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Leaders Letter 34 – How To Review & Critique Forced Working From Home

1st February 2021

Dear Leaders, welcome to February.

As it is the first week of February I wanted to write to you with something that has come up in many conversations with a variety of managers and leaders.

The first year of working remotely and how you might address this milestone in form of a retrospective.

Retro’s don’t have to be super long sessions or broken down into complicated workshop sessions, retros do, however, require a deliberate plan and an outline ahead of the hour session and help to provide context points of the remote world of work we entered into March 2020.

Important Points To Keep In Mind

  • It is important to note it was forced worked from home and everyone’s office is now different. Each country or state has seen a different approach, so has impacted everyone differently.
  • The remote office dynamics are very different from in the HQ dynamics and many people have struggled to adapt to working from home (image below to help demonstrate this)
  • Many colleagues have not had the chance to be their best work self and to many, this has frustrated them – this is individual and as a leader, it is important to help where possible.
  • There is a constant demand to perform in remote presentations, so there are more pressures and less opportunity to add your opinion and insights when who shouts loudest is often heard most.
  • There has also been a demand in knowing how to act and deliver on a live video, why? There are constant micro-reviews of you, your background, the noise, the echos from no headphones and the interruptions we all dislike, and to the formal zoom shirt, you always wear in important meetings.

There are a lot more of people who have thrived, it has given them time to get their heads down, concentrate on their deliverables and helped to remove some of the office politics they were exposed to within an office environment.

The Mad Glad Sad Retro

Some Product teams have a mad, glad, sad sessions where they run through a product release and review what made them mad, glad and sad.
This is something that could easily work with teams and departments, this also gives chance for colleagues to share their experiences and help each other with tips and action items. Quick snappy insights and shared experiences are important, the flow of these retro’s should be quick, collaborative and actionable.

Three Quick Retro Tips:
1. Use an open document/slides or miro or mural to enable real-time collaboration and a centralised view, this really helps the format work.
2. Try to be fair but start with positives (Like Bob Iger’s recommendation in leaders letter 2), do not focus in on all of the mad or sad, this will not set the right tone moving forward.
3. If you are looking to delegate, your hidden leader or secret weapon will be great options to lead these types of retro’s. It is essential you attend if you are the most senior, your attendance and participation will be priceless.

Make It Actionable & Follow Up

It is important to keep note, address important issues and follow up with deadlines of how you can make these better and improve for the future. Refer back to open document or Miro and show how you are moving these tickets forward and hopefully moving mad and sad into glad.

It is important you see this milestone as an important opportunity to bring the department closer to together, shape the company culture and collaborate on the future hybrid office.

For the week ahead, Focus on: Planning this session, see it as an opportunity to bring teams together and get around the campfire to share experiences and feel safer in knowing you are proactively trying to make a difference.

If you would like to read more about the future of work and the future of the workplace definitely read our guide below:

Let me know how your planning and the retro session goes by emailing me.

Thanks, leaders and have a good week ahead.

Danny Denhard

PS. You should be planning for the hybrid future, our free ebook is a must-read. The Hybrid Office Ebook


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