Categories
hybrid office Leadership

The Future of Work – Is The Forced Return To The Office (3+ Days Per Week) A Modern Day Loyalty Test? 

Apple’s three day return to the office recently came under scrutiny when their Machine Learning lead Ian Goodfellow announced he was leaving Apple stating
“I believe strongly that more flexibility would have been the best policy for my team.”

The question many are not asking is, is this part of the company’s strategy to add control back or is it a test to work out whether hybrid can work?
Or is this part of a company-wide strategy to add more guardrails (less chance of interviewing, harder to organise interviews etc) to control the great resignation from impacting their business?

Apple is a notorious company for keeping projects secret and it is well documented their internal secrecy around new projects. Brand and products are a huge competitive advantage for Apple.

Is this really the reason for Apple’s non-flexible stance? Unlikely. 

There is often an argument and firm belief that the best talent leaves first, especially in a market that is weighted towards candidates. 

To be clear, this is not the first or last example of talented individuals leaving however it is the first that publicly suggested working styles and returning to the office is the main factor. 

We will see many more high calibre individuals leave for the same reason, whether they are in the same position to make this statement we will have to see. 

Loyalty Doesn’t Work Both Ways?  

Is this today’s CEO loyalty test, is it suggesting to employees this is the way you show your loyalty to the company by working within the office environment? 

Most likely yes, however, only certain companies would be brave enough to try this approach, Apple, Google and very few others have the brand equity, stock options and base salary to do this. 

Especially in a market where Uber, Meta and other previous powerhouses have hiring freezes and only backfilling essentials. 

With high wages being paid by cash-rich companies and from the web3 space, we are seeing a systemic shift towards flexible work and companies that understands the demands of modern work. 

Many businesses are allowing managers to set their own working schedules with their teams and in some rare situations at individual basis, this always comes under scrutiny, however, with most large businesses setting the tone for other businesses who blindly copy, the one rule of returning to the office three days per week, is likely causing cracks and creating sub cultures within your business. 

Google’s it’s ok manifesto received huge support across LinkedIn in 2021, however, Google has been clear about the move back to the office and its continued investment into the likes of London Kings Cross is clear their long term future is in person first. 

Rename Home To Workplace

Right now the best thing any business can do is rename home to workplace, remove the conditioned work that happens in the office and remove the pandemic PTSD around forced work from home is the same as working from home in a more open work world. 

The questions many are not answering: 

  • Is three days the right amount?
  • Why do we need teams in the office? 
  • How do we adapt our office for hybrid working?
  • Does collaboration actually happen effectively in person? 
  • When most work is in real-time (in meetings) and over zoom is being in the office offering the best work experience? 
  • How do we improve our hybrid tools
  • What is the best possible hybrid work experience? 

The other issue many are encountering has allowed poor management practices like internal policing from bad and middle management. Proximity bias is slowly killing companies inside out.   

Think Differently: 

Digital First & Work From Anywhere Movement

Airbnb has been bold to suggest in the US you can work from anywhere and your salary won’t be affected, is this a PR play or does the Airbnb management team truly believe they learnt enough and listened to feedback to suggest this is the best way to keep talent happy and attract talent. 

The answer is both, it is a PR play and it is a move the management team back, so the winners are those who want flexibility and those who believe in their vision of the future of work. 

In a recent Forbes interview, CEO Brian Chesky suggested Airbnb had over 800000 visitors to the career pages. Airbnb famously went over and above in 2020 for the teams they had to lay off and opened up their careers hub to help their employees find new work.   

Slack’s digital first approach is winning over many, it centre’s around enabling a change of thinking around what identity is within a business and in person is the old way of working. 

Twilio announced they are approaching work as a remote first company, potentially this way you can improve the way people interact and consider working from different workplaces like “home” and other offices.

Slack’s parent company Salesforce is now listing job roles by timezone, not by location emphasising the importance of flexible approaches. 

Dropbox has redesigned its offices and rethinking what in-person work looks like is a good reminder of what smaller companies are doing to improve work and stay competitive. 

Easy Question: Simply ask your teams why they used to work from home in 2018/2019/early 2020? 

