One of the most exciting product features that we've included in the Rhythm software is the ability to make comments. This feature gives teams the capacity to collaborate with each other and work asynchronously on KPIs, Priorities, and strategic items. This is a very powerful tool as it enables conversations to happen prior to Weekly Adjustment meetings, quarterly planning sessions, or periodic think sessions. Having these conversations via comments in Rhythm prior to your team meeting can help your team identify and execute the right adjustments faster.
Team members can brainstorm ideas, share best practices, congratulate each other on victories, and raise topics for later discussions whenever they have the time to do so. This gives you more flexibility and the ability to accelerate decision-making as relevant data and insights from your team become available. Now you have a place to put those great ideas you had in the car on the way home from the meeting or the next morning in the shower! Plus, you have the recorded history of all of the comments on a particular metric, priority, or strategic item all in one place rather than a string of emails, shared documents, or a since-forgotten conversation. This history can help you look for patterns and get better at planning and forecasting in the future.
With such a powerful new tool at your fingertips, there is a temptation to rely heavily on comments, and that's great! However, there are still situations in which synchronous communication (face to face or even on the phone) are preferable and more effective. Dr. Victoria Medvec, professor at the Kellogg School of Management, identified some specific scenarios where synchronous communication is best.
Keep in mind these tips when deciding how your communication is best delivered:
- Is your comment something that could be misconstrued or misunderstood by members of your team? Since comments are intended to be relatively short, it may be best to save communications that are confusing or require a lot of explanation for phone calls or in person meetings. In this case, you might use your Rhythm comment to summarize the main idea and offer some call times to discuss further.
- Is this something that could cause conflict or drama in your team? If you are bringing up an idea that you know is a hot button issue for your team, it's probably better to do this in person where you can discuss, debate and agree. In person, you have the ability to gauge the emotional response of the team to the idea whereas you can't do that with asynchronous communication.
- Is this an essential piece of information? If so, it is a great idea to document the communication in Rhythm, but it is also good to reiterate to the team in person or on the phone to make sure that everyone is on the same page with the critical information.
So, get out there and start commenting! You'll get the most out of this exciting new feature if you follow these simple tips to be certain that your message can be effectively received using this exciting new mode of communication.
Editor's Note: This blog was originally published on Aug 6, 2013, and has been updated.