Categories
Business Performance

25 Meeting Recommendations

 

Meetings take up to 15% of all time within work. In very few organisations they teach you how to run successful meetings, how attendees are supposed to participate and what success looks like at the end of each meetings.

Company success is often shaped as much by meetings as their company strategy. 

Bad meetings impact company culture and often are the causes of teams misaligning and interpersonal conflict. 

With the number of meetings increasing, the lengths of meetings reducing but the frequency of repeat meetings, it is essential we reduce the friction of meetings and help to structure, optimise and improve meetings. 

On our mission to fix the broken world of work, we collated our 25 most suggested meeting recommendations to help your organisation to succeed. 

  1. Ask the question: does this have to be a meeting?
  2. Answer: Could this be a memo? 
  3. Whole company agreement: No meetings to have another meeting 
  4. AHA: Always Have Agenda’s 
  5. Keep track of ‘meeting moments and movements’ – centralise all notes, decisions and actions and share across to all invitees and if open allow all to view
  6. Always answer what is the objective of this meeting
  7. Agendas are great for meetings that require structure 
  8. Always have refresh agendas – with 50% of meetings repeat and agendas recycled you are fighting against yourself 
  9. No agenda = No attendance can work if enforce top to bottom 
  10. Agendas remove creativity – think of this when brainstorming and problem-solving 
  11. Always explain to each attendee why they are attending, what their expected role is and how they can help move the meeting forward 
  12. HiPPO’s have to encourage and support employee first engagement 
  13. Have no spectators rules – Steve Jobs would remove people who did not contribute to meetings 
  14. Remove awkward starts to meetings 
  15. If the meeting fails quickly gift people their time back 
  16. Feedback is a gift, survey attendees and asks for feedback sessions in the last five minutes of meetings (open documents for open feedback) 
  17. Always have a social element to meetings, never dive straight in, scientific studies and cultural differences have proven no social elements break social bonds and trust in the work environment 
  18. Meeting recovery syndrome is a hugely under-recognised issue within businesses, reduce the number of meetings and 
  19. Employees need help to manage calendars especially in hybrid environments, help to manage and have a meeting champion to share tips and best practices and offer training 
  20. Hybrid meetings are challenging, applying the same attention to those remote as those in the office, you must follow the no a team (in office) and b team (working remotely). Checking on remote attendees and asking for their opinions will be equalisers. Reviewing meeting notes and document updates will be important 
  21. Have meeting attendance guidelines. The quality of meetings drop the more that attend
    1. Other companies rules:
      1. 10 people (Google)
      2. 6 people (Apple)
      3. 2 pizza rule (Amazon) & 7 people + approval by senior meeting
  22. Remove meetings after 16.00 – least productive and often rushed.
    1. If you are an international or tri-time zone company consider how you can rotate these meetings  
  23. Silent start meetings are great for longer-form meetings requiring insights, discussion and alignment. 
  24. Keep and update your decision document to keep clear communications and a canonical home of decisions 
  25. Remember how we are engineered, information architecture is essential, an easy way to find out information and find relevant historical notes for those who were not at the company helps understand how to be successful.
    Meeting name > Date > Project > Department often works best  

Important Related Reading To Improve Business Performance:

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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 43

Have you been the boss for so long you try and boss everything and every situation?

April 5th, 2021.

Dear Leaders,

For the past few months, I have been working more regularly with more founder-led businesses. 

Founder led businesses are notoriously more difficult if you do not know how to ask the right questions and you answer their questions quickly and concisely with a focus on delivery. 

One question that has bubbled up with each founder 

Have you been the boss for so long you try and boss everything and every situation?

The answer is 90% of the time, no, the 10% are the more open and transparent and typically say yes. 

The yes answer is good, they are aware of where they are and know they will be pushed to step back and challenged to understand where to let go.

The 90% have a few more sessions to go, they are unaware of having to control not boss each situation.

The 90% then split into two camps, those who want to change and those who want to control. The controlling group are those who need more coaching and guidance, you need to show where they are being too hands-on, too overbearing, too much talking nowhere near enough listening. 

