The feedback surveys are still rolling in, but I can say without a doubt that our first virtual conference was a success! Our amazing clients (and our generous CEO who matched contributions) raised enough money for Samaritan’s Feet to provide shoes and COVID kits for 1,200 children. We heard inspiring keynotes and gained insights from client speakers sharing stories on everything from the future of the physical office to the challenges of innovating during a crisis. We had some fun, and we learned a ton—and not just from the content.
As I was scrolling through my social media feeds this week, I noticed a trend that more tech companies are announcing a permanent move to hybrid or even a “remote-first” approach for the indefinite future. As companies look to 2021 and make budgeting and resourcing decisions, it’s not a mystery why many are choosing to reduce investment in physical spaces and double down on the remote work infrastructure if their business model allows it. That means many of your meetings will be moving online to Zoom, Microsoft Teams, WebEx, Skype or any of the video conferencing applications available.
A recent survey from SHRM found, "Work-related concerns left more than 40 percent of employees feeling hopeless, burned out or exhausted as they grapple with lives altered by COVID-19.” The survey found that younger workers (Generation Z) and women were more likely to report symptoms of depression, and only 7% of those experiencing symptoms had reached out to a mental health professional for help. As a leader in your company, your team’s mental health should be a top concern; your company can’t emerge from this crisis strong and ready for the future without a team that’s mentally fit.
Team meetings are a key component of any business. It’s important that the employees know and understand what’s going on with the company and what expectations they need to meet in order for the company to be successful. It is one of the best ways to create a culture of continuous improvement. Want to run a great meeting and save time each and every week? Just follow our tips on how to run a team meeting.
How does your team react to the weekly meeting? Is it a task they dread? Do they welcome the break from their desks? Do they get frustrated because every single meeting always seems to be about the concerns of one single person? Do the meeting participants believe it is time well spent? We have found that companies that take control of their meetings get a huge return on their investment with high employee engagement.
Many planning tools are used on an annual basis—yet, they are often overlooked in the middle of a pandemic like COVID-19. There is an opportunity, now more than ever, in your team's need for direction, a way to focus their action and a bumper rail to keep them moving forward. This will allow you to harness the energy of your team rather than sinking in the quicksand of panic.
Many executives have heard of SWOT but aren’t familiar with how to leverage it for their business plan, much less how to utilize it in a time of crisis. Every business I work with has seen affects from the pandemic—either positive or negative. Let’s look at how to utilize the SWOT approach for either effect by making it a cSWOT (Crisis SWOT). A SWOT analysis about covid 19 is key to establishing a healthy decision-making capability and communication rhythm in your company during trying times.
One of the many things I get to do in my role here at Rhythm Systems is work with our CEO Patrick Thean to coordinate and run our monthly management team meetings. This monthly meeting is a key component for our leadership team’s success; it gets us all aligned, it reinforces and enhances our company culture, it engages and re-focuses our leaders, and it is a great way for us to learn together each month.
What is a skip-level meeting?
As defined in an article by Jared Lewis, "In a skip-level meeting, upper-level management bypasses mid-level management to talk directly to non-managerial employees. Although there's not typically a special position known as a 'skip-level manager,' senior managers conducting these types of meetings are considered skip-level managers." The manager meets with employees to try to better understand their team members, build trust in the organization and get a better sense of the work environment challenges facing your front line employees. Skip level meetings for employees are just as important as they are for managers, and both should be well prepared prior to the "skip level meeting." Done properly, the skip level meeting is an effective tool to improve communications across your organization.
I have two small children sleeping quietly (for once) as I write this a little before 6 am. While the COVID-19 crisis has been hard for everyone—especially those who have been sick or lost loved ones or livelihoods—I know firsthand just how challenging it has been for working parents with small children. In the early days, when preschool and daycare were closed, I was trying to distract them with a movie long enough to get through a Zoom call or two and that would inevitably lead to a game of “push mama’s buttons,” both figuratively and literally, in which I’d have to hold the computer above my head so they didn’t hang up the Zoom.
What is a huddle meeting? The daily huddle meeting has been common practice for many companies for ages. No matter your industry (manufacturing, healthcare, technology, etc.) or size, a daily team huddle can be a good idea to increase alignment, communication, and productivity for your teams. According to an article in Inc magazine, huddles "keep companies focused on the same strategic goals, ensure timely answers to pressing questions, and enforce team accountability because everyone knows what everyone else is up to." The face to face time every 24 hours keeps team members aligned and on task.
Sounds like a simple concept: Alignment. What makes this so hard to achieve? The fact is, if you are hiring the right people, you will have a lot of smart people on your team who disagree with each other. This is a good thing. Alignment doesn’t mean that everyone starts on the same page; if that were true, then you’d just have a bunch of robots running around who all think the same way and who never challenge your ideas or come up with anything creative, interesting, or groundbreaking.
Difference of opinion among your team members is a key ingredient in developing the right strategies for your team, the ones that have been analyzed from different angles and debated in your planning sessions. However, when the dust settles and the decision has been made, this is where alignment takes over from diversity of viewpoints as the key to your strategy’s success or failure.