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3 Steps to Effectively Lead Your Remote Team Through Crisis

Our employees are overwhelmed, anxious, and stressed out. And that was before the Covid-19 crisis! Now they have a whole new mess of problems to deal with: worrying about the virus, fear about what will happen to the economy, working remotely for the first time, trying to manage their kids at home, struggling to adapt to new technology, increased conflict with their partner from being cooped up inside…it’s A LOT. Meanwhile, we’re trying to get them to be as productive as possible and G.S.D (Get Shit Done).

If you’re anything like the clients we’ve been talking to over the last few weeks, you’re struggling just to keep your own head above water let alone be the kind of leader your remote team needs right now. While there’s no manual or precedent for dealing with a large-scale global epidemic in this modern age, we’ve been coaching our clients on how to pivot and adapt their businesses while leading their teams to success. No matter what industry you’re in or what catastrophe you’re facing, there are only three things you need to focus on as a leader to effectively manage your workforce and cultivate high performance.

1) Decrease Fear

Your people are scared. They are facing the unknown just like you.

As their leader your most important job is to decrease their fear. Even if the future looks bleak, your people want to know you have a plan to take care of them and see them safely through this storm. They want to know they can count on you, that you’ve got their back, and you’re here for them. 

One of the most effective ways to decrease fear is to ask your people what they want from you. Start by listening and leaning in. It may be different for every person, but you owe it to them to take the time to ask great questions, be an even better listener, and find a way to meet them where they are. Then authentically contextualize your mission and vision in a way that employees can relate to and find meaningful. And communicate, communicate, communicate. Take a look at our 4 C’s of Connection in Virtual Work – scroll down to get a free copy of our Remote Management Toolbox.

2) Increase Safety

Along with decreasing fear, you need to increase every team member’s sense of safety. When you start by turning your workplace upside down and listening to your people, you’ll have a good sense of where to begin.  Understand that people need people and that we are interconnected beings. The biggest challenge is the lack of community and perceived empathy.

But even more importantly, you’ll have taken a big step toward decreasing their sense of isolation. If your team is working remotely for the first time, they’ll quickly start to feel alone and adrift in the world. It’s up to you to make sure your team is connecting to you and with each other on a regular basis. Have at least two real connections per week that asks how they are doing.  And make sure to use video – verbal communication is only 7% of total communication!  Additionally, appoint a communication czar to make sure it works well with your team.

Start now. Implement daily or weekly video calls. Create a Slack channel where people can check in with each other during the day. And spend time demonstrating you care by coaching your team members through their specific challenges. Let them help each other and create a buddy system. 

3) Solve the Emotional Component

In times of turmoil, it’s normal for emotions to run high. As a leader, you need to make sure you’re helping your team process their emotions in a way that is healthy and productive. Make sure you’re regularly addressing these five areas on your check-ins with your remote team:

1) Self-Care: Discuss the importance of self-care and share strategies for individual success.  Routines, schedules, and how to deal with kids at home and connections.

2) Learn: Make sure your team has the tools and resources to support their learning and development with new skills for the virtual workplace and great communication tips.

3) Growth: If there is down time, encourage personal and professional growth along with real creativity.  What are some great ideas they can come up with for themselves to add big value for a future which will be super different and better than what we’ve experienced?

4) Mindset: Share practical ways each person can work on reframing their thoughts and help them through any mindset blocks. Remember, we need connection and help.

5) Connect: Illustrate the importance of connecting person-to-person and encourage team members to communicate over phone or video instead of email and text.

If you focus on just these three things and follow our hacks and tools, I guarantee you will see dramatic improvement in the performance and productivity of your remote team. While we are all being challenged to work differently, there is NO reason your team cannot continue to execute at a high level.

Need help implementing these strategies? Looking for personalized help for your organization? Reach out to us – the first session is always complimentary! We can deliver virtual keynotes, online workshops, and remote high-performance coaching to help your team continue to succeed and thrive. 

We also recently hosted a webinar on this same topic – click here to watch the replay. It will only be available for a limited time so don’t wait to watch!

Download our Remote Management Toolbox including Our 4 C's of Connection to help you lead your team to success!