So the question for you to ask is have you been the boss for so long, you attempt to boss everything? 

If yes, step back, challenge yourself to listen more and understand where you need to take a leap back or leap into action and where possible bring in external help or hire more people to remove some friction. 

Have a good week and remember being the boss doesn’t mean making every decision and kicking every ball it means knowing when to bring others to the table, bringing support in for you and the team and then being clear and concise when delegating. 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Categories
Leadership

5 Timeless Lessons From Industry Leaders

In the summer of 2020, I went on a leadership mission, I spoke to as many leaders from as many fields as I could. This was a way to improve leaders letters, it was a way to learn from leaders to improve the leaders and leadership teams I work with but to also share these experiences. 

The leaders I interviewed came from many different and diverse backgrounds, including banking and finance, military, teaching, traditional business owner, a Chief Medical Officer, co-founder of a large remittance company and experienced startup leader. 

I took away many lessons and I hoped to turn the series into a Focus leadership podcast (maybe in the future), I thought I should share five of the lessons I took away from the brilliant conversations so you could ponder or implement. 

Lesson 1: Military Leader

“Outcomes for the group is essential: the mission for the team, the objective for the unit, crystal clear task for the individual.”
This cycle has to be understood completely, with no fussy or blurry lines. This then has to be understood at the team, unit and individual level. Often it is life and death and the most vital pieces of information have to be clear, concise and as up to date as possible. 

Lesson 2: Head Teacher

“Always have an open mind”, always learn from other sectors, increase your reading, share and empower those around you with your learnings and take feedback from whoever it is. Staff, parent, governers and then walk that walk.
There is a lot packed into this but so many lessons to take away and apply. 

Lesson 3: Co-Founder Remittance Company

“Ask for advice – is not a weakness!” Many leaders truly believe asking for help is a weakness, it is not it is a strength, especially when those around you or seeking those in a better position will drive you and your business forward.  

Lesson 4: Chief Medical Officer

“Replace ego with empathy – Read between the lines (there is always an agenda) find out what is really going on and explore together.” 

Lesson 5: Serial Startup Founder

An essential job for the founder is recruitment, it is to create the right environment for the organisation to thrive by blending people, positions and passions. 

These five lessons are all actionable across leadership at any level, all of these resonated with me for different reasons but mostly because leadership is about being clear, understanding and delivering instructions, asking for help, replacing your ego with empathy and the culture you create impacts your team every day. 


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Categories
Anonymous Career Advice

Disconnected From My Department

In today’s anonymous career advice, we tackle a senior leader being disconnected from their teams and department and how to address their concerns.

Dear Focus, I lead a fifteen person department with four teams, I know I am disconnected from my department and it’s hindering performance. How do I reconnect?

In the world of work we operate in, there will be many department heads who have not thought about how connected they are or are not with their teams and department.

It is a positive sign you understand you have become disconnected or someone in your department has stepped forward and let you know.

You have a number of options that can help you and the teams make progress, the questions you need to answer are:

  1. Have the teams lost trust in you?
  2. Why did you lose contact?
  3. Are there internal influencers who can
  4. Has there been a hidden leader or a co-pilot who has stepped up and taken the rains?
  5. Has the department performance dropped?

Be A Leader

First things first, as a leader your job is to guide, shape and call out and address bad behaviours, as you know you are disconnected, you should call this out, whether this is on a call, a video call or in writing.
The more personal the better for you in your situation.

Secondly, you should connect with your managers but be completely aware that you should skip them and connect with all levels of your team and gain feedback, listening is far more important than talking here.

Take many notes, review and then evaluate where the team is and what type of leader they require currently, often a job of a leader is to get out of the way and allow those around them to flourish and step up.

Understand The Politics

In the workplace, we all experience politics at some level and many middle managers feel like they have to play the game. You should understand if there has been a move to help move you further away from your teams, this could have been a result of your stepping away or a powerplay, truly understand this and give the benefit of the doubt. Read your managers reviews is a great step to understand your manager’s abilities and how they have performed if you have disconnected from your management team.

