Working Remotely During Challenging Times

From stay-at-home orders, social distancing, and face masks at the grocery store, who would have thought just two (2) short months ago, our world would change so drastically!

One the biggest challenges I hear from friends and colleagues is how they can effectively work remote, stay engaged with their teams, while balancing the demands of the family. With so many balls in the air, it can be very distracting and challenging to focus on what is important to your business life.

Here are some things that I find beneficial for success:

Communication – While such a simple thing, communication is even more important in today’s new dynamic. Without that ‘face time’, the opportunities for your staff to proceed down an unproductive path, churn or disengage are high. The old adage ‘out of sight – out of mind’ comes to mind after hearing so many different stories recently.

To help overcome this, setup daily ‘checkpoints’ with your staff. While you do not want to become intrusive or perceived as ‘micro-managing’, checkpoints are a great way to connect. And these just don’t have to be business calls! Spending a few minutes to see how everyone is doing. This helps keep people motivated and engaged.

Accountability & Expectations – Based upon many different studies over the years, this was one of the biggest challenges, even before COVID-19. Employees want to understand what is expected of them and how their role connects to the larger picture of business success, but without clear expectations they often feel lost and disconnected.

Spend the time outlining clear expectations of the people working remotely. Whether it be clearly describing the task required or outlining the specific deliverable dates, let your staff know your expectations. Implementing a visible action register is one great way to accomplish this.

Metrics – With many of us working remotely, leaders today struggle on how to maintain the focus on what is most important. This is especially true with leaders that attempt to ‘measure everything’ or use Excel spreadsheets that lose data integrity because they get emailed around.

Narrow the focus of the metrics you measure to those that truly matter and move the business forward. Implement a meeting process that reviews your scorecards on a more regular basis. The goal here is provide the information in a timely matter that helps your business react and adjust to these unprecedented changing market demands.

Remember, in many cases your staff can no longer walk down the hall to ask the questions. They are expecting you to provide an environment where they can feel and be successful!

Paul Campbell, Senior Vice President, Competitive Solutions, Inc

3 Tips to Better Meetings

Meetings are an essential part of every organization and the ability to run effective meetings is a critical part of your organization’s success.  Keeping meetings, tight, effective and on-track takes discipline. And meetings that waste time also squander energy, productivity, and money.

Here are three tips to make your meetings better:

1. Action Register – Use an action register to capture assignments and tasks resulting from discussions in the meeting.  This will eliminate discussing a topic multiple times. Close each meeting by reviewing the action register and receive verbal affirmation from attendees on assignment and target dates. 

2. Standard Agenda – Develop a standard agenda for weekly meetings.  Items may include, Action Register Review, Scorecard Review, Recognition, Round-the-Table and Meeting Audit.  Participants will come prepared to have a meaningful meeting that will advance the business.

3. Meeting Audit – Typically, people talk about how bad a meeting was outside after the meeting.  At the conclusion of the meeting ask these questions: “Did this meeting advance the business?”  “Thumbs up or Thumbs Down?”  Participants must provide justification behind “thumbs down” regarding the meeting.  This will drive a continuous improvement mindset.

If you would like a sample Meeting Audit Checklist, complete the form at the bottom of this page.

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Engage Your Team!

Shift from a Leader Driven Meeting to a Team Driven Meeting

To enhance and encourage a culture of engagement, shift from a leader driven meeting to a team driven meeting by implementing the following tips:

  • If you are the team’s formal leader and facilitating the meeting, stop! Changing the facilitator role from the team leader to another team member can create a different dynamic for team effectiveness and participation without limiting the role and authority a leader has to drive business results and engagement. 
  • Rotate and distribute other meeting roles to encourage more participation and engagement in the meeting process by all meeting participants.
  • Require preparation for the meeting to include pre-written or typed speaking points and adherence to utilizing pre-read material when necessary for timely discussion.
  • Establish the expectation that meeting participants will speak for themselves to include status of actions, performance against metrics, etc.
  • Be mindful of and work to overcome tacit group dynamics imbedded in the work climate, such as employee longevity, titles, physical choice of meeting seats, etc. which may impact participation/engagement in a meeting setting.

