Category Archives: Leadership

Essential Tips to Help You and Your Team with Collaboration Projects










Have you discovered that more and more of your work tasks involve collaborating with others?

As technology and the accompanying tools evolve, employers are finding it more beneficial to have their workers “come together” and to share ideas and materials for project development.

The Australian-based company INS (acronym for In No-one’s Shadow) has focused much of its efforts on preparing workforces for the future, which includes keeping current employees updated as well as helping companies keep their employees moving towards the future. Although INS is based in Australia, its outreach is global, which means the advice offered on collaboration can be used by all.

Below are several tips from a May 2016 INS article to keep in mind for your collaboration projects. You can click this link to read the entire article.

  • Understand the Bigger Picture—mentally move beyond your immediate group and role, and look at the larger outcome of why this project is important.
  • Clarify the Objectives—if everyone is “not on the same page,” the project may wind up going nowhere. Make sure the objectives are clearly stated and that everyone understands these objectives. As stated by INS, “…clarify whether all stakeholders and group members have the same objectives, and are working through any differences…”
  • Agree on Roles and Leadership—early discussions on and the identification of leadership and the other roles will make it easier to move forward on the project.  It is also important to establish accountability as it is connected to the various roles.
  • Know the Boundaries—just as accountability is important, it is equally vital for each person to know boundaries for themselves and others and to have these boundaries respected.
  • Develop an Ecosystem, not an ‘Egosystem’—remember, it’s about the successful completion of the project and not about someone grandstanding. Being a good listener (this goes for all group members) is essential.
  • Value Diverse Input—keep an open mind and realize that everyone’s contributions to the discussions and efforts should be appreciated.

If you want to improve your communication and collaboration skills, consider taking the BOSS program’s POFT 2312 Business Correspondence and Communication at Richland College.

Richland College, which is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road, offers both online and on-campus courses. For more information email, or call 972-238-6215.

**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a free version of Microsoft Office Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.

Public Speaking Tips Video

Two Must-HaveIf you suffer from stage fright every time you are asked to make a presentation in front of a group of people, this video was made for you!

Created by the Richland College Speech Faculty, the video was prepared to help instructors remind students of important public speaking behaviors prior to giving a presentation.

If you would like to learn more about how to speak in public and communicate effectively, why not consider enrolling in a speech course at Richland College!

Enjoy the video!

Click here to view the Speech Tips Video

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty,, 972-238-6382.

WRITING TO WIN: Coordination in Successful Teamwork

By Royce Murcherson

Royce top pictureIn the last blog, I talked about collaboration as part of an overall team structure that helps colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes. Communication is also a key component in collaboration, for without communication there can be no real collaboration. And without coordination, the fruits of communication and collaboration are lost.


What is coordination? It is the glue that holds the model together. Coordination within teams is simply ensuring the job gets done.  If you find yourself in the role of ‘team leader’, you must ask yourself two questions. What is my role and what will it take to get the job done?

The Role of Team CoordinatorRoyce People holding MS logo puzzle

  • The team leader or team coordinator serves as a primary liaison between team members.
  • The team coordinator is responsible for making sure team members are keenly aware of their specific roles and function within the group.
  • Team coordinators are also tasked with the authority to make critical decisions when the team cannot arrive at a consensus.

Coaching ResponsibilitiesThe Responsibilities of the Team Coordinator

Think of a team coordinator as a coach in a team sport. The team is made up of individuals each with particular skills or talents. The team coordinator must channel all of these talents into an effective force that will bring a project to completion.

The Team Coordinator Must:

  • Have a long term vision of the work to be done
  • Know each team member
  • Define team roles
  • Ensure the team has a common goal
  • Make sure all team members know their assignments
  • Leverage resources and specific skills of the team
  • Create a workable plan
  • Have the correct tools available for the team to complete their tasks
  • Encourage effective communication among the team
  • Conduct periodic checkpoints to determine progress against deliverables.


Coordination AbsentWhat Happens when Coordination is Absent?

A lack of coordination within a project team can decrease productivity, complicate processes and delay the completion of projects. Below are some common signs:

  • Duplication of Work A usual sign of a lack of coordination within a project team is redundancy. Redundancy is caused by a lack of communication. With redundancy, an organization will spend double the efforts, materials and time to produce the same item twice. Redundancy typically results from the poor coordination of a project team.
  • Lost Information Teams must effectively share information to function at an optimal level. When this information is not readily available as needed within the team, the lack of information can create a cascading effect that will damage the team. Lost information can lead to delays.
  • Delays on Deliverables – Deliverables are the building blocks of an overall project. Deliverables can be reports, documents, and software upgrades, anything that contributes to the successful delivery of the project to the customer. One of the signs that team lacks coordination is called ‘delay’ and delays on deliverables can cause a project to miss a completion date.

