Categories
Business Performance hybrid office

The Hand Over And Hand Backs Process

Is Your Company In Need To Introduce Formal Hand Backs?

The handover hand back approach works for agencies, consultancies and businesses of any size. 

When you are looking for small optimisations in strategy and consultancy work, you have a few ways to address these, list a number of common problems and tackle them and stack rank the importance or you can go through common occurrences within businesses and optimise frustrations. 

One of the givens within any business is annual leave and long periods where colleagues have to cover each other’s work and ensure projects keep moving and in some cases complete complicated campaigns or deliver on projects and product launches. 

Handovers Win First Battle In The War

One of the best optimisations with holidays (vacations) is the ability to write detailed handovers, one of the common mistakes companies make is not creating a hand back.

This is where your colleagues write a one-pager (or more detailed if required) to enable the returner to understand where they are with their projects and what is critical to know. 

Handover Template

A handover requires the work, the status and the action required and typically the deadline. I personally am better with tables than a long list of bullet points and most businesses run off spreadsheets, therefore I recommend a simple table (example below) – this works best on a wiki or knowledge centre vs a document or a chain of emails. 

Work / Task New OwnerStatus Action RequiredDeadline Date 

The Hand Back Template

The hand back is important for more than just annual leave, maternity and parental leave, bereavement and sickness leave, especially if there was no formal handover a hand back often is going to set up your colleague up to re-onboard and pick up and enable them to pick up work more easily. 

As you can see the hand back template is slightly different, it is important you detail the steps (actions) taken and clearly call out the delivery date.

The important factor especially for long campaigns or project deliveries is to include the report URL and the performance metrics. 

Work / Task OwnerStatus Actions Taken Delivered Date (including report URL)

With the sheer amount of emails, instant message chats and threads, many colleagues struggle with coming back and getting through the number of updates let alone being able to cut through and understand what has happened and the performance metrics associated. 

In the hybrid work world, there will be fewer face to face meetings and many of the updates can be (and should be) asynchronous – consider how you integrated better templates that are more actionable within your organisation to set up colleagues and teams for success – this is ultimately what many companies are missing from building their intentional company culture

Categories
hybrid office

How Are You Reducing Mirror Anxiety?

Recently Stanford researchers coined the phrase mirror anxiety, it is the concerns and anxiety that has surfaced in looking at ourselves on video conferencing all day. 

In the upcoming hybrid work world, do we need to be staring at a screen and part of multiple synchronous video-based conversations to make decisions, to gain consensus and to develop out ideas? 

Is this something you truly believe is right for your business? 

Or is there a better way of addressing this? 

Although this seems to be individual concerns, this is having negative company culture issues.

Categories
hybrid office

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella: The Hybrid Work Paradox

Recently the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella called out hybrid work, and the challenge in getting it right. 

This is a challenge almost every organisation is battling with, especially with almost every country and US state having a different approach to COVID and handling different and ever-evolving scenarios. 

Satya Nadella was quoted as suggesting
“Short-term productivity goes up, long-term creativity goes down”. 

With quant data and qual data, many CEO’s and business are reporting and experiencing similar challenges. 

Learn Lessons From Remote Organisations 

Where many organisations are getting this wrong, is by not discussing how remote companies have had successes, companies like Gitlab (Gitlab all remote guide is brilliant) and Automattic (the Automattic podcast is great) have been successful in operating in a fully remote fashion. 

Learning from what makes great hybrid and remote leaders is going to help improve your operations and organisations health. 

There Is No One Size Fits All

Satya isn’t the only CEO suggesting the same, Facebook, Apple, Dropbox and Slack have all come at Hybrid from different perspectives with different solutions and ever-changing return to the office dates. 

Google’s is it ok to manifesto went viral across LinkedIn and has helped some businesses rethink how they approach this evolving working situation.

No one company has nailed hybrid but many are making significant progress.

The Study Was Too Early 

The study that was undertaken with Microsoft employees is a great read, however, the study was from the first six months of the virus and does not account for 2021 data and the way we have adapted and changed over the last 12 months. 

Large Company Battles

Companies the size of Microsoft have a number of battles to fight, the first is safety, the second is productivity and the third is keeping shareholders happy. 