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Two Predictions Shaping the Work(er) of the Future: Reality Hits Sooner

Last year we made some predictions for the future workplace. We predicted (i) technology is going to continue to evolve and drive change, and certainly (ii) people will matter more than ever. Our new Coronavirus reality further demonstrates the importance of both these points.  So as we enter this next decade, we’re gratified to see that new interviews and evolving research continues to support our predictions for the future workplace.

 The Wall Street Journal recently published an article called, “The Workplace of 2050.” It featured interviews with five experts at the top of their game making bold predictions for the future. All five talked about the way evolving technologies will reshape their industries – and the important role humans will play in the future of work.  

David Baszucki, CEO and co-founder of Roblox Corp, talked about the gaming industry as a whole. Alongside tremendous technological innovation, he envisions teams getting larger and transitioning to remote work with employees spread out around the world. While not mentioned directly in his interview, we know that communication between humans will be critical. As teams stop reporting to the same central office and start logging onto Slack from their couch, being able to articulate your story, demonstrate your value, and build relationships will become key factors for success in this industry.   

In the medical field, the need for technological expansion is particularly great. Dr. Esther Choo, ER doctor and Associate Professor at the Oregon Health and Science University, expects we’ll see “a lot more options for communicating with patients, monitoring them, connecting them to needed care…and streamlining things.” She also expects increased integration among the many electronic health systems doctors and patients are currently using. Although these innovations will certainly help healthcare providers improve job performance, what’s really driving this shift is a desire for better communication between patients and doctors in order to create meaningful change.

 Other CEOs and founders echo Baszucki and Choo, predicting an increasingly prominent role for technology in industries ranging from restaurants to talent acquisition. But for all this focus on technological innovation, Free the Work founder Alma Har’el sums up it up best: “At the end of the day, the heart of the work is really about connecting on a human level, and that’s never going to change.” No matter how an industry is disrupted or what new technologies they choose to deploy, at the heart of all this change is us: people. We still matter.

To help you create success and shift to a culture of high performance, we introduced our 3-hack system. Many of our clients have already reported tremendous success after implementing it in their organizations. How will you keep the future workplace human? What choices will you make to make your employees matter? How will you empower and lead your people to high performance? Reach out to us for a free consultation. Through our dynamic keynote speeches, game-changing workshops, and bold coaching, we will inspire your people to up their game and help you create a high-performance culture.

Shaping the Work(er) of the Future. It Matters Now More Than Ever.

The Future of Work is under attack: literally. The current fear of the Coronavirus has exacerbated the existing state of increased worker anxiety, depression, isolation and disengagement. They are all at all-time highs across the globe. And the pressure keeps mounting as the world moves ever faster.  In the U.S. alone, it’s costing billions of dollars in lost revenue and workforce productivity.

The Future of Work and the Workplace of the Future are huge topics of conversation. Yet, we’re still SOOO confused.  We ask, what it will look like? What it will feel like? Where and how will we work? How many hours will we attend to work and how will we balance that with all our other life challenges? How will we handle disease, global challenges, technological changes (robots, AI, digital, etc.), and how will we survive as workers?  It is an amazing question, especially today.

WE ARE MISSING THE POINT!  We are forgetting the single most important Future of Work component: the workers themselves.  The Worker of The Future. What will they do?

To break through all this uncertainty and confusion, to succeed in the future workplace, we need to first make sure we’re focusing on the right thing: the worker. Then, we need a system that helps and supports our workers as they navigate this period of tremendous change. Adjusting our focus and implementing a proven system is the only way to develop better connection, better engagement, and better teams. If we can figure that out, we’ll have better performance and financial results, better impact, better communities, and a ultimately a better world! 

Why We Need to Be Asking the Right Questions About the Future of Work

The workplace is changing and this change is creating enormous pressure. Industry research and our own independent polls of 20,000 people demonstrate the impact of big data, robotics, AI and other technologies our future. Here are the stats that we need to be concerned about and now with our new anxiety about Coronavirus, add fear on top of that – yikes!