It is most likely they worked from home to get their heads down and get their work done. 

If you couldn’t make the office environment work before 2020, you will struggle to make the office work in 2022 and beyond. 

It is time to rethink, reshape and rebalance the office/work environments. 

Other ways to consider reshaping work are to: consider satellite offices, hiring workspaces based on the commute of your employees, hiring workspaces based on the projects they are working on and moving to asynchronous work versus real-time work. 

Will 4 Days Per Week Work Better?

In the next hotly debated topic will a move to four day work weeks help? Unlikely, however, smart companies like front have tested and rethought what 4 days per week might look like and why flexible Fridays at Front are working.

4 days per week only work if you can work in a new constraint and have rethought what work works like and what success looks like in 4 days, not 5. 

Consider, is it 40 hours of work per week you can rethink rather than working a set 4 day week (like Wednesday are non-work days), as logistically this will be a much harder shift in mentality. 

The Future Of Work Is…

It is clear the future of work has evolved past even the smartest business operators and past the way many conditioned leaders can envision the future. The future of work is what we make of it, so make it better, make it flexible and create environments where output is valued more than location and hours worked. 

Supporting Resources To Help Make Smarter Decisions 

The A-Z Of Leadership in 2022

The importance of DNA documents and agreed principles

5 smart ways to rethink the work week 

Will a strict return to the office help my team get back together?  

How to handle back to back meetings?

How to rethink perks in hybrid work?

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 95 – Time For A Performance Panel

Good morning leaders, a quick pondering for you today. 

After speaking at a conference pre-pandemic, I was asked if I could join a panel discussion around how to improve business performance. My “role” was from a Growth perspective as there was already a CEO and a COO on the panel and the original panellist couldn’t make the event. 

A theme of questions arose from the attendees, what do you do to improve performance or receive fresh ideas and perspectives when performance maybe stagnates. 

The others on the panel provided good answers and offered ways to trust internal staff and double down on what got them there. 

I recommended something different.

A performance panel

The panel is not too dissimilar to what you likely have internally, a group of people who analyse and discuss performance, review the data and make recommendations on the next set of actions. 

My difference, you introduce formal external advisors to your panel. 

Why? 

  • Not stuck to doing it way its always done 
  • Not restricted by knowing details of the roadmap constraints
  • Help with getting out of the weeds 
  • External intel, often knowing what others are struggling with and if there are changes your internal team are unfamiliar with 
  • Less panic = less stress. Calmer environment to review and attack potential issues 
  • New ideas – fresh approaches often help 
  • If you are a department lead you spend too much fighting on behalf of your team, external assistance and expertise will greatly help support or guide 

This can work across the board, it can work from adding Operations, Marketing, Growth, Product, Technical, HR and company culture representatives.  

You will have to onboard the panellists, you will have to brief them well and allow access, the formal agreements can work like non-executive directors and can be formalised to a few days per month. 

For the existing department leads, ensure they are prepared to share insights, they are comfortable in asking for help, curious about what is recommended, and take some time to build the connection and trust, this will be key when they look to roll out the recommendations of your panellists. 

This week consider how you could improve not only performance when there is a dip but company-wide performance when there are opportunities to grow, hire smarter and develop departmental plans and your company-wide strategy with external advisors. 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 92 – What Questions To Ask This Month To Improve Your Performance For Your People?

Dear Leaders, 

March is often the most important month in the year to review how companies are progressing, how the morale and the performance of teams are going and preparing to review the five-year plan. 

Remember my motto;
Think 5 years aheadPlan 3 years aheadAction the year ahead.

So here is a list of questions you will want to ask internally and ask your fellow leaders, answer and then address: 

Strategy & Performance 

  • Do we trust the plan ahead?
  • If we were to change one part of the plan what would it be? 
  • Are there new market conditions we did not plan for or consider?
  • Have we returned to normalised seasonality? 
  • Can we ramp up our spending to accelerate growth? 
  • What would be the best investment to improve company-wide performance? 
  • What do the next six months look like if performance stagnates? 
  • What one hire would positively improve our leadership team? 