Keeping staff happy, engaged and helping to balance work demands, home demands and burnout is something every business has to be proactively managing and addressing. 

Ensuring teams are productive while away from the office (or working in hybrid) is challenging almost every team member, manager and company leader. 

Shareholders are always looking for returns, getting the most of the staff is one of the main concerns for any CEO, especially for companies the size of Microsoft. 

The way we work in office environments has changed: 

  • The demand for video calls increased, 
  • The demand for more meetings increased, 
  • The way we continue meeting conversations has evolved, 
  • “The water cooler moments” decreased 
  • The way we keep connected has changed and the great unfollow has started to happen

The intentional and deliberate way we address these changing working methods has fallen behind and should be in the most pressing items to address as any leader of any business. 

One of our core recommendations is the requirement for a culture community manager for those companies with over 30 people. 

So is Satya right or wrong about Hybrid?

Unfortunately, in this situation, every company is different, every company requires their own approach, however with hybrid being deliberate and intentional with the 3C’s: Connection, Communication and Collaboration is key to winning.

Getting Hybrid Right

The future of the required for a large office (or series of offices) is under review, the long term future of work is no doubt hybrid, creating a highly engaged, connected and productive workforce is going to be something we learn to develop and “perfect” over time. 

Are You Struggling With Hybrid? Here Is Our Free Guide 

Here are other great resources to help you with hybrid: 

Categories
Business Performance

Fanclubs, Community, Tribes, Herds

I recently presented a presentation for the technology platform Funraisin at their digital giving summit.

The presentation was called:

Fanclubs, Community, Tribes, Herds, The Next Generation Of People Powered Businesses.

The presentation helps to guide businesses and charities to understand:

  • The next phase of business
  • The formation of people around core ideas and believes
  • Why fanclubs, community, tribes and herds are going to be shaping how we interact and support businesses
    &
  • How to then proactively shape how we connect to other people and businesses.

The Full Presentation

If you attended the event and would like to rewatch the video click here.

Categories
Business Performance

The Focus 5×5 Quarterly Matrix

There has been a huge shift towards automated dashboards over the last five years. 

Dashboards have been placed on TV sets across the office, set up on secondary monitors, shortcuts on toolbars and shared across businesses to understand the health of a business and being able to understand what has happening or happening now. 

Dashboards can have huge upsides, however, there are downsides. 

Automated without insights are just numbers on a screen. Dashboards are rarely in real-time and are often difficult for many businesses to surface and display the most important information to staff as the data is not available to query, stored in different datastores and regularly without commentary and insights blindly suggests performance is good, bad or ugly. 

Dashboards can be positive, they can help the staff to follow the company compass, it can help to shift private data to open and transparent data and assists to shift key units from defaulting to siloed to being open and having discussions around workstreams, roadmaps and campaigns.  

Enter The Focus 5×5 

In the business world, we can often joke about the importance of a 2×2 matrix, we can make incredibly important decisions based on the positioning on a 2×2. 

The simpler the information, the simpler the format, the more successful information becomes within businesses.  

The focus 5×5 matrix are the five most important indicators of performance with  five lines to help everyone understand which campaigns are being worked on, the five biggest internal and external threats, the five product enhancements that are being made to your own product, the five ideas submitted and under review by the business and the five goals you have   

Strategy  

  • Strategic campaigns the company is working on 
  • Be explicit on owners, deadlines and what needles these will move. 

Issues 

  • The 5 biggest issues we are facing (risks) 
  • Be explicit on what it impacts, who will be looking after these issues and when you will feedback and update 

Roadmap  

  • The 5 product roadmap rolling out this quarter 
  • Be explicit on deadlines, owners and when will be released to customers. 

Ideas  

  • The 5 ideas submitted by the team to improve problems. 
  • Be explicit on who’s idea these were, when they will be re-reviewed when they will have an expected build date. 

Goals 

  • The 5 Goals we have this quarter 
  • Be explicit about what the goals are, who owns the goals and when you are expecting impact. 

You should have accountability on the 5×5 by including when the Focus 5×5 matrix was last updated and who last updated the matrix. 