  • 375M people will have new job categories,
  • 41% of companies will be fully automated,
  • 47% of jobs will be gone by 2030,
  • 67% of CEOS believe technology will create more value than human capital,
  • 44% of leaders believe automation will make people largely irrelevant,
  • Workers are scared too: 53% believe people may become irrelevant and 50% believe that they will need new jobs. 

Management and employees are both uncertain. As a result, fear, anxiety, depression, lost productivity and disengagement pervades the workplace.

But to bridge this gap, move out of uncertainty, and create engaged workplaces and workers of the future, you must put your focus where it belongs. On the people. People need people and people need to matter. 

Reports from Korn Ferry, McKinsey, Josh Bersin, and The World Economic Forum show that Emotional Intelligence and effective human interaction are the real skills necessary to win in the workplace and create engagement.  Human interaction will become even more important to succeed, connect, provide value and grow businesses.  And it is multifaceted. It includes purpose, meaning and an integrated and diverse approach to work, community, and family. Humans want connection and meaning. They want contribution and impact. They want to feel seen and heard. They want immediate feedback. But most of all, they want to matter.

The Hacks, Tools and Solution:

Let’s create that connection and bridge the gap between the Worker of the Future and the Future of Work. After coaching over 20,000 Millennials, Gen Zs and their managers, we’ve developed a simple 3-hack system that will help solve the workplace disengagement crisis. This system can be rapidly implemented today to shift the way you lead and positively impact your company’s bottom line.

Hack #1: Turn Your Workplace Upside Down:

Learn what your most critical audience (your workforce) needs from you to create high performance. Ask them questions on an individual level, create focus groups, and send out surveys. Get a sense of what they need and value in order to meet them where they are and utilize them in creating a culture that defines the Future of Work within your company. Safety will be added to this list for sure so let’s have the dialogue: what do workers need from you to feel safe and protected? Utilize our tools like The Platinum Rule, “WIFThem,” and our signature communication tool, “GPS” –  Gratitude, Permission, Shared Experience

Hack #2: Create Meaningful Work:

Many studies demonstrate that meaning, purpose, impact and contribution are the most important things that workers of all ages want from the workplace. To create meaningful work, make sure your organization is addressing these two key things for each of your employees: providing opportunities for learning/growing and creating a sense of community. This is the way you will ensure the work feels meaningful, no matter the task. Now more than ever when we have been pushed to a new normal , which includes fear of survival, meaning matters.

Hack #3: Reskill from the Inside/Out on Emotional Intelligence:

According to the World Economic Forum, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is key for 2020 and beyond. Additional research, including the 2017-2020 Bersin reports on HR and talent predictions support this. To help your people develop a higher EQ, focus first on finding a way to connect with them. Then, create a safe workplace and encourage them to be vulnerable in sharing the truth of who they are. Finally, mentor and coach them in the moment, not during a quarterly or annual performance review. Today’s workplace moves fast and tomorrow’s workplace, even faster. You need to help your people grow and develop new skills for success now. Particularly, are they capable of being managed remotely, engaged through self-motivation, trusted by coworkers, and still learning and growing?  What systems will you put into place to help them?

Doing the work and committing to using this 3-hack system MATTERS. If we don’t put our focus in the right place (on the Worker of the Future) there won’t BE a Workplace of the Future. Because without the people, none of it really matters. So start solving the disengagement crisis in your organization today! Use our system, check out our free tools, and read the rest of our blog for even more implementation tips. Reach out to us to learn how we can support you in creating lasting change through our high-performance coaching, keynote speeches, and workshops.

4 Reasons Why You Need to Care About Creating the Worker of the Future Right Now

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only constant in life is change.” While I’m no philosopher, he certainly got that right! Just compare our world now to Heraclitus’s time. Hell, a lot has changed since I entered the workforce – and I’m no dinosaur!

So if we know the world is constantly changing and will continue to change, why do we keep putting things off for the future? Why do we keep telling ourselves that when the workplace of the future finally “arrives” we’ll just figure out how to adapt? Why are we not prioritizing developing our employees, our companies, and ourselves NOW so that we can make sure we WIN in the future?