For more tips on effective meetings visit our Meeting Misery: Meeting Makeover Edition

 

5 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

Five Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

It is impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator.  It is the ability to develop a keen external awareness that separates the truly great communicators from those who muddle through their interactions with others. If you examine the world’s greatest leaders, you’ll find them all to be exceptional communicators. They might talk about their ideas, but they do so in a way which also speaks to your emotions and your aspirations. They realize if their message doesn’t take deep root with the audience then it likely won’t be understood, much less championed.  The following are several communication secrets that all great leaders share:

  1. Get Personal Stop issuing corporate communications and begin having organizational conversations – think dialog not monologue.
  2. Get Specific – Learn to communicate with clarity. Simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing.
  3. Shut-Up and Listen – Simply broadcasting your message will not have the same result as engaging in meaningful conversation.
  4. Read Between the Lines – Great leaders have the uncanny ability to understand what is not said, witnessed, or heard. If you keep your eyes & ears open and your mouth shut, you’ll be amazed at how your level or organizational awareness is raised.
  5. Speak to Groups as Individuals – Great communicators can tailor a message such that each and every person feels as if they were speaking directly to them. Knowing how to work a room and establish credibility, trust, and rapport are keys to successful interactions.

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Getting to Know Generation Z: Preference for Person to Person Contact

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 4: Preference for Person to Person Contact

To all of us who have worried about the impact that technology and social media might be having on face to face communication and human interaction; have no fear, Generation Z is here! 

Although Generation Z grew up in highly technological environments with the on-line classroom, virtual and simulated environments, and technology embedded in the way they live and communicate; they still have a preference to connect on a personal level.  In other words, Generation Z is comfortable utilizing technology to connect and bridge the global world, but they hold a preference for person to person contact.  ‘

So what does this mean for the workplace? 

  • Increased face-to-face meetings
  • A preference for being in the office in a social environment over working from home in an isolated environment
  • A preference for learning in a social setting through applied group discussion that can build upon concepts that they can read and understand on their own
  • An ease and preference to utilize technology to accomplish goals through smarter and faster means
  • A preference towards managing by getting out of the office to where the work is being done over managing from behind a desk and through email

What impact would moving toward some of these preferences have on your organization?   

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Click Here for Part 3

What Top Business Books on Organizational Transformation Aren't Telling You

 Why Your Business Books Are Failing You

We tend to over-complicate things in business, and when it comes to defining what successful business transformation looks like, we reallyreally, over-complicate it. Much of what constitutes organizational success comes down to common sense, but unfortunately, it’s not always common practice.

All the books will tell you a long-winded version of the same message: discover the keys, take the right steps, figure out the dysfunctions, embrace the challenge, ascend the levels, look within organization, look outside organization, develop the right habits, know the rules, break the rules.

Transformation shouldn’t be that complicated. If you’re looking for sustainable business success, it can be as simple as focusing on these 3 key things:

Measure, Act, Communicate:

  1. Getting the Right Metrics at the Right Levels

    • Too often we have metrics that people can’t control at their level. To make metrics meaningful the owners must be able to directly impact metric performance. Successful organizations break strategic metrics into key tactical components at each level and department of the organization. 
  2. Holding People Accountable for Metric Performance

    • Once appropriate metrics are defined and owners can impact and control them then they set up a non-negotiable accountability system. This system should be able to handle short-term – today’s work today – actions and more long term strategic actions that focus on recurring problem resolution. Accountability systems are a key part of standard work but one that many organizations struggle with.
  3. Structured and Business Focused Communication

    • Eliminate non-value meetings and focus on those meetings that drive the 2 components above and tie the entire system together. Every meeting should be metric and action focused with a standard format across the entire organization. 

The keys to a successful transformation are that simple. The next step is deploying them.