Company Culture & People 

  • How are our people doing?
  • How are our people reacting to ever-changing conditions? 
  • If we were to make one change to make people happier at work what would it be? 
  • How is our hiring going? 
  • Do we need to implement any company-wide training? 
  • Are our people in the right internal roles? 
  • Do we need more coaches and mentors?

Important Resources To Help You Answer These Questions 

I trust you work through these with your fellow leaders and consider how you could remove barriers for your performance and your people. 

Have a great week ahead and remember that your leaders should always think action, plan, think model to help address performance people issues alongside leading your business to success years for the next five years. 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Categories
Leadership

The Seven Greatest Leadership Traits 

The Seven Best Leadership Traits From Leaders Throughout My Career

This is the 21st year of my career and I have worked across the full spectrum of business. 

From running two of my own consultancies, tiny three-person businesses, family-run businesses with multiple interests, startups at different phases from post sell through to IPO and seeing the exec team ring the opening bell, through to working in M&A and acquiring other businesses and integrating them into the organisation, and I have worked within large listed businesses that operate so differently to all of the other business.

I wanted to share the best leadership traits and lessons from my experience. 

Time Management ⏰ – Ruthless prioritisation over time blocking, time management and being able to remove time as a barrier or being able to move projects and campaigns on with managing time. 

Those in back to back meetings and not owning their calendars often struggle with other core leadership traits. 

Knowledge Retention 🧠 – The best execs and leaders work at an incredible pace and retain important pieces of information alongside deadlines as if it is the only piece of information provided to them that day. Being able to handle and remember important points per project to keep colleagues accountable. 

Very often driving a project forward with the information provided and understanding so well they can discuss at many different levels. 

Knowledge retention helps with time management and communication. There is a correlation between those who retain knowledge and keep their own notes. 

Communication 🗣 – From handling how to communicate clearly in every situation especially when in writing and in person, to having objectives around each interaction. Poor leaders are bad at communicating and putting across their vision to teams. The highest 1% of leaders work hard on communication and continuously improve their communication skills. 

Communication is very often the difference between those who buy into the leadership and those who don’t. 

Objectives & Interactions 🥅 –  Something that stood out from one incredible COO of a listed company was their ability to understand and retain information from many different technical departments and she was able to create clear objectives and interact with numerous stakeholders. This particular COO learnt from every interaction to big moments in QBR’s.  

Many exes struggle with interacting with those they do not work with regularly, the best have a great way of talking to anyone from any level and create objectives from these conversations. 

Objectives are often the best method leaders have to keep their people accountable and drive interactions. 

Organisation Design 🕸 – Org design is often the most challenging for startups and upstarts, building out the organisation and hiring the right people to develop these departments challenges even the most experienced and often is the difference between short and mid-term success. Don’t hire and build an org on a pain point or skills pain point, build around sets of problems. 

Org design is often seen as a way to build more hierarchy and grow (or reduce) headcount but also is a way for leaders to reshape trust, organisational health, culture and develop people in the business and those around them. 

Cutting Through BS 🔪-  Even the best leaders within businesses are often so busy they struggle to manage direct reports and cut through BS especially with long term colleagues. The elite leaders can cut through excuses, misdirections and very often drive change by cutting through others BS, particularly underperforming department leads. The elite also from experience drives change, from not accepting weak and vague answers. This often results in loyalty not being rewarded but change and growth being rewarded instead. 

Being able to cut through BS at any level is essential, if your BS radar does not improve with experience you are likely not learning lessons or losing important political intelligence battles around you.  

Long Term Vision 👩‍💼 – The very best leaders show they understand where the business is going, how their industry will change and be focused on the long term, they ensure departments action 1 year ahead, they plan 3 years ahead and plan for the 5 pending years. They are almost unwavering in the vision and allow others to build into the vision while trusting those around them and beneath them to plan and deliver the plan.   

Without a focus on long term vision and being in the driving seat, often executives, founders and co-founders lose their influence and can often misalign the departments. 

Learn From Successful CEO’s

Learn From Jeff Bezos

Learn From Elon Musk

Categories
Strategy

Annual Playbook Template For Company-Wide Success

Every year businesses set up their teams to fail by asking them to build their action plan or playbook for the year ahead.

