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….

Stay in Style

Today’s Gift on the Joy. Peace. Love. @ Home advent calendar for parents

2 haircuts for children offered when Mom gets her hair cut
by Adrien Bracon, Coiffeur à Domicile, Hair Stylist at home

How to receive this gift?  Take the fun quiz on the Parent Advent Calendar today and you could be the lucky one to win the draw.

Your gift today.  One. Hot. Hairdo. Chez Vous. By Adrien Bracon.
Adrien is providing a discount for a regular woman’s cut (today for 60€) as well as the trim of two children’s hair for free.

Stylish from Head to Toe

When I was pregnant with our first son, I wondered if I could keep up my style.  Do mothers continue to walk in high heels and wear snugly fitted skirts with bangling jewels?

One of the joys of living in Paris is seeing chic mothers strut the street. Dressed in the latest fashion (with legs adorned in Gambettes from My Little Paris!), they push strollers along, wave good-bye to children going off to school, pause outside the bakery as the kids buy the daily baguette…

They’re stylish from head to toe.

These women LOOK stylish from head to toe BECAUSE they mastered key fashion accessories:  the hair-cut and the shoes.

Attention to detail with head and feet transform your look.  They change the way you walk and hold yourself.  And even a simple T-shirt takes on a fashionable turn when you wear it with a flattering coiffure and trendy footwear.

Adrien Bracon – How To

Boy getting a haircut
Adrien Bracon “coiffer-ing” at home

You can read about Adrien in Elle magazine where he was featured when he left Jean-Marc Maniatis haute coiffure hair salon to launch out on his own as a Coiffeur à Domicile, hairstylist at home.

Our family has enjoyed his art and company for decades.  Here’s how it goes:

Schedule the Appointment

We schedule a rendez-vous (usually via text messaging) about one week in advance.  He snips and styles all six of us (Mom, Dad, and four hair-conscious boys) in one sitting.

Easy Preparation

In preparation for his arrival we set up a stool in the living room (we have wooden floors.  Other folk transform a bathroom or the kitchen into the hair salon).  Do prepare a flat surface nearby where he can put his equipment.

Adrien arrives with the protection to wear during the cut and with his scissors, fragrant water for spraying, and mirror to admire the results.

Master Technique

His technique and training enable him to cut hair when it is dry.  It makes salon-at-home easier for you and me too.

Great with Kids

A father himself, Adrien, is experienced in working with children too.  They are more relaxed getting their hair cut in a familiar and comfy environment.  And, since they have been able to play and cuddle with you right up until snip-time, your tots are in prime shape.

Bye, bye the “Hush.  Behave yourself!” at the local salon.

With Adrien you get a quality cut, casual conversation in cozy comfort.

On our family’s heads, Adrien has “Carte Blanche.”