Internal Influencers

Your secret weapon is likely the best person to connect with, they are typically an internal influencer and hold a lot of weight within the team and see if they are willing to support your move to reconnect. This cannot be fake and has to be for the best of the team.

Performance

Something you will need to ask yourself openly and honestly, has your department’s performance been impacted? Is yes is it positively or negatively? If positively, how will add to their momentum or add to the flywheel? If negatively how will you review, analyse and then inspire.

Be There & Be Present

From being disconnected you cannot then replace that with not being present and not being available in the future, it is important you are available and present in the meetings, in the standup and in planning sessions.

So in short: follow these actions to reconnect:

  • Do not fake your motives
  • Make the time to reconnect
  • Take the time to listen
  • Understand if you need to connect more deeply
  • Or understand if your management team have stepped up or overstepped
  • Encourage open comms and you will be available for coaching, mentoring and guiding those around and below you.

Here are some supporting Focus resources that will help you:

Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 19th March

This week I offer five podcasts you will want to check out to help improve your business culture and company performance.

The 5 Podcasts

1/ Hitting The Wall Podcast

I join Ash Taylor to talk leadership, company culture, why the arena as an office will help improve connection, why the future of work is hybrid and work will be flexible for the employee, not the employer.

Key Quote:

Yeah, so there’s a is a combat and conflict, which a lot of people teach.

So a lot of the time it’s done to sentiment, right. So being combative tends to mean sort of banging heads and enforcing something conflict can be, and it can be enabled to have in a conversation and the right conversation. I think it comes down to you as a, like, if you’re a leader trying to trying to address it.

Or trying to move things forward. I think you need to understand people at a human levels. You need to understand them individually and you need to know their motivations. If I was ever going to say the best way to, to understand people is just to know how they’re motivated. So if you’re an introvert and ambivert or an extrovert, everyone’s going to be motivated differently.

So I would say like no people stages, so know how they can be on stage. So some people are extroverts what love and argument, because it enables them to step up and perform and be this different person. Whereas introverts can be the greatest people when it comes to conflict or combat, because they’ve taken a step back.

They’ve digested, what people have wanted to say, and then they’re, they can be far more articulate. When it has to, when they want to be able to, it has to happen. Now I know I’m, I’m the ambiverted when I need people, I’ll go to them. And when I don’t want them, I’ll run away and get back in my shell. And, and that’s, you know, some teams needs an extroverted leader because they need someone who’s going to put on a performance and be strong and talk it through.

So for me, it’s a way of enabling the right conversation, but also telling people that we. It’s been able to be confident enough to say we’re going to have this conversation. If you’re confident now or comfortable now it’s, it’s the right time to be able to come back and have your say and it’s it’s for a chairperson to go around and ask everyone’s opinion.

Yeah. So, you know, Dave, what do you think, Ahmed? What do you think, Sarah What’d you think? Zara, what do you think? Is important, you go around, you know, and you ask people their opinion. Some people aren’t ever going to be confident, or comfortable in talking in front of a group, but you can always say here is thirty minutes where you can go away digest it.

A conversation with Danny Denhard of Focus Hitting the Wall

In this week’s episode I chat to Danny Denhard from Focus who’s on a mission to change the world of work. We discuss all things culture and leadership, digging into how businesses thrive when they put culture in the workplace first. You’ll learn about the power of creating personal eco-systems, and why enabling conflict in the workplace is a good thing. We talk about business being a badge of honour, prioritising culture before the workplace collapses, and why gossip is so important. Danny also takes through his personal manifesto for change, why being back-to-back is damaging productivity and whether the new habits we’ve created in the last 12 months are beneficial to people and businesses A fascinating discussion Weekly digest Of the best articles from the week you likely haven’t read – https://mustreads.substack.com Weekly inspiration every Monday on improving leadership – https://blog.focus.business/leaders Focus aka fixing the broken world of work Website https://www.focus.business/ Manifesto – https://www.focus.business/manifesto Connect on social media with me https://dannydenhard.com/linkedin https://dannydenhard.com/twitter

2/ The Science of Networks

Marissa King joins host Patrick on Invest Like The Best and discusses her book Social Chemistry: Decoding the Elements of Human Connection and the three types of social networks.