Advantages of Team CoordinationThe Big Advantages of Team Coordination

The advantages of team coordination are realistic. Roles, responsibilities and deadlines are assigned. Informal coaching and mentoring takes place which benefits the group. It ensures a consolidation of work that can be measurable, attainable, and time constrained. It provides a single access point of communication between the team coordinator and business executives.

For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty,, 972-238-6382.


Writing to Win: COLLABORATION, the Second ‘C’ in Success

by Royce Murcherson

Writing to Win Book CoverIn the last blog post, I talked about teamwork in the workplace being more effective when communication, collaboration, and coordination are at the center. I began the discussion focusing on the importance of effective communication. It should be concise. It should present information in the form of a well thought out plan.  It should be clear and easy to understand. It should speed up the decision-making process.  And it should be inherently persuasive which speaks directly to the level of collaboration a strong team must have to be successful.

Without communication, there can be no real collaboration.


Collaboration is a group process through which colleagues come together to craft solutions and improve processes not limited to one individual idea. 


What Does It Mean to CollaborateCollaborating means:

  • Everyone has a voice at the table
  • Being perceived as a good partner
  • Valuing Different Viewpoints
  • Coming across as a common united front


  • Three EssentialsEngage Your Partners – Team members should share knowledge. Knowledge sharing is a healthy and productive means by which the group can arrive at the best solution.
  • Capture Ideas and Action Items – Team members should keep an accurate record of meeting notes. Some alternative forms of note taking can include diagrams or flow charts that visually depict innovative proposals.
  • Recognize Ideas – Team members should give credit where credit is due. A pat on the back, a nod at the table, and a simple “I agree” can go a long way. There is no stronger motivation than positive feedback.


  • Two Must-HaveBuild Relationships – It is absolutely essential to build relationships among your team members. Take time to build personal relationships by getting to know each other.  During this process, strengths and opportunities can be discovered and used to the best advantage of the team.
  • Foster Trust – Being able to depend on your colleagues to deliver tasks on time and in detail is also absolutely essential. Trust is the confidence. And confidence that each member will fully contribute to the group eliminates pressure and unnecessary stress.


Since collaboration is now a hot item in the workplace, the advantages are not hard to spot. Collaborative teams bring together different viewpoints because teams are frequently pulled from different talent pools or departments to achieve one goal.  Because a variety of ideas will be put on the table, it’s much easier to develop ingenuity when there is more than one option. Good ideas give way to better ideas.  Groups who collaborate tend to be more inventive and resourceful.  Collaboration can also bring a certain unity to the decision-making process. Having more than one stakeholder ensures that team decisions will be reflective of all and not one, eliminating perceived bias. Lastly, a quick delivery of the product is likely to occur.  Having several hands on deck is an automatic advantage when considering a collection of talent, skills, and intellect.

For an expanded discussions on effective business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

            Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that   Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Angela Nino, Lead Faculty,, 972-238-6382.

Richland College’s Techie Transfer Fair: AAS and Beyond

What does your future include???

     Take your technical certificate to an AAS degree, and then take your AAS degree to a bachelor’s degree–BAAS!

     Visit Richland College on Thursday, March 3, to get more information on using your skills and experience to help you get to that next educational level!!!

Spring 2016 Techie Transfer Fair



by Royce Murcherson

Generally, large companies or corporations have entire departments staffed with professional proposal writers to write formal proposals. You should expect to write an informal internal proposal.

WHAT IS IT EXACTLY? What’s a proposal? They come in various shapes and sizes. They can be either solicited or unsolicited. They can be as short as an email and as long as a ten page document. They are always persuasive in nature. In short, proposals are arguments.

Internal Proposal – The purpose of an internal proposal will be to persuade your boss or supervisor to:

  • Change a process
  • Solve a problem
  • Purchase products, services or pursue activities
  • Conduct research or make changes in policies

The message will always be persuasive, fact based, and verifiable.  The benefit can come in the form of improvements in productivity and profitability and will likely contribute to another accomplishment line on your resume.

  • The Unsolicited Internal Proposal – These are proposals that have not been requested by a manager. These types of proposals are opportunities to cast you as a proactive, forward thinking employee. This is your time to boost your image. For example, suppose you realize that the office network’s current operations system slows down the production of sales orders. Changing operating systems would increase productivity. You write a memo describing what is going on, what you want to do, why you want to do it, what it will cost and what will be the overall benefit. This is an unsolicited internal proposal is a means to sell your creative ideas.
  • A Solicited Internal Proposal – These are proposals are requested by a manager or supervisor. There may not be a need for you come up with ‘the answer’ or solve the problem. Your boss may have already provided the solution and simply requests you measure its viability. This is still an opportunity for you to gain some good exposure because you will have to use your critical thinking skills and make a recommendation.