Why? Because often it is no one’s specific job to own or the owner has only ever done it one way in this business and do not know the ingredients to list on their recipe, aka the right template for the company strategy.

Remember how the best companies win is by having one company-wide strategy, not departmental strategies.

Time For The New Template

Without specific guidance or a template every department across a business does it differently, they rarely collaborate and the business then has 5-10 different departments with different formats making it nearly impossible to understand what the teams are doing and why their actions are important.

OKR’s Fail

Many companies have moved to the OKR model, OKR’s work for some, however, OKR’s do not go into the how or generally the why, this creates frictions at KR levels and individuals are faced with the choice of selecting the company or team OKR or having to select their own KR to hit their targets.

This quickly impacts company culture and introduces “me before we” – individuals putting themselves first before their team, department and the company.

This is just one way the system does not enable you to support your team with the right template and creates instant friction from the start of the year.

7 Step Template

This year I wanted to create a free 7 step template for you and your teams to use and help to shape the year ahead for success and provide a chance to present to each other to enable each department to understand the actions you are going to be taking and the demands on that team.

There are two templates available for you to scroll through and then download for free.

To download once in the Google interface, go to:

File >> Download >> Select your format to download.

The Free Strategy Templates

Docs Template

Slides Template

If you are struggling to build your company strategy get in touch below.

Or read these essential guides to strategy

This is essential reading for company strategy
Essential reading for those struggling with how to build long term plans
Find out what your business should operate as, a partner, a platform or the piping
The common mistakes businesses make when becoming successful, fighting internal politics and internal problems not the customer problems
Imperative for those who have a struggle with different levels of the company and why the company is evolving
Considering rethinking how you operate, considering a 4 day work week or getting pressure to move to full time hybrid, this guide are for you
The complete free hybrid work guide
Categories
Leadership

James Clear 2022 Management Team Inspiration

James Clear is the top-selling writer and speaker, writing Atomic Habits and having one of the most popular newsletters online.

This 1% better every day video is something I share with executives teams in management team training and is homework to watch before coaching sessions.

So why should you watch?

Learn how habits actually work and how habits fuel goals and ensure you hit these specific goals.

1% Better Every Day Video

To form good habits, James recommends four steps:

Noticing, Wanting, Doing, Liking.

Quote to takeaway:

“Good habits make time your ally,
Bad habits make time your enemy”

Inspire & Share:

Be inspired and shared this with your senior management team or fellow leadership team to increase the growth mindset within your business and improve every day.


Be Inspired Weekly

Categories
Business Performance

The Best Business Podcasts in 2022

Podcasts had another big year in 2021 and with the huge number of business podcasts, it can be difficult to understand which is a good episode and what is a must subscribe and must-listen podcast series.

Below is the best podcast series to subscribe to (and why) alongside listening suggesting the best recent episode from the podcast series.

Invest Like The Best

Why Listen? Brilliant variety of guests with questions that really make what they actioned and achieved, actionable.

Land Of The Giants

Why Listen? Brilliant deep dives into verticals or companies that have changed the world. The Apple revolution is a must listen.

The Knowledge Project

Why Listen? Probably the most bang for your buck podcast, packed full of gems and brilliant questions.

Masters Of Scale

Why Listen? Constantly great guests telling their stories and their approaches, rapid response is a series on the feed which has been a brilliant series in the pandemic and helped understand how other businesses have approached it.

Starting Greatness

Why Listen? Brilliant short podcasts with incredible guests from all across different industries but one underlining theme, how did the guest become great.

How I Built This

Why Listen? Love stories about how companies started? And how they become successful? Guy Raz is the host and podcast series for you.

Danny In The Valley

Why Listen? Danny is a journalist who has covered tech and silicon valley for over a decade, Danny manages to have diverse guests who really want to answer big questions and inform you of their product usually linking to their mission of fixing something broken.

Recode Media

Why Listen? Peter Kafka is one of my favourite podcast hosts, an informed look at the media landscape with piercing questions and quite often challenges the guests to answer the questions they just won’t want to. Very informative with great guests.

