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12 Ideas for Summer Inspiration

By Jeffrey Shields posted 27 days ago


CEO Notebook |

A simple idea share among colleagues can bolster collaboration and provide ideas for stretching your mind – and budget.

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Jeffrey Shields, FASAE, CAE
NBOA President and CEO

Earlier this month the NBOA staff gathered in Annapolis, Maryland, for our summer off-site meeting. These few days away from the office provided uninterrupted time to reflect on the accomplishments of the previous fiscal year and develop plans for the year ahead. Because the NBOA staff is distributed –  some work from the DC headquarters and others from home offices across the country – the off-site also provided an opportunity for us to learn more about each other and foster our work as a collaborative and cohesive team. 

One of my favorite aspects of this rare time together is an “idea share.” The rules are simple: bring one idea to share with your colleagues. It can be a book you’re reading, an app you like, or some other idea or tool that you have enjoyed for whatever reason. I thought this year’s idea share was exceptional in how well it reflected the NBOA staff who work on your behalf every day. Breaking from my usual business-oriented blogs, I wanted to pass along some of the ideas with the hope that they may be of value to you too. You might even consider hosting your own idea share with your team.

NBOA staff at Indian Creek School
NBOA staff members at Indian Creek School in Crownsville, Maryland

Here are some highlights for your consideration:

  • Two book recommendations: Many NBOA staff members are avid readers, and recent picks include “Educated” by Tara Westover and “Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou.
  • SmartNews app: This free news aggregator and curator draws from a variety of news sources and provides users with perspectives outside of their usual media diet, be it conservative, liberal or moderate.
  • Rally Health app: The NBOA insurance plan includes an app that gives participants a monthly rebate if they regularly check into their fitness club. Does your school’s health plan have any hidden gems that team members don’t know about — especially ones that could save them money?
  • “White space” at work: Jocelyn K. Glei, a workplace creativity consultant, explains how giving yourself unstructured time can spark creative thinking and bring greater balance to your daily routine.
  • Good Reads social network and app: Find and share books you have read.
  • Nike’s ad showcasing the U.S. women’s soccer team and World Cup champions: Pure inspiration.
  • Jamie Oliver’s 5 Ingredients cookbook: These quick and easy recipes are good for busy people and non-cooks (like me).
  • LastPass app: This platform helps users manage passwords easily and securely.
  • Honey app: This Chrome browser extension helps you find and apply coupons for your online purchases.
  • Quote book: Keep quotes, lyrics, poems, etc. in a journal for personal reflection and sharing.
  • Spotify music app: One staff member has a playlist that has amassed 3,000 followers.
  • 99% Invisible podcast: This popular podcast explores “all the thought that goes into the things we don’t think about.”

As you can see, NBOA staff members have a wide range of interests, and I think this list gives you a glimpse into what makes them tick. I know it did for me, and reminded me why I feel fortunate to work with them.

Whether your summer inspiration comes from an item on this list, an idea share with your own staff or some other source, I hope you find ways to keep creative energy flowing throughout the hot days of summer!

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Follow NBOA President and CEO Jeff Shields @shieldsNBOA.
From Net Assets NOW, July 23, 2019. Read past issues of CEO Notebook.


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