By Beth Stiner

We are always on the lookout for new tips and tricks that will make the leaders we work with more effective and efficient. In today’s blog, we wanted to share a few of our ‘favorite things’ with you and invite our readers to share their favorite ‘hacks’. 

Connect and Collaborate: Marco Polo
Leaders are busy, and finding time on calendars for a collaborative conversation can take weeks. So, how can you accelerate working together asynchronously? For years, I have been introducing my colleagues to Marco Polo. Marco Polo is a video chatting app that allows you to interact with any number of people. While it is more typically used for personal communication with friends and family, I use it regularly with colleagues for asynchronous conversations. Uses include:

  • Decision making: Need a decision made by tomorrow but don’t have the time to connect? Put it out on Marco and ask for everyone to weigh in. Everyone gets airtime and to fully hear another’s thoughts, with no immediate pressure to respond. Many times, this facilitates a better environment for sharing ideas, so that more appropriate decisions are made. 
  • Informing others: Have an urgent update the team needs to know? Send a Marco update as an FYI. You can do this in your office, while you are walking, or when you are on the go.
  • Brainstorming real time: You can float issues and source ideas from others by putting on Marco. People can then add/build on what was shared by others. 

Staying Present and On Time: Apple Watch Face with Timer Options
An executive leader recently shared a tip on how she ensures she is engaged and present when meeting with others, while at the same time managing her time without feeling rude and glancing up at the clock. Using her Apple watch, she selected a watch face that has a timer option as one of the icons. She has her timer set to 30 minutes, and she taps it just as the meeting starts. When the 30 minutes concludes, the watch gives her a soft vibration, so she can wrap up the conversation without interrupting the person or looking hurried. What a great hack!

Saving time with Recruitment: SparkHire
Screening talent for new roles can be a big investment of time. Many HR teams and leaders will spend full days in back-to-back screening interviews for 30 minutes at a time. What if instead of spending 240 minutes in live screening interviews, you spent 24 minutes screening and left with the clarity needed to determine the right next step for the candidate? Save time and increase the effectiveness of your recruiting process. Click here to learn more about Sparkhire!

Ease your Communication with Dictation
Text-to-speech and dictation features and apps are an easy way to improve productivity (just be sure to edit). Google Docs and Microsoft Word, as well as most email applications, allow for voice-to-text features. These can be very useful when you need to type notes from a meeting or if you have a lot of ideas in your mind that would be easier to dictate than to type. 

ChatGPT or other Open AI Resources
You have likely heard some harrowing stories of AI and ChatGPT. However, when used appropriately, these resources can be incredibly valuable to stimulate brainstorming, take some initial effort out of preliminary work or merge ideas. In our work, we might use it to generate initial agenda ideas we can then build from, pull peer research information together more cohesively than a Google search, or generate lists and ideas from which we can build content or concepts. One word of caution with using this resource: be sure to check sources, verify the information, and be aware of and manage plagiarism/copyright risks. 

Slack, Discord, or other group collaboration tools
Many organizations use these types of apps to keep everyone more closely connected, especially in virtual environments. For instance, Slack and Discord are instant messaging social platforms that allow users to communicate with voice calls, video calls, text messaging, and share media and files in private chats or as part of specific communities. There are many apps available with these features, so you can choose the app that best suits your needs. 

Work Management Platforms
Platforms, such as or Asana are designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work in one location so everyone has the same information. Other apps like Google Drive and One Drive allow users to collaborate on documents in real-time, making revisions easier and more time efficient.

In addition to these options, there are many other tools available to assist with communication, project management, communications, and productivity management. With a little research, you are sure to find solutions that work best for your organization. 

We are always on the lookout for new ways of working better, faster, and together. What’s the best technology tip you can share?

Please note: These resources were reviewed based on personal experience or recommendations from our peers, we have not received any compensation for this review.

We are an organizational effectiveness consulting company. We help our clients walk through business challenges every day. We will come alongside you to provide tools and resources to help identify and solve your most difficult organizational and leadership challenges. If you’d like a free consultation to talk about how professional coaching services or leadership development training can help you or your organization, we’d love to talk to you. Contact us for a free consultation at or call us at 970-279-3330.

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