Thinking Is Cool

Why Listen? Host Kinsey (and her cofounder Josh) are on a mission to explore important topics and themes and really help you think or reshape your thinking. This Web3 primer is essential listening for any business looking at the future in 2022.

My First Million (MFM)

Why Listen? MFM divides a lot of podcaster fans, if you like ideas aplenty and breaking down how some businesses have become successful this is for you. If you want inspiration on how new and smaller businesses will explode in the next few months then this is for you. Some business leaders will think this is “bro’s” together but many episodes give away absolute nuggets.

Remember you can listen to my podcast series

Fixing The Broken World Of Work

https://open.spotify.com/episode/734afnZBTpZiDjwB9bcXuX?si=qW_pMhMkT_ixDcTyITOL8Q

Or

The Future State Of Podcast

https://open.spotify.com/episode/3MsLK1GTRCJffpy4u85TuL?si=sVQn2Dw1QxuL0YNqXO8jgA
Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 81 – The Secret Power Of Code Names

Dear Leaders, 

Celebrating the small wins is one of the many hacks most overlook when building and rebuilding teams. 

I have shared a number of frameworks and hacks to help to inspire positive change within your culture and business. 

Your favourites have been (from internal data)

  1. improved culture with agreed principles,
  2. risk vs benefit framework,
  3. one problem two solutions framework,
  4. two up two across framework,
  5. the handover hand back framework, calendar audit.  

This week I am going to share one of my favourite hacks, the hack is having dedicated code names. Code names are brilliant in creating an internal language (part of building psychological safety) and being able to associate with a project at weird and different levels. 

Below are three examples from my past:

(1) Vicki
During a big software launch, there was a huge investment into a new software system, it was a huge shift and investment for the company and rather than creating a boring software name, the internal code name was selected as Vicki.
Why? it was actually named after the owner’s first girlfriend and it was a connector for the team working on the roll-out (software house + IT team) and the name specifically became an ongoing discussion point. Speculation from the company of why the name and what the name’s significance was around the software kept so many people guessing. It helped a rough rollout to become more palatable and stuck as the official name for the software. 

(2) Nostalgia
More recently, while running a new business line, when rolling out big product sprints and product enhancements, the team created code names in reference to late 1990’s football (soccer) players, typically from Arsenal and Man Utd players.
For some, it meant having to do a bit of research (which is actually an important layer to bonding) and for others, it was a core piece of nostalgia.
FWIW Keane and Vieria were selected for the hardest and biggest projects. 

(3) Friends
Most recently, a team were big fans of the classic tv show Friends and the big projects were given character names like ‘fun time Bobby’, Mr Heckles, Janice and Gunther. It was important they were not the names of the main characters. 

You’d be surprised how projects are then given names associated with how much they like or loathe the project, a bad project might be called Emily (in reference to a British character who got married to Ross) or Charlie (Wheeler) if they liked the project (in reference to the palaeontology professor who dated Joey and then Ross, who was always funny).  

It’s important to note: Hacks work for a certain period of time, once it becomes commonplace the playful element may diminish, however, it is important to remember you are trying to build layers of improved connection, therefore ensuring hacks roll up into other tactics to continue the connection and build trust in what you are trying to achieve. 

One last hack before I leave you, creating meme’s as a hack will also help to lighten the mood and tension around larger projects and campaigns and enable people to remix the meme themselves and continue the hack. 

Thanks and have a great new years,

Danny Denhard 

» Want to connect further? LinkedIn // Email // Twitter

Categories
Leadership

21 Leadership Lessons To Take Away From 2021

Here are 21 leadership lessons to take away from the rollercoaster that was 2021, below have a number of great examples of rethinking problems, solving staff issues and addressing concerns. Other examples included is how not to do leadership and proves all leaders need coaching and mentors. 

  1. Leadership is hard, many of the large businesses got it wrong including Alphabet, Amazon and Apple. We all get it wrong from time to time, in the hybrid work world it is going to be harder. Owning mistakes and communicating the resolve is most important.  

