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.
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.
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.
Very often you have hidden leaders who you and most management and leadership teams do not understand their true value or the real role they play within your organisation.
Today I want to introduce you to The Catalyst, they are the person in a team or a department that seems to be the colleague who kickstarts projects and has the foot on the accelerator regardless of their title and their experience level.
The Catalyst is often found in teams that have too many thinkers and not enough delivers, they move projects and campaigns along when they see them falter or they understand the importance of the project and push the delivery forward effortlessly.
The Catalyst is often deliberate, often sniper-like in the way they communicate and they do not always look for or crave the limelight or being called out.
The Catalyst is an essential but commonly the misunderstood part of your company culture and the company’s subculture. Understanding how The Catalyst sets the standards and behaviours of the project is essential. Collaborating and developing their talents is imperative.
The Catalyst typically exists in every business, however, they are not often given the props they deserve or given the opportunity to grow as they are seen as a do-er. This is a big and common mistake.
Some catalysts prefer to be under the radar but want to progress and feel they are in a good place to progress their career.
Other catalysts are stuck under the wrong manager or blinded department lead to progress and they often leave the business because of this, if you do not have someone who springs to mind straight away you might be part of the developmental problem.
Regular skip meetings and reviewing your managers reviews are critical ways to understand your teams and departments and understand how you can find hidden leaders, secret weapons and catalysts.
This week speak to your management team and uncover your catalysts, equally as important; if you are a catalyst arrange a conversation with your manager or department lead and ask to be considered to be coached or mentored by an internal or external coach and ask if there are fast track opportunities internally.
Over the past couple of months, I have been working with a number of businesses that are in a good position to grow and invest in their staff and ramp up hiring again.
I have been lucky to interview a number of great candidates virtually, it was something I experienced before I created Focus, as a c-suite candidate you have a large number of rounds of interviews, with numerous committees, the experience was long, complicated and challenging for both parties, especially with time zones.
Although I have not perfected the art yet, here are a few ways you can improve virtual interviews and hybrid hiring to improve the experience for both you and your candidates.
Dear leaders, I trust you had a good week and ready for the week ahead.
Some of the most popular leaders letters are me sharing my way of work and the frameworks I use.
So here is a select series of my operational ways of work:
Split out your browsers, inboxes and messages
One for work
Home for another.
Helps you prioritise, maintain and apply prioritisation.
Take and keep notes but have a system
I am a huge note taker and keeping a record, especially of micro-moments, select one way of taking notes, often in person pen and pad works best, type up (or scan and copy text),
Categorise and link to other notes. Think of the 1:2:1’s, the department notes you have to keep and actions you have given and the ideas you have on an ongoing basis. These are all-important to take notes, check in on progress and revisit.
Revisit the Decision documents, company typically only work when ‘centralised knowledge’ is kept, updated and shared.
No pointless or boring meeting rules
Meetings always have an owner – clearly called out and run by said owner
No attendees leave a well organised intentional meeting – be intentional and explain why they should attend and what their role is in this meeting and moving forward
Always have a no leaving rule (no leaving early or no leaving because you were invited to a bad or unorganised) – roll this out company-wide so it sticks
Meeting feedback is a gift – offer an open document for feedback. Many businesses can operate with silent start meetings, meaning they have centralised documents and share their thoughts and feedback and then discuss with one chair who updates and then the notes are reviewed and discussed.
Have work statuses. The ones that typically work for my clients:
In a meeting
Deep work aka Do not disturb
Ensure everyone understands what to use and when. This is not checking up on colleagues, this is to help understand how to support colleagues time and energy
Even if the most senior management team members or the HiPPO contacts you, follow the statuses to manage expectations.
Clear Internal Comms
IM channels for quick updates not long threads
Stories style video updates work, even think about replacing in-person standup (Work in progress meetings definitely can be replaced and shortened)
Documents for more in-depth deliberate conversations
One dedicated project management tool (Notion, Monday or confluence all work well)
Email for external comms and important internal updates
Good luck rolling these out, happily get in touch if you have any questions around these points.
As I have mentioned before, I love coaching and mentoring. I currently have two great coaching clients and it is the highlight of my week whenever we sit down, zoom and run through coaching sessions.
Something that came up in a recent mentoring session was being conditioned by a previous experience and it having a lasting impact on their career.
I for one know I have many battle wounds and mental scars from previous workplaces and I am open to telling many of these to help to share and show we all have them and let them know being vulnerable is part of the process with us.
Something many managers forget is the professional injuries our team members suffer or have suffered at previous companies or under previous management. Truth be told some might be impacted by our management styles today.
Yes, being busy is a part of it, an (important) however, not being close enough to the team and choosing to be a coach or mentor vs not having to be specific people’s manager is not taught and rarely discussed in management books or courses.
Like athletes, injuries take a tremendous toll on us, physically and mentally and are often triggered by repeat events or similar results from a similar approach.
This is one of the reasons why I recommend more coaches and mentors than managers. Coaches improve performance and recognise weakness that needs more personalised coaching. Managers rarely have the skillset for this.
We need rehab, we need to retrain and strengthen, what is different in the workplace especially large corporations, this is often left to the individual to work through, professional assistance and training is not promoted or recommended by managers or management teams.
It is the time to balance this, help your team or department members seek professional help or self start and find a coach or mentor to help work on their injuries and improve our reliance and our strength. Training budgets should be used to train and retrain.
I highly recommend updating your leadership principles to include developing your colleagues with coaching and rehab.
This week consider how you can take forward your colleague’s professional injuries or scars and look to offer a chance for them to rehabilitate. It doesn’t have to cost a huge amount of money or time but the benefit for you, your colleague and the business in a short period of time will be huge.
Have a great week and take the time to list of a couple of your own injuries and how you might rehab them. Professional 1-2-1 coaching is only an email away.