Women Cambridge Crew Team Spirit

Keep team spirit…especially since we are STILL in remote work

Stay Together & Keep Motivated…even with social distancing

Group cohesion used to be easy when you could drop by each other’s desk.

Now, team spirit is work!

Your team needs encouragement.

Employees overcame the technical glitches and found ways to connect when their Internet connection suddenly dropped.  They valiantly try to stay connected when distracted by kids and spouse (the biggest kid of all!).  We all feel flooded by emails and messages that it’s hard to focus.

YOU seek fresh perspective.

You are surrounded by the four same walls.  Literally!

It’s lonely enough to be a leader when the team is together.  It’s even more solitary with remote work!

Tap Into Collective Intelligence & Get Solutions to Online Team Spirit

Meet with other professionals from different industries and backgrounds to share and swap solutions.

Come away with do-able actions steps that you would not have thought of yourself.

Team Spirit with remote work

When: Thursday, April 2 at 6:30 pm

Where: Online via Zoom

With:

Moderated by Denise Dampierre

Participants include managers and high potentials from diverse backgrounds and mutliple companies.  Possiblity to join meeting anonymously.

What you get: 

  • Discover do-able action steps from professionals you wish you could meet
  • Get proven ways to work effectively and without distractions
  • If you’ve been struggling with coordinating your team, this solution-finding is for you
  • Prove your own intelligence and value as you participate in the brainstorming
  • Or ignore this and keep struggling 😞!
Video collective intelligence

Enter your mail address below to join the collective intelligence online workshop.

Conference call

Collective Intelligence Solutions to Remote Work – Part 2/2

Hi.  This post is a follow up to yesterday’s article on the collective intelligence brainstorming to Keep Team Spirit with Remote Work.

Effective Collective Intelligence Process

There is a process to make collective intelligence brainstorming EFFECTIVE!  Ours includes

  1. Getting into a mindset of solution-finding (vs. blame or analysis).  The focus is the future and what we can do.  Options and actions.
  2. Specifying the challenge to overcome.  Keeping team spirit is great…and a vast topic.  So we focused on the actual situation of one gentleman and how his current approach led to frustrations and that he wanted to try something new.
  3. We brainstormed solutions and opted to focus on four “families” of new ideas
    • Empathy building
    • Smooth organization – (This is where yesterday’s post paused…)
    • Building engagement – (…and here we resume)
    • Assuring performance
  4. Choosing an Action Plan. This process is FYA (vs. FYI).  For Your ACTION.  To move forward, take a step.  Then another.
  5. Follow through.  Research has shown that progress ranks among the top motivators.  Progress can be measured ONLY when there is a before and an after.  We note “before” because that’s when we feel the pain.  When our solution works…too often we move onto the next challenge before noticing how we successfully overcame an obstacle.  Follow through helps measure progress.
  6. Denise’s Action Plan & Commitment to YOU.  (Read on 😍)

Solutions (continued)

Engagement

In times of crisis, the need is leadership.  YOU!

Your presence is the glue that will keep the team together.

What to share during these moments of contact?

To inspire your team with a clear, purpose-filled goal.

How does their work fit into the big picture of your company?  How will their sacrifice contribute to benefiting others during the crisis at hand?

Our young employees, in particular, seek purpose-driven careers.  NOW is the time to step up.

Additionally, team members KNOW challenges exist.  They want authenticity on your part and the invitation to contribute to finding a solution.

Which leads to the next way to connect:

To listen to your team.

Sounds easy?  It’s tough!  Many of us have been trained in a let-me-fix-it mentality that we don’t even realize we enter “fixing mode”!

Here were some questions raised that help leaders listen:

  • “What went well yesterday?  What went less well?  What should we change?”
  • “On a scale of 1 to 10, how did we do on ______ (transitioning to remote work)? What could we do to move from a 6 (for example) to a 7?”

Performance

Sustainable businesses perform.  Period.

Connecting is nice, but not at the cost of quality.  For the benefit of excellence!

Here were three related suggestions to maintain performance.

To, collectively, make the list of doable tasks needed to reach specific goals.