Must be 

  • Linked to company goals presentation/documentation and be updated weekly (one owner higher recommended) 
  • Open to all (members of staff) 
  • Open for comments and questions (from members of staff) 
  • Linked to the decision document – help the wider business understand how the most important decisions were made 
  • Linked to the previous quarterly matrixes & quarterly business review – this is important for new joiners to have a record and comparison to last quarters information 
  • Linked to strategic plans (1 year is action, 3 years is planning, 5 years is thinking on an annual review cycle): 
    • STP – the short term plan – 1 year ahead 
    • MTP – the mid-term plan – 3 years ahead 
    • LTP – from 5+ year plan 

If you have a company-wide meeting weekly like a weekly all-hands standup, this is a great format to run through and review, with departments feeding in updates and most important changes to their departments and disciplines. 

3 Areas To Consider Including: 

  1. If you could like to include your mission and vision headline statements your 5×5 can include these as headings 
  2. If you would like to include five behaviours that make your company culture successful, consider including them as a dividing header 
  3. If you would like to call out department of the week or unsung hero of the week, you can add these in weekly. 

Rolling out a new way of working and providing insights can take four to six weeks of planning, creation and introducing a new habit for the company leaders to follow, it is however an important tried and tested formula to improve your internal communication and performance.

Important Related Resources To Improve Company Performance

Categories
Anonymous Career Advice hybrid office

How To Stay Visible When Working Remotely?

Dear Focus, how do I stay visible when working remotely? 

Working remotely or in some cases hybrid has become a challenge for some team members to appear to be visible. 

It is actually a series of different questions I have received via the anonymous career advice form in recent weeks. 

As recommended in is playing the game essential advice article, there are many times you will need to be available, be part of things you do not naturally lean toward, times where what you need to do is be more proactively and importantly managers, bring those up around you. 

Delivery Presence, Deadlines, Internal Networking are the key categories for you to consider when considering how you are visible, and importantly, how you might manage and tackle this as a leader of the team.

Delivery 

  • Delivering on a project, a campaign or a product release is the best way of staying visible, being able to take your opportunity is always the best way of staying visible and demonstrating you were part of important part of work. 
  • Be The Sender: Sending out the message that you or your team have delivered on a large project or campaign is a great way to be seen and a way to be celebrated or supported. 
  • Be part of fixing the problems. One problem two solutions is a great framework to use and introduce
  • Celebrating the metrics vs just celebrating delivering is always favoured within mature businesses so keeping this in mind is impartive.
  • If you and your manager are not having regular check-ins but you would like to ensure they know what you are ‘doing, done and achieved’ I recommend a weekly email to your manager with (a) what is working, (b) what are you working on and (c) what has been delivered and (d) anything to be cautious of, trends within the industry or larger themes you should be on top of.  
  • Managers: Be able to congratulate and bring your team members to present and send the email or company-wide slack update is essential. If you are a c-suite exec or on the management team always bring your team members to discuss the delivery and early numbers in leadership meetings, help to prep them and bring them along the journey 

Presence 

  • Build out your presence while online meeting, offer to take notes, chair the meeting or own the workstream. This is more work, however, with structure and operational excellence this will help to stay visible and build your presence around the company 
  • Concentrate in the meetings and taking part of meetings, always be prepared to add value or unique insights (versus adding more opinions) and contribute to the follow-up conversations or offer to lead new projects.  
  • Managers: Asking for your team feedback and for someone’s expert opinion particularly when they prefer to be asked is essential, it will help you bring on others presence and their visibility but also helps the team to know their presence and their expertise is vital for the companies success. 