Want to learn more about total organizational transformation? Put down your book! If you want to tour a facility to see what the execution of these strategies looks like, and visualize what you can achieve in less than a year:

Click for DEPLOYMENT CASE STUDY

Make your program succeed with proven strategies to generate momentum and sustain long term change

Here's Why 70% of Business Transformations Fail

Here’s Why 70% of Business Transformations Fail

Transformation shouldn’t be that complicated. Like Blocking and Tackling in football the key is the basics, If you’re looking for sustainable business success, it can be as simple as focusing on these 3 key things:

Measure, Act, Communicate:

  1. Getting the Right Metrics at the Right Levels

    • Too often we have metrics that people can’t control at their level. To make metrics meaningful the owners must be able to directly impact metric performance. Successful organizations break strategic metrics into key tactical components at each level and department of the organization. 
  2. Holding People Accountable for Metric Performance

    • Once appropriate metrics are defined and owners can impact and control them then they set up a non-negotiable accountability system. This system should be able to handle short-term – today’s work today – actions and more long term strategic actions that focus on recurring problem resolution. Accountability systems are a key part of standard work but one that many organizations struggle with.
  3. Structured and Business Focused Communication

    • Eliminate non-value meetings and focus on those meetings that drive the 2 components above and tie the entire system together. Every meeting should be metric and action focused with a standard format across the entire organization. 

The keys to a successful transformation are that simple. The next step is deploying them.

If you want to tour a facility to see what the execution of these strategies looks like and visualize what you can achieve in less than a year, complete this form for upcoming opportunities

Make your program succeed with proven strategies to generate momentum and sustain long term change

6 Benefits of Benchmarking

The Benefits of Benchmarking

Benchmarking is a common practice and sensible exercise to establish baselines, define best practices, identify improvement opportunities and create a competitive environment within the organization. Integrating benchmarking into your organization will result in valuable data that encourages discussion and sparks new ideas and practices. At its best, it can be used as a tool to help companies evaluate and prioritize improvement opportunities. 

Join us for our next Benchmarking Tour and Workshop at Rockline Industries this September 14-15, 2021. For more details visit our page here.

Benchmarking can allow you to:

  1. Gain an independent perspective about how well you perform compared to other companies
  2. Drill down into performance gaps to identify areas for improvement
  3. Develop a standardized set of processes and metrics
  4. Enable a mindset and culture of continuous improvement
  5. Set performance expectations
  6. Monitor company performance and manage change

Sound complex? It doesn’t have to be.

Please complete the form to receive more information.

 

17 of the Biggest Differences Between Managers and Leaders

17 of the Biggest Differences Between Managers and Leaders 

The words “leader” and “manager” are often used interchangeably, but they mean two completely different things. 

For instance, a manager tells their employees what to do, while a leader encourages them. A manager accepts the status quo, while a leader challenges it. 

Resourceful Manager, a website that offers information, training, and tools to supervisors trying to solve management and business problems, put together the following infographic that outlines 17 of the biggest differences between managers and leaders:

Getting to Know Generation Z: The Desire for Purpose and Fulfillment

Getting to Know Generation Z [Series]

PART 3: The Desire for Purpose and Fulfillment

Generation Z wants more than just a job, they seek a job with purpose, a sense of fulfillment that helps to move the world forward.  As leader’s in organizations, how might we better convey organizational purpose to our employees and encourage them to explore and nurture meaning and fulfillment within their roles? 

Start with a clear vision.  Revisit the history and vision of your organization and department.  Most organizations are not start-ups and their founding stories have been lost in mergers, acquisitions and growth.  Recount why your organization exists and share it with your employees.  Then emphasize why their individual roles are important and add value.  In addition, encourage employees to develop a vision (purpose) statement for themselves.  What do they see their purpose in life to be?  Does this align with their career path and goals? 

Utilize recognition techniques to convey the link between individual contributions and reaching departmental and company goals.  Create an atmosphere of appreciation and positivity where one might find meaning in being part of a team; part of something larger than themselves. 

Actively engage in one-on-one’s look for opportunities to help your employees align their overarching purpose with their role.  Encourage them to also look for opportunities that might provide a sense of purpose while fostering an entrepreneurial mindset.   

For more content like this, keep up with us on LinkedIn!

Click Here for Part 2

 

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