Forge Strong Virtual Teams

As we know from our own experiences, forging strong teams – that collaborate and trust each other enough to invest their individual energies to produce a collective perspective – is difficult under traditional conditions where people share offices. It’s likely more difficult when people aren’t working in the same spaces. However, by being aware of the challenges we can strengthen the process. 

In a recent Korn Ferry blog What Really Makes Teams Click Today, Gary Burniston shares a framework  based on an analysis of 150,000 leaders, of what it takes to identify what it takes to lead dynamic virtual team environment  The ADAPT approach focuses on the need to:

Anticipate tomorrow

Drive to elevate energy and others

Accelerate with agility

Partner to tap “collective genius:

Trust to create elevated interdependence. 
As you and your people adapt to the evolving distributed workforce model, think through these five attributes to create more effective virtual teams. Then, share with us what challenges you encounter with each, so we can all forge more effective virtual teams, especially when it comes to spurring creativity to develop innovations.

Stay Focused

With everything that’s happening today, are you being so distracted that it’s reducing your effectiveness?

The implications of the Covid pandemic – working from home, taking care of family, schooling children, managing/supporting other workers – have to be distracting. Add to that increased attention to diversity and inclusion, a national election, economic survival, etc., and it’s not surprising that people are experiencing more stress and are being distracted.  

Now more than ever, you need to take steps to stay focused.   Brent Bailey, a Chair with Vistage Worldwide, shared a story about times he spent with John Wooden, one of the most successful college basketball coaches of all time. He notes that staying focused on what counts was key to his success. for instance, rather than focus on the outcome – winning – he focused his attention and that of the players on “performing to your potential”. Coach Wooden saw this as a higher standard, one that you could control and which would lead to success as a byproduct.  Brent used that approach as his business shifted its focus from being a generic product provider in many markets to a focused approach of building a consumer-brand product.  

We’re seeing this play out in the presentation arena as well. Audience’s attention has shortened (again) and people want you to get to the point more quickly. This means you need to focus in several ways:

  1. Focus the message on the key elements that people need to know. Unless it’s a core concept or essential supporting point, it’s being perceived as a distraction and drains energy/attention from the parties to whom you’re presenting. 
  2. Get to the point quickly; there’s a tendency by many speakers to make sure they set a solid foundation before getting to the key point. However, not everyone needs such an introduction and all too often the audience’s attention is lost before getting to the meat of the presentation. Worse, the speakers then find that they run out of time and speed through the crux of what mattered! (Indeed, when I facilitate new speaker meetings, I often set time limits on the introduction and encourage speakers to check the understanding-assumptions throughout the presentation. The impacts of this focus are greater audience engagement and more discussion on how to apply what they learned.)
  3. Focus your preparation time as well so you can deliver a focused presentation. Use the time-management systems we’ve talked about in prior blogs (e.g., scheduling sufficient, uninterrupted time for specific projects, and taking advantage of your biorhythms when executing) so you can thoroughly (a) think through your ideas and (b) organize and design the material so it is quickly and fully grasped by the audience. 

In sum, now more than ever, you need to stay focused to live up to your potential for each activity and in that way achieves the results you want.

Managing the Distributed Workforce

Project Oxygen is the code name for research that Google engaged in for 10 years to figure out what behaviors make for the perfect manager. The goal was to train its leaders in these traits. The research has led to improvements in employee turnover, satisfaction and performance. 

One key finding was that technical skill mattered less than people might think; it’s the emotional-intelligence (EIQ) skills  – the ability to understand and control emotions, both their own and those of others, that mattered more.

Since workers increasingly work from home, office and/or pods, understanding these behaviors may help you manage them better in the current and post-pandemic world.  These are 10 behaviors that effective managers have:

  1. Be a good coach. Guiding teams and sharing insights to enable members to gain experience and grow
  2. Empower teams and not micromanage.  Especially relevant when you can’t manage by wandering around, giving people the freedom to experiment and learn from experience is key.
  3. Create an inclusive team environment, showing concern for well-being and success. This mirrored other studies that the greatest key to team performance was a “psychologically safe” environment.
  4. Be productive and result-oriented. Serve as a role model. 
  5. Be a good communicator.  Knowledge is power. Listen and share information so people know the “why: behind the “what”. 
  6. Support career development and provide constructive feedback. Help people grow professionally. 
  7. Have a clear vision/strategy for the team. Never lose sight of the goal, and your individual role in executing the total team strategy.
  8. Have the technical skills to help advise the team. Understand your people’s jobs, including responsibilities, tasks and challenges.  
  9. Collaborate effectively. See the big picture, not just the “silo responsibilities” and encourage everyone to work for the good of the company
  10. Be a strong decision-maker. Be decisive; learn the facts, consider people’s perspectives and the optional paths to take and then commit to a specific decision.

Google learned that when managers adopted these traits, this generated trust and inspired people to be the best versions of themselves. And that generates top-notch self-management.

Now, look at your management team: how do they rate on these behaviors? What can you do to help them improve – and propel your company to greater performance and satisfaction!

Update Your Time Management Plans

Now that we’re working from home, and balancing more than just work during the day, is it time to update your time management system?  Many people report handling business and personal activities during the previously work-only hours (e.g., helping your kids with school activities), and they all need to be done!