Key Quote: “What we know from close to three decades of research in the social sciences is you can break down social networks. What’s common to all of these is they propagate on social networks. So we can think about our networks, just the traces of interaction that connect us all. And those traces can actually be boiled down into three fundamental elements.
So I call these in my book brokers, expansionists, and conveners when you’re applying them to the individual. But by starting to understand those three very basic fundamental pieces, it’s really what makes the world small.

Marissa King – The Science of Social Networks – [Invest Like the Best, EP. 217] Invest Like the Best with Patrick O'Shaughnessy

My guest this week is Marissa King, a professor of organizational behavior at the Yale School of Management. I was fascinated by Marissa's work after coming across her book, Social Chemistry: Decoding the Elements of Human Connection, earlier this year. Our conversation covers the three types of social networking styles, the surprising impact of COVID on social networks, and what her research tells us about building high-performing teams. This episode covers many topics I haven't explored before that I find fascinating. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Marissa King.      For the full show notes, transcript, and links to mentioned content, check out the episode page here. —— This episode is brought to you by Tegus. Tegus has built the most extensive primary information platform available for investors.   With Tegus, you can learn everything you’d want to know about a company in an on-demand digital platform. Investors share their expert calls, allowing others to instantly access more than 10,000 calls on Affirm, Teladoc, Roblox, or almost any company of interest. All you have to do is log in. Visit tegus.co/patrick to learn more.   —— This episode is brought to you by NordVPN. NordVPN is the best VPN to keep your internet experience private.   It has over 5,500 servers in 60 countries to ensure super-fast internet while protecting your information no matter where you are. As working from home and remote work become more prevalent, now is the time to protect your personal and business information without any data logging.   NordVPN works on all popular platforms, including Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS, and supports up to 6 simultaneous connections across your devices.   To get started, go to nordvpn.com/patrick or use code PATRICK to get a 2-year plan plus 1 additional month with a huge discount and a 30-day money-back guarantee. —— Invest Like the Best is a property of Colossus, Inc. For more episodes of Invest Like the Best, visit joincolossus.com/episodes.  Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.   Follow us on Twitter: @patrick_oshag | @JoinColossus   Show Notes [00:04:04] – [First question] – Origin of her career and topics she is focused on [00:04:06] – Social Chemistry: Decoding the Patterns of Human Connection [00:04:09] – Priya Parker Podcast Episode [00:05:41] – Why the focus on Autism and some of the trends around it [00:08:07] – Prevalence of mental health and substance abuse vs. raised awareness [00:09:16] – The eureka moment for her in this research [00:10:16] –  Pattern in growing large social movements [00:11:43] – The Expansionists group and their role in large social movements [00:14:31] – Acid test for the Brokers group [00:15:35] – How she developed the categories of people that drive social movements [00:17:35] – Most memorable moments of discovery in the development of these categories [00:18:58] – Important categories for overall network science [00:20:20] – Behavioral changes we can make to improve the nature of our social connections [00:23:21] – The pitfalls for each group and how they can invest in their own network [00:25:29] – Conveners and what they need to improve  [00:26:34] – Downside of being a broker [00:27:58] – The attachments styles of secure, anxious, or avoidant [00:30:07] – Velocity of interactions possible today and what it means for research [00:32:02] – How men and women develop networks differently [00:33:55] – What is unique in organizational behavior through the lens of her research [00:36:19] – Best practice for creating high output interactions [00:37:33] – Putting together the perfect team [00:38:42] – Largest pitfalls in putting together a good team [00:40:00] – Role of conversation in effective network building [00:41:15] – Being a great listeners and distractions [00:42:47] – Eric Maddox Podcast Episode [00:43:41] – Good policy for running a network, being attentive to the network [00:46:40] – The power of touch [00:48:39] – How movements become societal and what role technology has played [00:52:46] – How this applies to a business [00:53:34] – Biological underpinnings of Dunbar’s number [00:57:13] – Kindest thing anyone has done for her  

3/ Eat Sleep Work Repeat – Ripping Work A New One

Scott Galloway Joins Bruce Daisley on Twitter Spaces (so has more beeps than typical podcast) to discuss the importance of cities, the office for the young and why the power of touch is so important in the workplace.

