With no near-term end in sight for social distancing and working from home, I’m experimenting with new ways to empower my team and make sure crucial issues get the attention they need. One way I’m doing that is by having two types of meetings with my teammates on a regular basis.
At the start of each day we “gather” (over Slack) for 15 minutes to discuss two questions:
- What’s got your attention for the day?
- What (if any) help do you need getting to the things on your plate?
This allows me to know what each person on my team is focused on and how I can help them advance their daily priorities. Doing this together as a team also surfaces opportunities for us to work together – and ensures we aren’t working at cross purposes while we can’t simply turn around and talk with each other.
In addition to these daily ‘stand up’ meetings as a team, weekly I am getting together with each member of my team one-on-one for half an hour to discuss three areas:
- What’s the most important thing you are up to in the coming week and how (if at all) can I help?
- What longer-term things are on your mind and how (if at all) can I help you move those forward?
- What questions do you have about our team and beyond that you want to talk about?
These questions allow me to go deeper with my team and to talk about big-picture concerns like future projects and career development that don’t fit neatly into tactical day-to-day discussions.
Right now so much of the world feels like a blur; with no clear timelines for when we will get back to the office and face-to-face meetings as a team or with our clients – not to mention massive social upheaval and a global pandemic – I’m looking for ways to provide some helpful anchoring for my team so we can be focused and productive. A few basic questions and a couple of regular meetings can’t solve all these problems of course because in truth it’s not that simple.