency plans. Keep it simple and choose one variable to start with.

3. Re-clarify roles.

If projects have changed or roles shifted, take a moment to clarify project roles using MOCHA. A well-planned MOCHA reduces the chance of hidden labor by spelling out each person’s contributions, which helps with backup planning—as well as staff acknowledgment!

For more on this topic, see How to Actually Reprioritize.

3 ways to make the most of check-ins right now

During moments of uncertainty and crisis, prioritize check-ins. People’s coping mechanisms can run the gamut from hyper-productivity to completely checking out, so make time to hear how your team members are doing—and help them recalibrate.

1. Acknowledge, ask, and affirm.

Use this check-in agenda add-on to acknowledge what’s happening, align on priorities, and instill a sense of purpose and agency to boost morale.

2. Make a “not to-do” list.

Use our revised check-in template, to decide what to keep, pause, or just say “no” to. Being explicit about what you’re letting go can reduce anxiety and ensure you’re focusing your team’s energy on what’s most important.

3. Check in with staff at all levels.

If you manage managers, now’s a good time to plan skip-level meetings with their direct reports to cultivate relationships, seek perspective on backup plans, and support retention.

For more support, see 5 Tips for Better Check-ins During COVID-19.

Educational Equity Resources Spotlight

Tell us what you want, what you really want…

decorative icon of two chat bubblesWe are planning newsletters and new content for 2022. We’ll be bringing you resources on hiring and managing through election season, equity, organizational culture, and more.

Are there topics you want TMC resources and newsletters on this year? Let us know. Email

For Staff: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Cohorts

We know that staff who are Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color (BIPOC) face unique and challenging issues within their organizations related to power, privilege, and identity all while driving essential work forward. That’s why we created this space to discuss and offer support around the challenges of being a BIPOC staff member in progressive and social justice organizations, and to share practices that can help BIPOC staff thrive. Sign up for our next training:

Werking the Work, 101 Edition: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color Cohort (2 Days)

  • Tuesday, March 8th (12:00-6:00pm ET)
  • Wednesday, March 9th (12:00-6:00pm ET)

Connect & Build: Join us on Slack!

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