Key Quote:
“There’s usually three people up for a promotion, it’s usually the person who has the strongest relationship who gets it”

Scott Galloway rips work a new one Eat Sleep Work Repeat

A recording of a Twitter Spaces discussion with Scott Galloway. We talk remote working, why cities will never die, why working hard is Scott's top career advice. Along the way we talk about the power of touch, Goldman Sachs, missing humans and what will come next for work.The Twitter Spaces app also blings a lot too, sorry about that. I've edited about 200 of them out.Scott's book Post Corona is a bestseller.Sign up for the newsletter.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

4/ Finding Your Own Superpower with Jo Malone.

Jo Malone CBE talks candidly about her career, how dyslexia helped guide her thinking, her fight with cancer and why people’s energy is so important.

Key Quote:
“I still didn’t let that define my dreams, I am a dreamer, I dream big

Jo Malone: Finding your own superpower The High Performance Podcast

Jo Malone CBE, is the Founder & Creative Director of Jo Loves, a household name and one of the world’s most successful businesswomen. There aren’t many people who haven’t had a product of hers in their home at some point. From modest beginnings, Jo fell in love with fragrance and built an incredibly successful brand, Jo Malone London, that she eventually sold and left the business before launching her ‘Jo Loves’ range inspired by the memories and moments in life that she loves.But there have been periods to her life that have been challenging to say the least. From cancer to career upheaval, and a set of decisions and dilemmas on a scale most of us are never faced with. Listen to the lessons Jo’s learnt from an extraordinary life. We absolutely loved this conversation!A big thanks to our partners Lotus Cars. Remember, you can get extended episodes of the podcast on our YouTube channel bit.ly/HPPYouTube and follow us on Instagram @highperformance.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Here are Focus’ favourite must listen to high performance podcasts.

5/ Annie Duke: Decision Making Secrets

I am a big fan of Annie Duke and her books, thinking in bets is a great read and the way Annie challenges how you think and record good and bad decisions is invaluable to business leaders.

Key Quote:
“lets think about what a great decision is and a great decision is the forecast of the future,”

Annie Duke: Decision-making Secrets from a World Series of Poker Champion Starting Greatness

(04:51) – Explaining what makes a decision good or bad (6:36) – On how memory creep impacts our view of Hilary Clinton’s 2016 campaign (11:30) – On the use of a knowledge tree to inform decision making (16:59) – Looking at Pete Carrol’s controversial decision in the Super Bowl   (26:16) – On founders falling into a trap around pricing their product (38:08) – When to make informed decisions and follow a process
Categories
Leadership

Ghosting – The Real Business Issue

In the modern world of work, we have seen a number of behaviours from outside of the workplace creep into the business world. 

We have experienced the influence of chat apps like iMessage, WhatsApp and messenger have huge impacts on how we communicate. It has moved communications from clear and concise to long-running threads that often end in meetings to clear up the objectives and how to be successful. 

We have seen the influence of video, more specifically stories video format influence how we update each other in standups and on large projects and become a stable of engineering and product teams. Zoom, Teams and Meet have been essential to the majority of meetings, however, do we really need more video or do we need more directions, purpose and understand if the video function becomes a distraction. 

Unfortunately, behaviours like ghosting are becoming an unwanted but accepted behaviour that is definitely influencing relationships, company culture and performance. 

Ghosting is “the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication”. – Oxford Lexico Definition. 

Ghosting was always a possible function of work, however, it was more specific to conversations or communication chains.
More recently it has become a pattern that is becoming more deliberate and defaults for colleagues and business partners. 

Over the last two years and coinciding with more electronic communication, ghosting has become a default for many people. Ghosting is prevalent from a couple of activities, the first is when staff do not know the answer or how to answer a question posed and the second is when communication is harder than a simple response. 

Both of these are detrimental to business and reflect your people, teams and company’s reputation. 

