This past year we have all faced many things that have changed how we work and do business and we have had to learn how to rapidly adapt and change our business practices in order to keep up. While entrepreneurs have made huge strides and growth in how we practice business, as things slowly return back to how they used to be, we don’t want to forget the progress that has been made over the last year. We want you to continue to grow and move forward in not only your business performance, but your operations as a team.

Keith Ferrazzi has spent many years studying groups in the workplace and found that the most successful are ones that want to grow together and not just collaborate. He explains that this mindset improves workplace performance and that a true leader shares responsibility among a team.

Through the pandemic, we have found many unnecessary business practices. Most of these result in teams that do not function well together. Ferrazzi’s surveys show that 70% of people on a team do not feel valued and 74% feel unable to speak up in groups. With all of that in mind, it is up to you as leaders to step forward and continue making the change to create stronger and more cooperative teams that are not afraid of conflict. This is something that is not hindered by going virtual, but might actually help. Let’s take a look at six characteristics that all great collaborations have and how you can integrate them into your team practice and business. 

  1. Agility

The Idea of agile management is to be able to move quickly and efficiently. This is something we have seen grow in the pandemic as hours in meetings on zoom are not as well received as hours in meetings in person. This is something we should continue to improve. Instead of having long annual planning meetings, the idea is to replace them with faster daily, weekly, or monthly meetings. This way they can continue to be productive and prioritize what they are doing more often while keeping everyone up to date. 

Making weekly team meetings a priority in your business is a goal to accomplish. If you adopt these short sprints, you avoid marathon meetings, and your team can continually assess, make quick decisions, prioritize, and remain on track.

  1. Co-Creation

In the past, and even more in this past year, companies have seen how virtual meetings can be helpful for collaboration and growth. Zoom breakout rooms have been an elemental part of this growth. It is all very psychological. Many people are afraid to speak up in large group settings and are averse to conflict. 

What we see with zoom breakout rooms is that we break away from company “leaders” asking all the questions and answering them for themselves. Instead we see the opportunity to break out into small groups and let the people think for themselves and co-create together. The idea is to make your meetings less leader-centered and let your team’s insights and innovations be heard.

Commit to at least 50% of your collaborative meeting time to breakout room/small group collaboration. Make use of video breakout rooms in order to be able to effectively do this online. Turn away from leader-centered meetings and focus more on what your team has to say.

  1. Empathy

We have seen a big shift in what we would typically consider professionalism since the pandemic started. We have spent the past year on zoom meetings which has given us a window into our employee’s lives outside of what we would have seen before. We have seen into their homes, pets, children, and even heard kids in the background. For a long time many academics have vouched for empathy and vulnerability between employer and employee, but now the world has seen and began to accept it.

When you start a meeting, avoid diving right into business like before. Instead, start with personal check-ins with everyone. Possibly start by asking them their high-and-low of the week. Try to go deeper than shallow small talk, but actually get into their lives in a more meaningful way. There are lots of ways you can do this.

  1. Accountability

One question that many employers have on their minds with remote work is, “How do I know my employees are actually working and being productive?” Some employers might even wonder if their employees are taking workout breaks.  However, a quality in a great leader is to set clear goals and objectives for their employees. They set them up with small sprints and goals to be meeting throughout the week. If you are an effective leader that has set these up and your employees are meeting those daily/weekly goals, then what you need accomplished is being done. 

Another way to make sure your people are engaged and productive is to encourage peer accountability. We find that people do not want to let their teammates down. Also, we find that if a teammate finishes their work and checks in on the other guys, they are more likely to go help their colleagues that have fallen behind for the week. 

After team members share their plans or reports for the week, break them into small groups. In these groups they can check in with each other and discuss one risk that the individual might try or plan against, one innovative idea to consider, and one act of generosity that the group could offer to help with. Open up your group to serve and be accountable to one another instead of just you. 

  1. Generosity

Another great thing we have seen in the pandemic is a rise in people wanting to help one another with their projects and ideas. Out of this we see that there is a higher level of employee engagement. Remote teams who are left without help have a drop in productivity of about 50%. 

Create the idea of generosity as a cultural norm in your business. You can do this by making it a routine anytime someone on your team gives a report or presentation to ask, “Is there anything any of us can do to help you with this?” Model this for your teams and then in breakout rooms, they will do it for one another–care and generosity is infectious. 

  1. Candor

Ferrazzi quotes Elon Musk by saying, “his friends tell him how good things are, while ‘my best friends tell me what sucks’.” What he means is that oftentimes, entrepreneurs are opinionated and afraid of honesty from their team and often shut down their candor quickly. This is a mistake. This slows down the decision-making process and could make you miss out on making important changes. 

Be sure to listen to your team’s candor. This is a good way to hear what people are thinking, things that you had not considered, or whatever is being held back. After going through an idea, you can simply ask, “What are we missing here?”or “What are you holding back?” If your team is too big and you think it might be more effective in breakout groups, then you can also approach from that setting as well. The idea is to encourage honesty among your team in order to grow and get better together–lessen the power-dynamic. 

Applying these characteristics in your company will help boost morale and the employee’s desire to be an effective part of the team. Be sure to do what you can to foster the team-building as much as possible.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This