First, do not expect to write formal proposals unless you have been hired specifically to serve on a proposal team. These proposals are comprehensive, well researched documents that can be ten or more pages.  Corporations have entire departments staffed with professional proposal writers to create these.

check markWHAT TO EXPECT

The type of proposal you more than likely find yourself writing will be an internal unsolicited proposal discussed earlier. It will be in the form of a medium length email or a memo. Remember, this informal proposal does not have to be written on the level of a formal proposal written by professional proposal writer. It should not exceed more than two pages if presented as a memo, and no more than a six paragraph email.

EXPECT IT TO BE PERSUASIVE It will need to convince your manager or supervisor that your ideas will work. In a nutshell, the benefits produced will far outweigh the costs of implementation. Your manager will need to believe that:

  • You fully understand the organization’s mission: productive, profitable, and innovative
  • You fully understand the organization’s operations
  • You fully understand the necessity of the proposal
  • You know the solution
  • You know how to implement the solution

For a more expanded discussion on writing and formatting internal proposals using the Toulmin Model of Argumentation in business writing, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.

WRITING TO WIN: The Importance of Trust in the Workplace

by Royce Murcherson

Remember when you were a kid? When it came to what was good and what was bad, it was pretty clear. When you were good, there was ice cream in your future. When you were bad, it was off to the time out corner. It was never a case of either/or. Nowadays you’re all grown up. You’ve figured out that the rules can be bent at times for one reason or the other. And sometimes you’ve probably indulged because it was pretty harmless. Afterward, you may have felt a little uneasy about it, but ‘hey’ you tell yourself, no laws were broken, no harm no foul, right? These are the questions that create a feeling of uneasiness when you’re not sure you’ve made the right decision. It’s important to know because it’s a matter of ‘trust’. Losing ‘trust’ in the workplace is a ‘losing proposition’. Don’t go there.

Being trustworthy is the rock solid foundation of who you are in the present and how you will be perceived in the future.


There are certain things that shouldn’t be done in the workplace. Things like plagiarizing, hiding information, exaggerating claims, copyright infringement, crossing cultural boundaries, and conflicts of interest. Avoiding this type of behavior is part of what it means to be an honest, upright employee.

Being trustworthy means you live by a set of principles that govern ethical human behavior. These principles can come down to beliefs such as treating others as you would want to be treated. These principles can also come down to intuition, some inner feeling or moral compass that helps you decide what is right and what is wrong. This is what it comes down too…this question…Am I trustworthy? Or simply, what is the right thing to do?

A sense of justice, individual rights, and understanding the consequences of your actions has much to do with your sense of right and wrong. And your sense of right and wrong will guide your choices in the workplace and will project the degree of your trustworthiness among your colleagues.


Weasels are by definition cunning and devious. You may find yourself in a location where situation and circumstance may affect how you understand the difference between right behavior and wrong behavior. This is the ‘grey zone, a place in which a person has the opportunity to circumvent definitions of right and wrong behavior. In other words, the meanings could change due to extenuating circumstances. You may find yourself thinking of ways to ‘go around’ or to ‘avoid’. Try not to find yourself in this position. It may feel like artful maneuvering when in fact you may be bending the rules to suit your own needs rather than those of your coworkers.

HERE ARE SOME GUIDELINES to Avoid ‘Weaseling-Out’ 

  • Don’t evade responsibility. Do not back out of commitments. Cultivate cooperative behavior that benefits the group.
  • Don’t be sneaky in your dealings, achieving success by underhanded methods.
  • Don’t be cunning in order to advance selfish interests or hurt others.
  • Don’t be evasive in your communication with others. Be straightforward.
  • Don’t be intentionally vague or ambiguous in your conduct.
  • Don’t be deceptive in your actions, misleading deliberately.
  • Don’t be cowardly. Display confidence. Try to set a good example when dealing with tough issues.

For an expanded discussions on business writing and workplace etiquette, see my book:

Royce Murcherson, Ph.D., The Guide to Persuasive Business Writing: A New Model that Gets Results. Iowa: Kendall-Hall, 2013 

Clip Art, provided by Microsoft Office Professional Academic, 2010


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.




Kudos to Richland College

Richland College was recently rated 10th in the Rate My Professors’ 2014-2015 Top Lists for Junior and Community Colleges across the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.!