This has to stop, this is a small part of the broken world of work many operate in. 

There are two ways to tackle bad behaviours:

1/ Train all staff how to communicate when the information is not to hand or when the answer is not positive to the recipient 

2/ Have dedicated templates created where your staff can copy and edit to their colleagues or external partners. 

Ghosting should never be an option, particularly in the world where we rely on electronic communications however as many are experiencing ghosting and having a negative impact on business performance, it is a business leaders duty to remove such behaviours, for personal development and the business performance. 

The simple message: identify the issue => train staff => remove the fear => remove bad behaviours and => improve how you operate as a business. 

Here are the big problems business face and how to address them.


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Important Related Reads:

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Business Performance

The Focus Corporate Speak Bingo Card

The business world is full of corporate buzzwords, they are typically shared on a Forbes or HBR article and make way into the boardrooms and creep into email chains, slack chats and teams channels.

There are 100’s of examples but here at Focus, we have collated our personal favourites and put into a handy corporate buzzword bingo card.

Business Buzzwords From 2021

Below is a more detailed list you have likely heard each one this week

Bandwidth
Bang for buck
Blue sky thinking
Break bread
Bring to the table
Buy in
Cadence
Circle back
Closing the loop
Debrief
Deep dive
Disruptive
Disruptor
Game plan
Get ducks in a row
Get shit done
Hack hit the ground running
Hard stop
In the pipeline
Jumpstart
Lean in
lets circle back
Let’s take this offline
Leverage
Low hanging fruit
Lunch and learn
Meta
Move the needle
Moving parts
Narrative
No brainer
Offload
On the radar
Open door policy
Optics
Pain point
Pivot
Put on the record
Reach out
reinvent the wheel
Signing from the same hymn sheet
Special sauce
Strategise
Streamline
Synergy
The bottom line
There seems to be a disconnect
Thinking outside the box
Tribe
Under the bonnet
Unpack
Up the ladder
We are like family here
Wheelhouse
Win-win

Turn Buzzwords Into A Game

If you wanted to create a game with your leadership team, you could treat it like a swear jar for every mention of the buzzword you could donate the money to charity or put it towards a team meeting for when you can safely meet up or have a working from home remote lunch together.

Sign Up

If you would like weekly suggestions for you and your leadership team sign up for our weekly leadership newsletter in the form of an emailed letter.

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Leaders Letter Newsletter

Leaders Letter 32 – Make A Difference, Whatever Your Situation

18/01/2021

Dear Leaders,

Monday’s are not always anyone’s favourite day. Sunday night blues kick in, you realise you probably have numerous video calls that fill you with dread or only going to bring problems not solutions.

There is something I believe you sign up for when you join a company or sign up to be a leader and that is:

Make a difference.

Make a difference seems simple enough but many of us are wrapped up in the day, we are brought into another back to back or we are brought into other people’s political fights and we move away from making a positive difference.

Previously I wrote to you and confirmed it is always ok to move on as a leader, so today even if you know it is time to move on or you know you want to start looking for your next challenge, remember to question what difference can I make in the time before I leave?

Making a difference can be with the company as a whole, it could be making a difference for your team, it could be making a difference in someone’s career by helping them to improve or they deserve your time with coaching or mentorship.

Decide to make the difference today, take 30 minutes to identify how and where you can and take it on as a personal project to make the difference in the next few weeks.

Have a great week making a difference.

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

Categories
Friday Focus

Friday Focus – 15th January

In today’s five for Friday, we share five simple tips to improve the next couple of weeks ahead.

