COVID-19. The world has changed

How To Emerge From COVID With Your Culture Strengthened?

Reading time: 2 mins 50s

Covid-19 has changed our way of work. The ‘Zoom-i-fication of Society’ as some are calling it is permanent.

In a report from Initialized; “two or three-day office work weeks will become the norm for companies with physical offices.” They conclude that “only a small minority of companies will expect employees to be in the office all five days of the workweek.”

(See the report here)

Some of my clients will only return to the office in September. That’s a long way away. What we hoped would be a sprint now turns out to be a triathlon

So, in this hybrid world of work …

  • How do you build winning, happy, motivated teams … and sustain performance for the long haul?

This is 2021’s Management Challenge:  

to emerge from Covid with the spirit of your organisation alive and well.

… with the culture and performance of your business strengthened, not depleted.

It’s certainly a big ask.

How you rise to the challenge will define your success this year.

Here are a few practical thoughts on how to do so with the team you lead.

Meetings

  • Decide which meetings must happen in-person. Get commitment to be at the office for these. The Weekly Team Meeting is the best example. Consider extending it by 15 minutes. Use this time for informal discussions or individual check in’s.
  • Keep your weekly 1:1’s consistent. This gives structure and stability. Remember to ask your 2 guiding questions; “What are your priorities this week?” “How can I help you?”
  • Consider only starting meetings at 9.00 a.m. With all meetings finished by 4 p.m. Take the bold step and make 1 day a week a meeting-free day.

Purpose

  • Everyone is experiencing trials and challenges right now. Don’t assume therefore that people feel the same way about their work as before.
  • Anticipate this. Talk about the purpose of your team. Much more than normal. Discuss the relevance and impact of your work on others. Remind people why your team is important.
  • Make it personal. Remind team members why what they do matters and to whom.

Focus, focus, focusFocus

  • Create hyper-focus. This means your team goals are clear, simple, and ambitious. 7, 8 or 10 goals are too many. Concentrate your team’s energy on doing a few things really well.
  • Break big goals down into smaller ones. Radically re-prioritise work and consider which goals should not be worked on at all!
  • Keep your team in the loop on decisions being made in the wider business. It’s the unknown that unsettles people. Make time for discussion, so people can process what these decisions mean to them.

Recognition

  • Ensure people are seen and heard. This is a basic human need – amplified by isolation and remote work. People want to be known and valued for who they are. Not treated like machines.
  • Celebrate small wins … for goals achieved and for conduct that reinforces your culture. Recognise people who help others. Ensure you too are a positive inspiration to the people around you.
  • Make sure team members know what a good day means to them. Help them to develop a simple set of criteria so they know for themselves … and not because you tell them.

Care

  • Give your attention. Access to you is important. Be mindful of your own busyness. Trust is built on empathy and authenticity. If you’re unavailable, distracted (or absent emotionally) trust is compromised.
  • Burnout is real. Be vigilant because it’s on the rise. (See Beyond Burned Out, a must-read article). Feeling overwhelmed, drained, and unable to meet constant demands are clear signs. Be an expert in recognising burnout and intervene early.
  • Know what flexibility means to team members … and build flexibility into your team’s way of work. Develop a system together that promotes healthy habits, fosters creativity, and delivers performance.

I encourage you to start working in all of these 5 areas. To get active. To ensure your leadership is right for the times.

The world of work has changed forever. The forces driving this are out of our control.

What we can control is our response.

The best managers are already hard at work …  determined to not miss the opportunity presented by this time of disruption and change!

Please comment below: What are you doing to sustain performance for the long haul? To emerge from COVID with the spirit of your organisation alive and well?

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4 replies
  1. Clive Hawkins
    Clive Hawkins says:

    A truly excellent read….I think a healthy balance will help a lot and that the care, appreciation, and time given/shared with your team will be very important going forward….

    Reply

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