GreenHealth orientation

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Succeeding at GreenHealth

To maximize your chance for success at GreenHealth, it is important that you understand how we work and your role within the organization. The GreenHealth Way includes teamwork, tasks, and professional level presentations of results.

We want the same kind of interns as other innovative research organizations want to hire, only better: People who are adaptable, creative problem solvers and independent learners. Professionals who can work well with people and work successfully on teams. In a nutshell, we value people who are professional and know how to get projects done efficiently and effectively.

We hope your experiences over the next months will help you gain confidence in your abilities as a true research professional. To assist you, we compiled these suggestions from managers surveyed about what it takes to be successful:

Be proactive

You must schedule meetings with your manager when needed. In general, you should come to us if you can't find the answer on your own. The more you put into the process yourself, the more you'll get out of it. Don't expect us to tell you what to do.

Keep in Touch

You are responsible for checking your email regularly; announcements will be made this way, and we will assume that you have read them.

Check with your manager about any available online tools (email, threaded discussions, listservs, etc.). Use these tools to share information, project schedules, agreements, resources, results, and updates with your team members and manager.

Manage your time

Time management is essential to your success. You should plan to spent 50% of your time on this challenging project for reading and research. See the Working with Task section of this Orientation for additional suggestions on time management and to learn the process we recommend for completing tasks and presenting your solutions to your colleagues

Address performance issues in your team

Teamwork is essential to our success. Review the Working in Teams section of this Orientation to improve your team skills.

Since you won't initially know the full extent of your team's capabilities, negotiate the initial scope of work for each member carefully (i.e., what concrete pieces of the task s/he is responsible for).

If problems emerge, surface them as soon as possible so that you can negotiate them within your team and complete your task on schedule. (This may be socially uncomfortable, but you've just got to do it.)

If you ever have a problem you don't know how to solve, discuss it with your manager after you have talked to your team.

Good luck.

Working with Tasks

Subject: Tasks; Getting Started; Writing Tips; Presentation Tips


Your work is divided into tasks, each of which requires one or more “deliverables” (submitted assignments). These tasks will exercise your knowledge of environmental studies, as well as your skills in research, writing, and presenting.

Your research and internship mentors may choose to review your work in each task before allowing you to move onto the next one. Some tasks may require written deliverables; others require your team to give a presentation. Check with your mentors if you have any questions.

Though your mentors will determine when tasks are due, the responsibility of deciding how to finish is your own. You may be assigned to a group of teammates with whom you will work for the duration of the project. Within your group, you will have to determine how to tackle the work: who will research different parts of the task, who will take notes at meetings, who will present the final product, etc. This structure allows you to expand your skills in teamwork and management.

Getting Started

1. Determine the scope of the project. For each of the tasks you work on, start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What exactly are we being asked to do?
  • What do we need to know in order to do it?
  • What don’t we know yet? How are we going to learn it?
  • What resources do we need to complete this task? Where can we find them?
  • What assistance or information do we need from our manager to complete this task?
  • How can we split up the work in our group?
  • How will we teach each other what we have learned?

The resulting answers will aid your team’s project management.

2. Next, divide the labor among the members of your group, creating a work plan to keep the team on track.

  • Choose a “project manager” for your team – someone to keep the project on schedule. You can assign this role to a different team member for future tasks.
  • Decide how you will communicate your work with each other and when you will “meet” (either in-person or online).
  • Negotiate rules of behavior for your team. If two members conflict, how will the team resolve the problem?

3. Create a work plan . Ask your team the following questions:

  • What are the sub-tasks that need to be done in order to successfully complete this task?
  • In what order should these sub-tasks be done?
  • Who will be responsible for each sub-task?
  • How long should each sub-task take and what is its due date?

4. Complete frequent reality checks, adjust your plan, and renegotiate as needed.

  • If, after creating your work plan, you determine that you will be unable to complete the assignment on time, first think of how you can rearrange your work plan to meet the requirements. Ask yourselves:
    • Is there a way that we can reorder the sub-tasks, so that any can be worked on simultaneously?
    • Are we doing more than what is being asked of us? If so, can we scale down our efforts so as to be sure to meet the minimum tasks requirements first?
  • If, after trying to renegotiate your approach, you realize that you will still be unable to complete the task on time, figure out what you can have done by the due date, and then talk with your mentor/IT Director. It is always better to prepare a colleague in advance that you will not be able to have work done.

Writing Tips

  • Easy reference is essential when dealing with network security. Format your work in a way that facilitates a quick read.
  • If you are creating bulleted or numbered lists, keep all items in parallel grammatical structure. That is, all the items should be commands or all of them should be full sentences – do not mix the two structures in your list.


1. Reboot computer.

2. Click on icon on desktop to install software.

3. Follow steps in installation wizard, using default settings.

Not parallel

1. Reboot computer.

2. The software should then be installed by clicking on icon.

  • Remember your audience--use a vocabulary appropriate to the target audience. If you do not know who your audience is, ask your manager.
  • Keep it short -- everyone is too busy to read unnecessary verbage. Use only as many words as needed to convey your information.

Presentation Tips

Planning the presentation

  • What is the goal of the presentation?
  • What content is required?
  • Who will gather the content?
  • Who will prepare the presentation?
  • Who will introduce the material?
  • Who will address each set of needs/recommendations during the presentation?

Developing the presentation

  1. Plan how your presentation will answer your audience's question(s).
  2. Determine how you will have consistent formatting and design of the PowerPoint slides if different people create content .
  3. Use clear headings, bullet points, and a type-face and font-size that allows for comfortable viewing from the back of the room.
  4. Avoid visual busyness in your PowerPoint slides
  5. Choose the language and the level of specificity of your presentation based on your audience profile.
  6. Proofread your PowerPoint slides.
  7. Do a dry run of the presentation, making adjustments as necessary.
  8. Bring print copies of your presentation to the meeting, in case there are any technical problems.
  9. Prepare to trim or expand on your core presentation by considering in advance the priority of each of your points. Presentations often need to be adjusted due to unplanned time and technology constraints.

Delivering the presentation

  • On the day of your presentation, arrive early to insure you have time to set up.
  • Before beginning, ask if everyone can see/hear you clearly.
  • Maintain eye contact and speak loudly.
  • Don’t just read the slides to your audience: use them as reminders of your main talking points.
  • Ask if there are any points needing clarification. Pause, allowing for questions to be asked. You normally don't need to ask if there are any questions when executives are in the room--they often interject when they have questions.
  • If you can't answer a question, don't try to. Instead, make sure that you understand the question, and promise to get back to the person as soon as possible.
  • Vary speakers' voices and positions to keep your audience's attention.

Working in Teams

How to create a successful team

Teamwork Tips

Teamwork is essential to your success. Before your team begins meeting, and whenever you encounter problems within your team, review these resources on how to improve your team skills.

Surviving the Group Project: A Note on Working On Teams (html) is an excellent resource on the why, how , and "heads up" of teamwork. Although written for an academic audience, it contains research focused on corporate teams. Check out the site's Sources section for additional reading.

Fastfacts: Collaborative Group Work (html) provides a practical approach with solutions to challenges commonly encountered by teams.

To improve the effectiveness and quality of your team's work, adopt suggestions from the Meeting Resource Center at Project managers should review the site's Meeting Dilemmas Solved for suggestions on how to organize, schedule, and conduct an effective meeting.

If you need additional assistance with resolving team conflicts, consult with your mentors for guidance.