What’s so unique about this?  The collective element.  We are all facing novel dilemmas.  It is unreasonable to assume that the boss knows best.  Each of us only glimpses a limited perspective.  We cover more bases and avoid more details from falling through the cracks through a collective effort to break down goals into doable tasks.

To translate tasks into deliverables.

In the office we can walk by the desk and see progress.  Not so with remote.  So, how to assuage the need for some control on account of the boss with the need for the team mate’s flexibility?  Deliverables can be measured.  Either they are completed or not.

Instead of “Work on ______,”  both the leader and the team member will benefit from, “I need X.  When can you get it to me?”

Once the tasks are listed, to invite the team to choose their responsibility.

There will be “fun jobs” and more tedious ones.   No employee enjoys being assigned the latter…even though they all realize the task needs to be completed.

It’s highly effective to place the list in front of all and to wait. “These jobs need to be done.  Who will do what?”

Example at work

This worked with a start-up developper team during one of my trainings.  One person regularly complained of having to do work she did not enjoy.  Once she had mastered the basics, she should not have to be assigned those more mundane roles.   She had gained a reputation as a complainer.

In a collective solution-finding, she chose the option to list tasks and for each to volunteer for the work for which they were skilled.  Both she and her colleagues realized they could step up .  She could improve her attitude. They could also share the load of more basic tasks.  They could also all take a step back and consider how to minimize the repetitive work.

Example at home

During one vacation my family of four sons was joined by my brother’s family with triplet boys.

7 boys under 10!  That’s a lot of cleaning, clearing up, etc.

We made a list of special chores:

  • vacuuming under the table after every meal
  • putting away shoes in the front hallway so that we don’t trip
  • helping out for 10 minutes for “whatever needs to be done”

I had to keep myself from smirking when these tykes called out, “I WANT vacuuming!”

Just do it – Planning Action

Having established several viable options to keep team spirit with remote work, we turned back to our gentleman leader who had presented his situation.

What will you choose to put into action?

He chose two solutions (they both happen to be from yesterday’s post!)

  • To share videos of their workspace and thus to build empathy
  • To batch information and thus to reduce time spent in responding to each other and to increase time in value-added contribution

Follow Through

People work on what gets measured.  Follow through does that.  We set a time to reconnect.

Denise’s Action Plan & Commitment

As of today, I am launching #ResilienceBuilders.

Every day, before 6:30 pm

Find it on the Facebook group #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Share your success of a tough job well done. 😨🙃😀😂!!!!

FB Group #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWorkResilience Builder 1

Conference call

Collective Intelligence Solutions to Remote Work – Part 1/2

Thanks to those who signed up and attended the event, “How to keep team spirit with remote work?”

Here is the 6-minute video, which gives you a cue to what we discussed and shared.  FYI, the video is posted on the Facebook group #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork which I am launching now.  Join us as a Founding Member!

And, yes, this entire article is also posted on #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork 

Mindset

 

I began sharing how our mindset keeps us in a limited perspective. We all have blinders of sorts. And the result is that we tend to treat problems in the same way…

“If Your Only Tool Is a Hammer Then Every Problem Looks Like a Nail”

Abraham Maslow

Well, our office hammer does not work with remote!

Defining the Specifics

Remote working is a LARGE ISSUE. One of the attendees shared his leadership style and why remote was challenging for him. (Check out the video 😉)

Does this apply to you too?

  • More comfortable dealing with “rational” issues than with feelings
  • Used to rigor…which he interpreted as control
  • At work, when he talked to team members, they were present.  Now when he gets them on the phone he wonders if he is interrupting them…and he’s not sure if he’s interupting professional work or the tasks of living in confinement.  He feels disoriented.
Remote Work collective intelligence
My notes in mind map.

Solutions

With his concerns in mind, we looked at four “categories” of solutions

  • Empathy
  • Organization
  • Engagement
  • Performance

It is true that we need to connect. It is also true that a business only exists if it can maintain a flow of revenue. We need BOTH people connection AND confirmation of results.

To stay focused, we looked at one solution for each of these.  There are MANY more that surely you all use.  Please share them either below or on #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork.