Deadlines 

  • Something many have allowed to slip while working remotely is deadlines slipping or not hitting deadlines.
    Hitting deadlines will always be essential and be vital for a companies success. Hitting a deadline is often the difference between being seen, respected and having positive mindshare vs having negative mindshare and having trust.
  • If/when possible create the GANTT or the roadmap and be the point of contact on the deadlines and deliverables 
  • Be deliberate in communications, not over-communicating, update colleagues on the progress of the project and how you are progressing against deadlines. On many occasions, this is happening however remember internally marketing is as important as externally marketing and applies to projects of all sizes 
  • Managers: Setting realistic deadlines – this is the flip side when a manager of a team or business leader, very often setting aggressive deadlines actually hinders your teams chance of being visible and hitting targets and creating a negative 

Developing Your Internal Network 

  • Build out connections – something when working remotely or in the hybrid workforce is you tend to neglect networking and building internal and external connections, actively work on networking and connecting with colleagues within the organisation and have quick coffees and be available to help colleagues if they need someone to assist them or be a support network  
  • One to one’s are always important – ensure you are keeping up with your one to ones, where possible look to meet with your bosses boss in skip meetings. This is often invaluable and creating a connection with your bosses boss or your team’s team creates better connections 
  • Virtual lunches – this might sound like more work and your time however one of the missing parts of connections when remote or hybrid is eating together and drinking together. I recommend making the same lunch and having 30 minutes where you just talk or connect over something trivial, a tool like donut (slack tool) will help you with virtual meetings and randomised meetings, you scheduling this and working with colleagues will be important 
    Here are a number of hybrid work tools and apps to help you become successful in hybrid.  
  • Hybird lunches – sometimes teams go to lunch when in the office and those who are not there will miss out, where possible consider how you might integrate those working remotely or organise a day and time where colleagues can come together and eat or allow those remote to be present in the hybrid lunch. This also works offsite too. 
  • Network events – something a handful of mart companies have created is hybrid and remote network events with tools like hopin and riverside and connect colleagues in break out rooms, with Q&A between departments and presentations on important projects and successful campaigns and releases 
  • Managers consider building out management pods to connect you and your management team more closely 
  • Managers: It is important to remember remote offsites and remote sessions are not always the silver bullet to bring teams together 

There are many more brilliant pieces of advice for managers and leaders in the fixing the broken world of work podcast

Best of luck and keep moving forward.

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Read the future of work keynote from the end of June to learn more about how the world of work is changing and how to be successful in the hybrid future.

Categories
hybrid office Leadership

What Makes Great Remote and Hybrid Leaders

The burning 2021 and beyond question to answer:

What makes a great remote and hybrid work leader?

In the move to hybrid work, we have seen many reports suggest hybrid and remote work is going to hinder performance, we will see company culture become toxic, it will slow the development of younger members of staff and we will encounter higher staff turnover while having to completely change the way things are done. 

With all of these points reported, there are very few resources that offer advice on what actually makes a great remote manager and a great hybrid leader. 

Here are the five categories and qualities that make brilliant distributed and hybird leaders:  

Connection  

  • Helps to guide and direct teams
  • Connects work together with teams  
  • Champions the team and their connections 
  • Builds better internal networks – constantly looking to improve the nodes between the department’s networks particularly cross-functionally. 

Awareness  

  • Keeps the heartbeat going throughout the business 
  • Ensure work progresses at the right pace 
  • Sits across workstreams and keep ahead of the potential issues or jumps into action when required 
  • Check’s in and check’s out at the right amount per team member 
  • Understands when there will be a requirement for personnel change, to bring in the right external consultancy or add or replace the supporting agency
  • Ability to be aware if a Team A and Team B mentality starts within the business and removes any issues
  • Helps to monitors how people are feeling alongside their performance 

Organisational  

  • Helps to set the right priorities 
  • Helps to realign or prioritise where required 
  • Helps to shape deadlines and is available for when their teams need guidance 
  • At hand to review the team’s task list when struggling or hit a large bump in the road(map) 
  • Coaching and mentoring those around them pairing awareness and connection 
  • Understands when it is time to train team members in their new environment or when it might be time to let their team member go for performance issues 

Productive

  • Applies EQ and IQ and understands when to apply 
  • Is happy in doing (delivering the tactics) and thinking long term (keeping up with the company-wide strategy) 
  • Is alongside the team in getting things done and helping to set the right goals 
  • Knows when to step away or step up for their team and the project they are delivering 

Communication  

  • Good writer, detailed and deliberate comms in an asynchronous world helps  improve the flow of communication and wins in the hybrid workforce 
  • Understands when to send a detailed update, when to create a short, articulate deck or to speak to those people “face to face”
  • Understands that a quick self-recorded video will land better and have more  impact with their team members than rely on a long email chain 
  • Can understand when a video meeting (zoom, teams etc) is going to be important vs an audio-only meeting or a walk and talk meeting 

These five categories will help guide you and your management team to build out better teams and improving managers in the hybrid and remote work world. 