The online rating system allows students to rate colleges on the quality of their professors, reputation, location, career opportunities, library, campus grounds, common areas, internet speed on campus, food service, clubs, events, social activities, and whether or not students are pleased with their decisions to attend the college.  By equally weighing professor ratings and campus ratings, the overall rating acknowledges that the school scores high in both academics and campus life.  

See a picture using this link:  Kudos to Richland College!

For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.


Five Tough Questions to Ask Yourself about Your Soft Skills

Are you a team player?

“Mastering technology to get a job and keep a job is a fact of life. Yet, technical skills alone are not an avenue to advancement. For career resilience, it’s important to connect with others in authentic and meaningful ways. That means pairing digital skills with soft skills—behaviors, practices and core values.”

The above is a quote from an article on the IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals) Web site.  The article appeared in the association’s January/February 2015 publication. You should be able to answer “Yes” to all but one of the questions.  See if you can determine which question’s answer is a definite “No.”

These five questions should be reviewed often!  If you are happy with the job you currently have, a reminder of the specifics of these questions will assist you in keeping that job for as long as possible.

Here is a link to the article:  Five Tough Questions


For more information on the Business Office Systems and Support department, contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, 972-238-6215.

Do Your Administrative Professional Skills/Talents REALLY Measure Up to What Today’s Employers Want?

04-13-2015 Talent 188065235Talents, skills, talents, skills—these words are thrown around a lot today by employers and job seekers alike. And yet, what do these words really mean to people who want to get or upgrade their job marketability so they can be as attractive as possible to potential employers? What can you do to maximize your administrative skills/talents so that your earning potential is increased?

If anyone out there thought that careers in the administrative professional area were disappearing or boring, they need to read the latest reports to see how admin careers and roles are expanding and changing.

According to the 2015 salary guide for administrative professionals that was prepared by the Robert Half Company, 1.5 million new administrative professional jobs will be added between 2012 and 2022. Today’s administrative professionals will share a bigger role in company communications with customers and customer relations, and their salaries will be increasing.

Question: What does the changing role of administrative professionals mean if you are interested in the administrative professional field?

  • Answer: It means you need to have top-flight written and verbal communication skills—if you are bilingual, that could be a big plus.
  • It means you need to demonstrate to employers that you are flexible and willing to learn new tasks. Your related work experience is also a valued commodity.
  • It means you need to display professional behavior and keep abreast of trends by joining at least one professional organization.
  • It means you need to learn all you can about social media tools and how to use these tools in business settings. Some of the most widely used SM tools that are used by companies today include LinkedIn, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, and Instagram. It means you will need to show potential employers that you have excellent problem-solving abilities.
  • It means your technical skills need to be proficient, and in some cases advanced, in software applications such as Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook. You can prove your software proficiency to employers by passing one or more of the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams. These exams are available in Word (Core and Expert), Excel (Core and Expert), PowerPoint, Access, and Outlook.

04-13-2015 Career Ladder 81387343Question: What are some of the job titles for administrative professionals?

  • Answer: There are a large number of job titles in the administrative professional area; and while some of the traditional titles include Executive Assistant, Senior Office/Facilities Manager, Receptionist, there are new titles coming on the scene. These new job titles have been created by some companies to reflect the new duties many find admin personnel find themselves performing. According to Robert Hosking, who writes a blog for administrative professionals and employers, these new titles include Chief Executive Administrator, Administrative Services Manager, Director of Administration, and Administrative Chief of Staff.

Question: What are some salary ranges for administrative professionals and related jobs?

  • Answer: The table below, which was taken from data reported in the Robert Half Company survey, Administrative Hiring Trends Salary Guide 2015 reflects a “snapshot” for just a few of the titles reported and the salary gains from 2014 to 2015. For a more complete look at administrative salaries, click this link to visit the Robert Half Company web site and download the PDF 2015 salary guide (begins on page 10) for Administrative Professionals.

04-13-2015 Salary TableIf you want to upgrade or develop skills that can help you in today’s job market, consider enrolling in the Business Office Systems & Support program at Richland College. You will have a wide selection of courses (offered online and face-to-face) from which to choose.

These courses range from basic keyboarding, computer literacy, business communications, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (includes preparation for the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exam**), office procedures, etc. These courses can all lead you towards a college-credit certificate or a 2-year associate’s degree.
**Richland College is an authorized Microsoft Testing Center.

Richland College is located in northeast Dallas at 12800 Abrams Road. For more information contact Becky Jones, Associate Dean, at 972-238-6215.

***Get a Free Copy of Microsoft Office Pro Plus 2013***If you are a student in the Dallas County Community College District, you are eligible to download a FREE version of Microsoft Office 2013 Pro Plus (or 2011 on the Mac) which includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, Publisher, and OneNote.