  2. Every leader does it differently, from command and control from Mark Zuckerberg, to principles style discussion-based leadership from the likes of Ray Dalio and manage by press release like Bob Iger. In 2021 going into 2022, we are going to see a continued need to be flexible and provide leadership in the form team members demand, some will need to follow one leader, some will require and be led by compassion, others will need a hierarchy to follow and understand they are being heard and appreciated. Leadership Coaching and Management Team Training are going to be imperative.

  3. Relentless Impact: 2020 and 2021 have been relentless for everyone, particularly for managers and leaders of businesses. The unspoken toll on leaders is an important lesson to coach throughout organisations and help managers of all levels to know you have to be able to handle stress and ask for help and importantly put your own health first.

  4. New Rules: When letting go 900 staff members, rip off the bandaid early and be respectful of the impersonal nature of zoom meetings – Better.com CEO has since gone on a break, the ripple effects, however, have continued and has set a bad precedent that many others will, unfortunately, replicate when PR and leadership teams tell others you have to be the alpha and set the tone for the business moving forward.

  5. Local Leadership: As the world adapted to different cycles of covid, local leadership became more important, local leadership roles can be difficult, however across 2020 and 2021 local leaders have usually developed the best plan for their teams locally. Successful and vigilant local GM’s and HR leads have to be given more respect and leadership opportunities in 2022. 

  6. Hybrid Years: Hybrid work has divided everyone, it has highlighted many flaws in companies and management, especially leaders who rely on seeing their teams aka proximity bias and businesses not listening to their staff or customers. 

  7. Smarter Approaches: Many companies took a smart approach to reposition working hybrid and working remotely, Dropbox Studio approach looks at how to know the office is about collaboration but you don’t have to be in the office to be effective.

  8. Rethink Identity: Slack’s digital first identity is clever and future-leaning, it enables their teams to understand they will operate in a digital-first manner but also that it is the future they are seeing and co-building with their software businesses.

  9. TW&T Days? Many businesses started to state they were opting for three days a week hybrid schedules, unfortunately, this led to numerous issues, viral TikTok’s and having to retract numerous statements. Learn to listen, react and stipulate when you will be providing a safe environment and how you are expecting your people to act and perform in and out of the office environment.  

  10. Deliberate Actions Matter: “Being intentional is the ultimate integrity in leadership. It’s stating your values and intentions clearly, then putting your money where your mouth is” — Fidji Simo. CEO – Instacart, Instacart’s leader leading from the front and offering the way we should lead in 2021 and 2022 and agreed that President Carolyn Everson who joined Fidji from her previous company Facebook to leave for the best for both parties. Being open and understand that something is not working out for both parties early on is essential.

  11. Good Comms Wins Every Time: Internal communication is essential and setting up communications and expectations from moment one is imperative – Andy Jassy first memo is a masterpiece that is well worth the read.

  12. New World Of Work: Total commitment from your teams and leadership was always a non-negotiable, although across many businesses this is still a pillar of demands, there are smart business leaders who are seeing the signals and cutting through the noise of the great resignation and knowing that sitting on the fence is ok.

  13. 4 vs 5: Four Days A Week Vs Five Days A Week: Front app took a smart test to introduce flexible Friday’s, Front’s 4 days a week take, allowing their teams to work, take off and work on and off each Friday. When you are looking to help teams with burnout and consider how you rethink the work day and the structure of your work week.

  14. Mental Health Days & Weeks: Bumble allowed each team member to take off an extra week paid vacation this year, this was a move Airbnb have followed allowing each employee to be off from 22nd of December until the 3rd of January. We are likely to see more time off and forward-thinking businesses using mental health breaks as ways to help their staff but also recruit staff. 

  15. Calendar & Time Management: We are set to the same number of hours in a day, many senior executives allowed their calendar to be filled with meetings and did not audit and this behaviour filtered through businesses. One of the most popular newsletters this year was how to run a calendar audit and offered a framework to follow and apply a scoring matrix to get back many hours per week.

  16. PDP Vs 3×3 Matrix: Likewise, personal development plans have always been a struggle for managers to keep up with and influencer their team members to be proactively updating, this two up two across matrix was the most feedback newsletter of 2021.
  17. Manager Vs Director: HubSpot’s co-founder and CTO Dharmesh Shah rightly stated that doubling down on your strengths and not having to be a people leader is a smart move for your business. Leaders have to lead, whether that is with direct reports and being a good people manager (many just aren’t) or that’s directing the future of the company without having dotted lines and big lines of reports.
      