Over the years, I’ve helped many clients and students with a time management system which involves a double entry system: you list everything you need to do (and cross out things as they are done), and a second one which allocates the tasks to a working day (e.g., 8 hours). Another feature of it is that it’s completed the night before you stop working and left on your desk, so when you come in you check, make adjustments if needed, and move forward, as opposed to planning the day then. (See prior newsletter articles.)

Today, many of us are stretching the 9-5 day to handle child and parent care issues, etc. by recognizing that there is no community. So we can use the commuting and transition times to handle personal needs. Plus we want to take advantage of family time and so we use a longer schedule of hours (e.g., 8Am to 9 PM) in which we take care of everything (e.g., from 10-2 we’re in child-care mode). So we may enjoy longer dinners with the family and do the last review of emails not from 4-5 PM, but 8-9 PM).

When we first went into lock-down we had to improvise. It’s still impossible to develop a concrete schedule – since this is summer time and no-one knows what’s going to happen with work, school, care, etc. in the fall as Coronavirus spikes require our attention. Still we’ve learned what works for some activities and can, on a piecemeal basis, put together a schedule-template. For instance, one of my coaching clients scheduled coaching during his son’s mid-day nap.  After a few weeks, it became clear that the growing boy’s nap time should be changed… and so we did with great success for everyone.

As we get closer to the fall and/or you begin to have a clearer sense of time needs and commitments, update your time management plans.  If you have questions, feel free to contact me.

The Always-Ready Presenter

What can go wrong?  When it comes to presentations, lots of things do. And no matter how well designed your (Powerpoint) presentation is, nor how well rehearsed you are, if you didn’t anticipate a likely problem, you won’t have a contingency plan in place to still deliver a perfect presentation. 

Today, all presentations being delivered during the pandemic are virtual, you should expect some form of technology challenge. As a veteran presenter and coach/mentor to thousands of other presenters, most can be anticipated.

Last week, an Investment Banker asked me to provide feedback on three investor presentations they were considering. After the session ended, with a few challenges (luckily none major), I started thinking about solutions for next time.

In the early days of “slide” presentations, it was likely that something might go wrong with a projector. Conference Centers usually had back up light bulbs that could be used if not extra projectors. Copies of presentations were printed not just to give as handouts after the presentation, but to substitute if the presentation couldn’t be projected for some reason. 

Today is no different. People might not be familiar with the software platform (e.g., in this case Zoom) and not know how to let someone else be a host or show a video with or without its soundtrack. Monitors might not work; computers may crash; internet connections may go down. Outside events – everything from a baby crying a dog yelping or ConEd digging up the street below – may interfere. In my case, I set up a second laptop in my home office as a back-up the very first week, and created PDFs that could quickly be emailed

If a technology problem exists, and you solve it, as a presenter you now have a secondary problem: less time to make the presentation. In the pre-pandemic world, I led an investor/public relations firm. Most of my clients were allotted 30 minutes for investor conference presentations. Early on, I learned that conference centers have fire-drills, terrorist threats, etc., and they interfere with your time slot. In the Zoom presentation world m the same thing happens: we lose time fixing the technology.  For most 30 minute slots, clients develop 25 minute presentations, and use the last 5 minutes for Q&A. So what do most people do when they now only have 15 minutes?  They squeeze the full presentation into the shortened time-frame, leaving everyone – audience and presenter – unsatisfied. The mission is to impress and influence the audience, not do a speed-racing-data-dump.

We solved this problem by creating an Always-Prepared Presenter: after the main presentation was designed a scaled-down version (usually half-the time) was designed and the presenter prepared for both. This way, if we lost 15 minutes, we could present a complete, though abridged, presentation. The presenters often left the meeting as a “star”, because he/she was only one who delivered a properly paced presentation.  The contrast with your competitors can win the day!

So, consider creating shorter versions of the presentation, to stay in control of your message and build rapport with your audience, just in case the technology creates a time problem!

VIRTUAL Presentation Training Workshop

Be the Best Presenter You Can Be
Friday Sept 25th, 9AM to 5PM

More Info
Win More Bids! Get our e-book:
Present To Win The RFP
.

Need a Speaker for Next Event?

Request Today
Let us know your needs
For Business Owners & CEOs
Be an Even Better Leader
Outperform Your Competitors!
Learn why 21,000 leaders
belong to Vistage Worldwide

Does Your Website Attract
New Businesses?

In any industry, your site
can sparkle - and sell!

Request Evaluation
Get 15-min review of your website from Market Smith, leave with game-changing insights.

Company's revenue plateaued?


Maybe it's time to Re-brand!

Request DBC's Rebrand Plan

Market Your Company More Effectively!

Request free Book
'The Growth Gears'

Request today!
from Chief Outsiders

"Better Way" Webinars
View Many of Our Past Webinars

Learn, Enjoy and Prosper
youtube.com

Watch Some Executive Breakfast Club Presentations

Watch Video
executivebreakfastclub.com
HR. com recognized the Presentation Excellence Group
for leader excellence in the Leadership Partners & Providers category.

Calendar

October 2020
M T W T F S S
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031