This week I was reminded of one of the more challenging roles I have held and some of you will be about to face.
I call it The Rebuilder.
The rebuilder is a manager who is taking over an existing team or department and their job to truly complete is: To rebuild the team, rebuild the foundations, rebuild the confidence of the team or department and bring back performance throughout the team.
I recently was a keynote speaker for the online Future Of Work Conference.
The future of work presentation was created to help businesses consider the future of work and the future of their business.
This presentation should act as a guide and inspiration on how to rethink your current approach and lead your company and lean into the future.
As a huge advocate for hybrid work and the hybrid office (aka an arena), many businesses are requesting their staff to return to the office at least 3 days a week (including Apple & Google), with this in mind, the presentation enables any version of hybrid to work.
Today I want to introduce you to a concept that many people have not really considered.
I call it the unfollowaction.
We are used to having to actively ‘follow’ colleagues, from a small number of colleagues to hundreds of colleagues in larger businesses.
You follow their work, you receive their emails, their reply all’s, you are pinged on internal chat tools, in countless work meetings with them, notified of their updates on your project management tool and in some cases, you follow their career and help to mentor and coach them
The unfollow action or in many cases, an unfollow/mute button is where colleagues actively choose to:
unfollow the mission they are set
and unfollow business leaders
This action goes unspoken but happens daily.
In 2020 into 2021 we saw a huge unfollow materialise, this as much by the situation and environment as much not being in proximity of people in the office, you had fewer interactions with acquaintances and fewer interactions with colleagues.
This all led to passive unfollows, this is not always a negative series of events, it does mean there is a conscious unfollow and unconscious unfollow.
In the coming months, we will likely see an increase (due to offices being reopened safely) in connections, this does not mean there will be more follows, it could mean there are more unfollows as the less relevant or the more frustrating colleagues become it can all lead to more unfollows.
Not being as close to the outer circle, the ‘People in the office’ will lead to fewer follows, it is up to you to ensure ‘people in the office’ are kept in the loop for important updates, important insights are shared and when required aware of their interaction levels with you.
The question for you to answer in the coming weeks is the unfollow a positive or a negative for your team, department or company? How do you keep buy-in into your leadership, into goals and into your colleagues and team?
Have a great week and consider how the unfollow might happen within your business.
Will a strict return to the office help my team get back together?
Dear Focus, Our office has been told they are expected back in the office in the coming weeks. My department’s performance has dropped and you can see cracks appear. Do you think this will help our department get back to performing?
This is going to be a big question for many department heads and leads in the coming months.
If there is a performance issue it’s likely not simply down to being remote and video call fatigue that we have all heard about in the last six months.
It’s likely down to many more factors of work:
The general blurring of work and life,
Relationships falling apart
A change to furlough or headcount
A team subculture that requires more than a bandaid or an away day.
Here are just a few categories of questions to ask yourself and your team around what the causes are and answer collectively.
Has there been a breakdown in communications?
Has there been a project, product or campaign that has failed?
Has there been turnover or lack of refill of headcount?
Have you ever had a coffee break in an office and observed how people gravitate to each other.
Or when one colleague speaks many others stop what they are doing and listen?
Or have you been in a meeting and there is no agreement and then someone speaks up and things fall into place or the lightbulb seems to go off collectively?
Another scenario you may have witnessed is when something has failed to gain pick up and someone else simply suggests the same thing in slightly different words and manages to push it ahead. Yes, by their gravitas.
I have had a number of conversations with business owners, founders and leaders about how they gain more cut through with their teams and how to be more open, more transparent, help everyone understand what they are trying to achieve.
There are a number of businesses that offer AMA’s, I am a huge advocate of AMA’s and opening up, there are many ways you can gain more feedback and answer questions, but enabling open conversations and allowing people to relax podcasts are often the way many professionals open up. So much so, there are specific media training courses covering podcasts alongside TV interviews.