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Rhythm Blog | Effective Meetings

by Patrick Thean and the Rhythm Team

How the Best Remote Teams Fight Zoom Fatigue

Jessica Wishart Wed, Jun 24, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

According to CNBC, since the onset of COVID-19, Zoom use has surged to over 300 million daily participants. Microsoft Teams has more than 75 million daily active users. and Rhythm client Connex International's business has dramatically expanded as they help companies connect, collaborate, and expand their business. Other video conferencing platforms have surged as well. For many people, all of the in-person interactions—team meetings, project work, strategic planning sessions, one-on-ones, daily huddles, coffee breaks, happy hours, and even personal social gatherings—have been replaced by video conferencing.

While many teams are heading back to the office, increased usage of video conferencing platforms in the workplace is likely here to stay. As different people cope with their health risks, childcare and eldercare challenges, and the need for more flexibility to work from home, remote work will likely only increase as we move forward from here.

SWOT Analysis During a Pandemic: 4 Steps of SWOT Analysis

Barry Pruitt Mon, Jun 22, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

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 cSWOT is key to establishing a healthy decision-making capability and communication rhythm in your company during trying times.

Team Meeting: 5 Tips for Running Effective Team Meetings (Including Virtual)

Ted Skinner Fri, Jun 19, 2020 @ 02:14 PM

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.

Management Meeting Agenda: Make Your 2020 Management Meetings Effective

Ted Skinner Wed, Jun 17, 2020 @ 12:00 PM

In my last blog, I talked about how most meetings suck. Now, I want to focus our energy on ways that we can fix them and have effective meetings. One of the biggest complaints that I hear about bad meetings is the lack of an agenda or getting it two minutes prior to the meeting. While having a meeting without an agenda is horrifying, I have attended several bad meetings that had a detailed agenda sent well ahead of time! The problem was that the agenda didn’t cover all of the areas that the company needed to discuss in order to grow their business. It isn’t just having an agenda; it is about having the right management meeting agenda template focused on solving problems facing your organization.

Skip-Level Meeting Questions and Updated Agenda for 2020

Ted Skinner Fri, Jun 5, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

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. 

How to be a Good Facilitator: Top 10 Qualities of the Best Facilitators in 2020

Barry Pruitt Sun, May 31, 2020 @ 09:00 AM

Are your meetings the butt of work-related jokes? Why is it that we roll our eyes with disdain when our calendar is loaded with meetings, and more specifically, why do we dread the planning meetings that are so important to our strategic success? Let me ask, have you used senior team members as facilitators? If so, you’ve very likely chosen the wrong facilitator. Save yourself a bad decision before your next planning session. Don’t choose your CEO or an executive team member for strategic planning facilitation. If you do, you’ll pay for it all year (or quarter) based on the plan developed and the pain to get there.  Most executives are great at their jobs, but they don't have all of the qualities of a good team facilitator and may not be the best at facilitating a productive discussion.  When you are in charge, it is hard to be an active listener, which is extremely important to bring out all of the great ideas from the team.

15 Zoom Tips and Tricks for Your Virtual Meeting

Jessica Wishart Fri, May 29, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

At Rhythm Systems, we’ve been using Zoom for many years as a way to share screens, audio and video with our clients who are all over the world. About half of our team also works from home, so we’ve used it for our internal meetings as well. However, though I am far from new to Zoom, even I have been taken aback by how ubiquitous it has become in the last two months. In addition to all the regular work calls over Zoom, I’ve also been to a few Happy Hours, some playdates and story times, an Easter celebration, a birthday party and even a gender reveal party virtually with Zoom.

For many of us, Zoom is going to be part of the ongoing landscape of how we communicate—personally and professionally. With that in mind, now’s a good time to ensure we are using it well.

Does Your Daily Huddle Need a Makeover?

Jessica Wishart Wed, May 13, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

As many of our clients find themselves leading remote teams of people who are working from home for the first time or spreading out shifts so that they can better practice social distancing, the Daily Huddle is making a big come back. Even for teams who previously did not find value in the practice are adopting the daily sync-up as a necessary way to stay connected and aligned in this rapidly changing environment.

If you’ve been doing huddles for years, or even if it is a new habit over the last several weeks, now is a good time to evaluate how well your Daily Huddle is serving your team. I recommend starting the process of evaluating your huddle by writing an objective statement. What are you trying to accomplish with the huddle? Once you are clear on the purpose, you can better answer the question of whether your current practice is satisfying your goals.

Essential Tech Stack for Remote Work

Jessica Wishart Wed, Apr 8, 2020 @ 11:03 AM

Many companies are re-tooling and finding the best ways to remain connected and productive in a remote work environment in the work from home economy. At the same time, most companies are looking seriously at conserving cash and eliminating non-essential expenses. To help, I wanted to offer recommendations on the essential tech stack for virtual work—no fluff, just what your team needs.

At Rhythm Systems, we’ve always had several remote employees, and we had the benefit of doing a lot of research and vendor comparisons before we were all in crisis, so I wanted to share what we’re using in case it helps your team:

Composite KPIs - Changing the Conversation at Weekly Meetings

Tiffany Chepul Wed, Apr 1, 2020 @ 05:00 PM

Many times, the Key Performance Indicators we review at the executive team level are actually the sum or average of several smaller KPIs.  Viewing KPIs in this composite form is a powerful tool that one of my clients has recently employed.  What they have discovered is that it is changing the conversation at their weekly meeting and making it possible to identify bright spots more effectively.  Once they have a bright spot, it is easier to scale what is working across their 20 store locations. Composite KPIs have been a minor adjustment for them that resulted in a major positive shift in their ability to adjust.