Two Invaluable Resources 

Categories
hybrid office

Hybrid Work Tools & Hybrid Software Guide

A hybrid work set-up can seem daunting and appear challenging for many organisations making the switch to the hybrid office.

With Focus’ commitment to helping to fix the broken world of work, the following tools have been tried and tested with Focus customers and coaching clients and come recommended with clients requiring help with their move Hybrid.

Read Our Free 35 Page Comprehensive Guide:
The Hybrid Work Guide

The tools are alternatives to what you and your teams may have used or the best software available on the market. 

It is important to understand with Hybrid work tools and hybrid software there are minimum requirements including:

  • Being cloud-based aka usable anywhere 
  • Many third-party integrations, reducing the need for multiple tabs to be open at once and working on many apps is not required 
  • Simplicity as standard: Easy to learn for all users and does not require expensive onboarding is essential 
  • A need to work across all browsers and devices is a minimum 
  • Multiplayer as standard (show who is editing and where and being able to have conversations within the app is important 
  • Keyboard commands and quick commands lines to reduce user friction 
  • Quick and auto save and tracking edits is essential 
Categories
hybrid office

The Hybrid Work & Hybrid Meetings Guide

The Hybrid Work & Hybrid Meetings Guide

Guide By FocusDanny Denhard – Released July 2021. Updated September 2021.

Guide Audience: C-Suite, Founders, HR Leads, Operation Directors & Digital Transformation leads

The Intro 

We are about to embark on a brand new journey, a hybrid journey. 

July 1st was a landmark date for the business epicentre New York, July 19th is a landmark date in England, many other businesses in Asia, Australia and New Zealand have moved back to the office and are working in the hybrid model. 

The tech giants have suggested 3 days a week, Apple’s 3 days a week in the office has come under fire from their employees, Google has experienced similar feedback and smaller companies are wrestling with how to make hybrid office work for their business.  

Other large brands have stayed consistent in their messaging Facebook and Salesforce have been clear that Hybrid is in their long term future and Slack have moved to a digital first mentality. 

While Dropbox has changed the language they use, their office (now named  Studio’s) setup to encourage more collaboration and deliberate hours.  

We are re-entering the world of work where businesses will be experiencing the previously hotly discussed topics such as: 

  • Who ate my avocado? 
  • Are you using my cup? 
  • Did you really book this meeting room? 
  • And are you using my iPhone charger?   

Will businesses be prepared to handle these micro-moments where these silly annoyances didn’t happen for so long. 

Throughout this Hybrid workplace guide, you will see Hybrid Tip: to help you act upon important lessons and learnings from other businesses to help you and your business win Hybrid.  

Many businesses will look for the ‘magic moment’ in the new Hybrid set-up, it is important you celebrate small wins along the journey and micro moments as a company, this will ensure you make a celebrated and smoother transition to Hybrid.
The magic moment will be a journey, however, you have likely made good progress while in lockdown/quarantine periods.  

Many businesses who made the Hybrid switch pre-2020 celebrated small wins such as product releases, Hybrid offsites and Hybrid training sessions that develop teams collectiveness and delivery. 

Categories
Business Performance hybrid office

Dropbox Studios Vs Traditional Office Set Up

Dropbox: The Virtual First Plan – Will It Work?

From removing the word hybrid to changing offices to studio’s, Dropbox has made a deliberate act in changing their future of work.

How: 

  • Reshaping their offices and renaming to Studios 
  • Why? 
    • 1/ Building more space 
    • 2/ Offering more freedom
  • Consider interpersonal connection around meeting spaces 
  • Offering one employee experience not two to ensure everyone has a fair career trajectory and remove any inequalities 
  • Shaping employees days helped meeting time vs deep work time, individual work vs teamwork and the need for collaboration.