  1. 30:30 Rule – 30 minutes at the start of your day to review or create your to-do list of the most important actions.
    30 minutes at the end of the day to review your list, write down 3 achievements and write down the important information you need to address the following business day. Removing those problems from your mind onto paper or centralise system allows you to reduce the anxiety or stress around it.
  2. Team Or Department AMA Session – At the end of each plan out an AMA session where you, your team or department offer an AMA session for the rest of the business can ask work-related questions.
    This is an excellent read to help you prepare or create company-wide AMA.
  3. Ask your team for ideas – Many teams are looking for a chance to show off their ideas and their solutions to the problems they see. Book a time slot in where you and the team or department present their ideas and score these ideas.
    Organise with a simple three-box template:
    1. The problem you are solving? (How much is this costing us?)
    2. Why Now?
    3. The 5 things needed to make this successful?
    This will help with team morale and encourage ideas and collaboration. You do not have to commit to any ideas but there will likely be a couple of brilliant ideas.
  4. Develop out your Department Joker – as we have called out in the department joker, they are a brilliant member of your company and bring teams closer together.
    Book in a time where you can arrange to develop your colleague and help them to take on more responsibility. This might seem extra work but these colleagues are often overlooked and turn out to be brilliant mentors or coaches.
  5. 30:to:25 – Meetings are the bane of all professionals currently. Reduce your meeting defaults down from 30 to 25 minutes, reduce an hour meeting to 50 minutes. Timeboxing is the secret to getting through meetings with good agenda’s. If you are in back to backs typically this will free up at least 25 minutes per day.
    Read optimise your meetings for extra help and context.

Categories
Business Performance

The Big Problems Within Organisations Today & The Actions To Take

Speaking to numerous leaders over the past year, there are a huge number of challenges we face in this forced remote-first world.

Many issues have continued, alongside many existing offline problems have been forced online and actually highlighted these issues or brought to a head.

Here are the five most common problems Focus undercovered and some of the actions you should take to address these issues.

Problem 1 – Knowledge Clustering
Teams end up thinking the same, you slowly create clone-like teams. By default, all thinking and training become the same and ideas and execution ends up the same.

Action:
Flip this the head:

  • Open knowledge up between teams
  • Enable teams within departments to think and operate differently.
  • Create a shared knowledge centre and share ideas and concepts
  • Share what you are working on and encourage adding someone from a team to observe and interact with projects.
  • Encourage cross-functional training and bring in external (remote)

A follow-up article to read – Bad HiPPO’s = Bad Companies


Problem 2 – Leadership Smarts Blindness
“The Leadership team” is often seen as the smartest or know best, so teams struggle to challenge. Struggle to challenge creates trust issues and can push some high performers to leave.

Action:

  • Invite challenges and debate to improve company culture and performance.
  • Allow teams to create a way to challenge the idea or ideate better ideas and fixes.

A follow-up article to read – Leadership Principles


Problem 3 – Dominance Dynamics
The flow of information and the lack of flow kills businesses far quicker than competitors do. Many leadership teams and managers struggle to communicate important projects to their teams, this is often down to overly discussing in management team meetings. Important initiatives are also lost down to information hoarding and clearly being able to share information.

Action:

  • Open up communications
  • Always have kick-off to all projects, create an agreed document to guide how to effectively start projects
  • Open up your meeting notes with actions and decision and why impacts the people and the business.
  • Create and share a decision document to show how decisions are made and when these need to be actioned and delivered upon

A follow-up article to read – The leadership cult of confusion, chaos and fear


Problem 4 – Fixed Mindset
Leaders often do not accept contributions from their department or from their team members as can be seen as questioning their leadership. This has been an issue for many users, dominance leaders can feel threatened and struggle to accept contributions or ideas.

Action:

  • Open up contributions from everyone but provide a framework to allow feedback and suggested improvements.
  • The way to introduce a growth mindset is to allow teams to question, debate existing issues, build out ways of testing, building it better or differently.

A follow-up article to read – It’s time to rethink management teams with management pods


Problem 5 – Restricting Network Connections
Companies restrict networking and connection between teams. Through numerous pieces of research, it has been proven you are only as good as the networks you are in. 

Action:

  • Many colleagues rarely get to work together or cross-functionally, a person in finance might have some of the best ideas to improve performance but are not allowed a stage or connection to offer this.
  • The Customer Experience will likely have an interesting take for the Marketing or design team.
  • Enable nodes to grow by enabling connections, offering ways for those who do not typically work together to collaborate and tackle internal issues.

A follow-up article to read – Productive working relationships

If you are experiencing any of these issues and may struggle to implement these, happily reach out below:


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