  18. Metawhat? The metaverse is a narrative big tech is trying to be associated with, even the likes of Microsoft went early and painted the Microsoft metaverse stake.
     
  19. Show You Know: Google’s it’s ok to manifesto highlighted how one company can get it so right and then so wrong within a matter of days. The Google it’s ok to manifesto is a good base to create your own (this manifesto was influenced from an old NHS manifesto).
     
  20. DNA Docs? There is a movement towards setting out the DNA of companies, sports clubs are creating DNA documents to set out expectations and the behaviours of the club. Many businesses are starting to learn again from the sports world and apply to their business.
  21. New Intelliegence? Many businesses are not set up to train and prepare their staff for the modern world of work, especially in a world of external review sites, social media posts being written up and embedded, PQ (political intelligence) might just be the skill businesses need to teach their leadership teams. 

Best of luck for 2022 and remember to take these good, bad and ugly lessons forward and share them with fellow leaders to ensure you have a successful 2022.

Categories
Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 78 – It’s Time For Your Calendar Audit

Dear Leaders, this week’s newsletter is here to save some of your sanity and time. 

Do you look at your calendar with pure dread? 

I bet you have signed off or left a meeting and think – this was a massive waste of time? 

There are two options you have:
(1) Take that your time is taken from you 😞
or
(2) Actually take action and do something about it 💪

An important step many executives do not take is actually reviewing and scoring meetings. 

Busy is not a badge of honour and should never be an excuse.

Many leave meetings with a sour taste in their mouth, often mentally noting that a colleague or two are good or bad (or worse need to leave the business) and then having to recover from MRS (meeting recovery syndrome). 

There is an action (much more than a hack) to help save your sanity and review your calendar to make a real difference. 

This will take an hour’s work to save ten’s of hours in the coming weeks and months. 

A Calendar Audit 📅

  1. Review your calendar: look back over the last six weeks  
  2. Colour code the meetings into group meetings, recurring meetings and one to one’s 
  3. Create a meeting scoring system. 1-10 (10 being great, 1 being worst) – the maths is an important dimension here 
  4. Flag and review any recurring meetings first.
    Score these meetings, use: 
    (1) effectiveness for work, (2) time efficiencies and (3) participation levels as success factors.
  5. Review group meetings and project meetings, please then score accordingly 
  6. Review 1:2:1’s particularly on how successful you were either as the leader or the participant
  7. Fire up Excel or Google sheets and score the meetings in groups, you will see many patterns. 
    There is a common theme here, important notes and keep scores
  8. Review your notes from these meetings and really be self-critical and critical of meetings and drive change. Always provide feedback and look to reduce meetings. 
  9. Understand if you need to keep meetings, cure meetings or kill meetings.
    You should not only edit and audit your time but provide people’s time back. This is a huge gift!
  10. Feedback the information, kill or cure meetings and reorganise the time and save the energy of your colleagues. 

You will be surprised by the benefit to performance and the positive impact on company culture this will have. 

Remember The Focus Rules For Meetings: 

  1. Always call out why this meeting should not have been an email 
  2. Set an agenda 
  3. Explain why each meeting attendee was invited and how they can add value 
  4. At the beginning of the meeting remind what the objective of the meeting is and what success looks like 
  5. Have a chairperson taking notes and keeping you to agree on timeframe 
  6. Have the chairperson call out what the notes were, what the decisions were and what the follow-up actions are and by when 
  7. Always provide time for meeting feedback and if the meeting is able to finish early, enable everyone to have their time back 

Good luck rolling this framework out, it will take a couple of attempts to really hit your stride, in the near future you will be able to have open and honest conversations and save many hours of wasted time and negative time use. 

Have a great week,

Danny Denhard 

Two Other Proven Methods

Here is the hybrid guide to remote meetings chapter that will drive improvements to your meetings and your business. 

Look to roll out the NDA meeting framework for taking notes, logging decisions and the actions you and the team need to take.