As we’ve been talking about the worker of the future, you might have thought to yourself, “Okay Dan, I hear you, but why I should care about this right now? What’s so different about this moment in time that I should drop everything and shift my focus to worrying about a future that’s not even here yet?”

For starters, you don’t need to worry about the future if you’ve done the work to prepare for it. It’s only those who haven’t put in the time that need to worry! But to answer that question, to discuss why it’s so important that we care about creating the worker of the future right now, we have to look at a few things that are true about this moment in time:

Key Industries Are Being Disrupted

My wife is a Realtor and a damn good one at that. But whether real estate agents will eventually go the way of travel agents and she’ll be out of a job is up for debate.

“It’s a people industry,” they argue. “Nobody wants to buy a house from a computer.”

Well most people never imagined we’d push a button to have a perfect stranger come pick us up at our house and look where we are now.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Where there’s a need, or where we can create a need, there’s opportunity. Every industry has its own pockets of opportunity that could lead to significant disruption and choosing to ignore this fact is the equivalent of burying your head in the sand and pretending like it isn’t happening.

Every industry that hasn’t already been disrupted is ripe for future disruption. And the industries that have already changed will continue to do so. Speaking of Uber, I recently learned that in response to companies like Bird and Lime offering alternative, on-demand transportation options, Uber has also gotten into the scooter-sharing game. It acquired Jump Bikes in April 2018 to the tune of $200 million. Because even the disruptors can become disrupted!

We’re More Connected Than Ever Before

A 2015 study by Bank of America found that 71% of smartphone owners sleep with their phones either on their nightstand, in their bed, or in their hand. That figure is likely even higher now! The fact is, for the majority of us the phone screen is the last thing we see at night and the first thing we see in the morning.

And do you know what’s on those phone screens? Apps. Facebook. Instagram. Gmail. What’s App. Slack. All these things that allow us to be connected to others 24/7/365. This connectivity has not only dramatically changed our personal relationships, it’s changed the way we work.

Walk into an office six or seven years ago and it wasn’t unusual to find that most companies had a policy about their employees having their cellphones on their desks. Now? Bosses are sending their employees Instagram DMs and expecting them to respond if they’re on the clock. Or not on the clock because the lines between where our workday begins and ends have become incredibly blurred.

Used to be that every business had the same forty-hour workweek to get things done in. But now that we are all connected at the push of a button, it is always game ON.

The Speed of Life and the Speed at Which Things Change Has Increased

You’ve probably heard this old riddle before:

“There is a pond with lily pads in it. Every day the amount of lily pads in the pond doubles. If on the 30thday, the pond is completely full, on which day was it half full?”

The answer? The 29thday.

Just like those lily pads, the rate of change has been growing exponentially for hundreds of years and we are now at that 29thday! Earlier I mentioned how much had things had change since the time of the ancient Greeks. Now think about this: the first personal computer arrived in 1975, the Internet in 1991. Now we carry an Internet-connected computer around in our back pocket and use it to share cat videos with our friends on Facebook. How’s that for rapid change?

This culture of disruption and the increased connectivity between each and every one of us means that the speed at which things change will only increase. If you can’t keep up and your competitors can, you will lose. Period.

Trust is More Important Than Ever

It only takes one tweet with a screenshot of a supposedly private conversation to go viral and ignite a PR firestorm for your company. If we do not do right by our customers and convince them at every opportunity (and I mean every opportunity) that they can trust us, we open ourselves up to enormous amounts of risk. Your customers have a choice about who they buy from and who they work with. Companies do not have the power anymore. Consumers have all the power.

But it’s also not just about the customer. Employees want to work for companies that are real with them. And if you don’t deliver, they will find another company who can. It’s that simple. So you better pay attention and give them what they want because employees matter. Yes, you need the customer to buy from you, but it’s the employee that handles the customer and delivers the experience that gets the customer to come back and tell all their friends.

So now do you agree that it’s time we shift our focus to attracting, creating, and retaining the worker of the future? Because if you don’t, then whatever you’re prioritizing instead isn’t going to matter in five or ten years. Your company will struggle and probably get crushed by the competition who figured this out and made it a priority.

 

Need help? Sign up for your free coaching call and let’s figure out how to help you and your team win!