Empathy

Empathy, one of those overused words, is about recognizing that the other person has a different perspective and trying to understand that viewpoint.

To build empathy we settled on this solution

To invite the team to share a 30-second video of their surroundings.

The goal is to better understand the personal challenges that each of the team members is currently experiencing.  It is different to talk about it than to see it.

I connect with one colleague; she sits on the floor in a hallway to find privacy away from her two youngsters!  I still expect quality output, yet seeing her crouched with a smile reminds me to also notice and remark on her contributions. 

Organization

We focused on ways to respect each other through planning on the calendar and how often to share information.

To establish regular meetings scheduled in advance.

When juggling mutliple schedules (parents taking care of kids, doing the grocery shopping which now takes forever, catching some daylight rays…) team members are now less flexible.  One would think the opposite; they are at home!  But no.

It is easier to cancel a meeting than it is to try and get everyone together at the last minute.  In fact, it was considered respectful to plan ahead.

To batch information sharing.

This idea was my personal favorite because I related to the challenge of being bombarded by multiple notifications on email, Slack, LinkedIn, Facebook… and more.  Should I respond then?

And when I tried to find the information, what a mess!  On which channel had that tidbit been shared?!?! 🤔

The information batching meant asking these two questions:

  • Can this information wait to be shared at our regularly scheduled weekly meeting?
    if not
  • Can this information wait to be shared at our scheduled daily meeting?
    if not, then and only then, to contact the team member

If you will contact, then do it all the way.  Not an email that you hope they will answer right away.  Go ahead and pick up the phone or connect on video conference.

To be continued tomorrow….

unanswered emails

Collective Intelligence Solutions – “No one answers my emails!”

Do you ever feel like your communication goes into a big blank void.

“Hello, is anyone out there?”

A client, let’s call her De Nise 😉, shared this challenge.  She sends out emails…and no one responds.

Silence.

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWorkDe Nise shared:  “It’s an important issue I am writing about.  Does no one care?  How can I make them more responsible?”

Tapping into Collective Intelligence

I proposed we try a collective-intelligence solution-finding.  It is a tool available to you on the Facebook private group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork.  Click below for your invitation to join.

Here is how it works:

  • A person shares a work challenge
  • I work with that person to clarify the context of the issue
  • In a moderated discussion led by me, we invite members of the community to share their perspective and what they would do if they were in this situation.

Did you catch that?  NOT what the other person should do. What they would do if they were in that situation. 

Why go through this process?

What Collective Intelligence can do for you

You and I can get stuck in our mindset.  We think the same way over and over.  People are creatures of habit, and each of us has thinking patterns as well.

These thinking routines are helpful in many situations.  We don’t have to reflect deeply on how to sit down on a chair during a meeting or on how to open our computers.

Yet we get trapped in patterns of thought.

I remember a very aggitated fellow conference speaker.  We were before an audience of several hundred people and he could not get his password to work on the computer.  He muttered under his breath: “I have not changed the passcode…The computer worked yesterday!…Do I have a virus? 😨…Why did I not put my presentation on a USB key!….”

And he retyped his password over and over again to no avail.

I suggested he might check the Caps Lock key.  “What is it?  I never use it. That’s not possible.”  Yet this key on the keyboard can get accidently pushed and stay pushed and changes lower case letters into CAPITAL LETTERS.  Well, he was typing 3pASSWORD3  instead of “Password” and no wonder his computer did not open.

An outside perspective gave him a solution he would not have considered in his habitual thinking.

Collective intelligence brings fresh perspectives.

Collective Intelligence at #SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

So what happens on the Facebook private group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork?

Below is a recap of the exchange between myself and my client as we tapped into collective intelligence.

YOU TOO can experience this constructive group brainstorming first-hand on Thursday, March 12 at 2:00 p.m. Paris time.  Click on the button below to get your invitation.

Collective Intelligence Business Case:
No one answers my emails!

My client (we are calling her De Nise) shared her frustrations about no response to emails.  Faced with a communication void she lost confidence in herself and began questioning the value of her contributions at work.

