Getting on the same page as a team is always a challenge. Staying aligned over time requires vigilance and the investment of time and effort – even more so in a pandemic, when we are often physically distanced from one another.
In “normal” times, we run into people, talk about the issues that matter, and achieve micro-alignments in these casual interactions. When we can’t do that, what happens? Unfortunately, drift is common, as people launch out to do what they think is right or consistent with the team direction. These misalignments may not be purposeful, but they do have a negative impact on the team’s collective success.
Impromptu “water cooler” conversations are more than just catching up. They allow us an opportunity to get on the same page with others, to share information and to advance the team’s goals. How do you mimic these interactions while some or all of your teammates aren’t physically close by?
- Assume everything will work out fine.
- Schedule longer meeting times. Increasing the length of virtual meetings to carefully align is not a sustainable option. After all, virtual meetings are more tiring than in-person ones, so making them longer only amplifies meeting fatigue.
- Schedule more standard-length meetings either!
- Ignore the people factor, figuring that folks just need to adjust to the new realities on their own.
- Realign even if you’re midstream. Your team is established, yet you feel you may not have done a good job aligning up front. Or the external reality has shifted, and your team needs to adjust. Spend some time NOW on these key questions: What do we need to achieve and why is it important? How will we work together?
- Schedule mini meetings to align with people regularly, even if you don’t think you need to.
- Check in with people on how they are doing (not just how their work is progressing). People are under unprecedented stress, and this can affect focus and alignment.
“Building a visionary company requires one percent vision and 99 percent alignment.” – Jim Collins and Jerry Porra
How are you staying on the same page even when distant from one or more of your team? Comment below or send us a message.
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