(You may have experienced similar feelings over different issues.  Feel free to post your specific situation on the group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork and we’ll help you find alternative answers.)

Example of discussions on SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork:

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWorkDe Nise No one answers my emails! It’s so frustrating. 😠
Aren’t they concerned? How do I get others to be responsible?

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre It’s a bummer De Nise to feel in an information void. Did you know that our brains are wired to fill in these data gaps…and it does it with thoughts of what we fear:
– “Are they speaking behind my back?”
– “Are they questioning my performance or capabilities?”
– “Is my work insignificant?”
– “Do I have the email version of bad breath (people stay away and you are not sure why)?”

So let’s get a fresh, more positive (and productive) perspective.

We can start by focusing on a specific situation so that we can fill in the data

  • To whom was the email addressed? (ex. just to my boss, to my 5 colleagues, to….)
  • Can you summarize the message in one sentence?
  • How long was the email?
  • What did you ask?

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWorkDe Nise – In this one urgent case, I addressed the email to 5 people, a mix of clients and of suppliers. We are working on a full-day presentation for the client company and the day’s program is timed to the minute. I am the event coordinator. At our rehearsal, the client managers were not ready with their individual presentation. We are heading for a disaster if the client managers speak overtime…and when they prepare at the last minute that is what usually happens. I sent the email to my boss and colleagues at the event management firm, to the client coordinator, and to the venue manager.

No one seems concerned. Am I the only one to be responsible?!

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – Would you be open to a fresh perspective and to hear what other people might do in your situation?

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

De Nise – Sure , why not .

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – I presented this situation to my own mastermind group and here are people’s response to the question: “If you were in this situation, what would you do?”

  • “I would re-read my email from the perspective of the receiver. Is it clear what is expected of them? Where are there ambiguities? Then I would re-write a short email making a clear request.”
  • “I would call up each person concerned and ask them how they view the situation and what they suggest to respect both the timing and the managers’ egos.”
  • “I would send out a note about best practices for presentations at an event like this. It would include tips about slides (one point per slide, limit the text, make it legible from afar…). It would indicate an approximate minutes per slide (ex. from 3 to 8 slides for a 5-minute presentation).”
  • “I would write an email entitled ‘Action Steps’ and indicate a clear next step such as ‘Managers to submit their slides for a 5-minute presentation by ____ (date).”
  • “Are there regular follow-up meetings? I would do nothing now and add ‘Timing and Manager Presentations’ to the agenda for the next meeting.”
  • “I would ask my boss what is expected of me. Whose job is it to manage the timing? If it is not my job, then let the other person do it. If it is my job, then I would connect with my counterpart at the client to see how we can better communicate the time-limit to the managers.”
  • “I would not take it personally. We get so many emails; they get lost in our mailbox. I would simply send another email…and make the title catchy.”

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

De Nise – WOW!  I had not realized there were SO MANY WAYS to address this issue !

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – So, which one will you try this week?

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

De Nise – I have to choose ?

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – You mentioned you were willing to try something new. That begins with choosing a novel approach. Which one will you try?

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

De Nise – I am not comfortable with some of these ideas, but I could send out the guide for best practices with indications of how many slides per minute. This would give us all a reference point and if a manager submits 40 slides, I can refer him back to the guide. I feel more confident this way.

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – Great, let us know how it went.

A week later…

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – De Nise Sooooo…. How did it go?

 Avatar SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

De Nise – Well, I ended up doing nothing then and waiting for the next meeting. No one mentioned my email, but we addressed the issue. I realized after our exchange that my email was not clear. It only mentioned a problem and no solution. And it would have been more effective if I addressed the issue either directly with my boss or with my client contact. I am now more conscious of how I write emails.

Thanks. I had felt quite vulnerable, but this ended up being very HELPFUL.

Denise Dampierre SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork

Denise Dampierre – That’s what the group is for.  Keep it up!

Get your issue resolved with Collective Intelligence

Soooo…what did you think?  I would very much appreciate your feedback.

You might prefer to do so in a setting with more confidentiality and even anonymity.  (You can use your first name only on Facebook)

Rendez-vous on the Facebook private group SafePlaceToTalkAboutWork !