5 Ways to Maintain Meeting Schedules With Flexible Work Arrangements

Jul 25, 2021 by Lisa Michaels in remote work, guest post (5 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about establishing meeting schedules in the face of flexible work arrangements from Lisa Michaels, a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland, Oregon.

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For years, companies have been making the shift towards a more flexible work environment. The cloud and today’s ultra-fast internet connections allow people to stay informed and aligned no matter where they are.

However, though many organizations were beginning to shift towards remote working opportunities, it wasn’t until 2020 when we saw the trend explode.

The pandemic of 2020 meant many companies had to choose between shutting down the company or finding a way for staff to work from home.

According to Gartner, the events of the year shattered the paradigm of the standard workplace schedule forever.

The question for today’s companies isn’t whether remote working opportunities are necessary, but how can they ensure the continued productivity of their employees in a remote environment, particularly when it comes to arranging meetings between disconnected parties?

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Topics: remote work, guest post

Leading Successful All-Hands Meetings: Avoid Common Mistakes and Advance Your Mission

Jul 22, 2021 by Elise Keith in meeting design (17 minute read)

Most organizations host regular meetings involving everyone on their teams.
These meetings go by many names: all-hands, all-staff, all teams, town halls, business update meetings, Teatime, TGIF, and more. This form of meeting, where you gather everyone in your tribe at the same time, is thousands of years old and practiced by every kind of group.  Unfortunately, none of these names provide much guidance about how to make these meetings worthwhile.

Like every meeting, the key to a great all-hands meeting is to clearly define the purpose and intended outcomes in advance. Why do you host these meetings? What should be different afterward as a result?

"All Hands" just describes the attendee list.

I've been asked how to improve all-hands meetings by several clients over the years. In this article, I've pulled together all those separate bits of advice in one place.

Read on to learn:

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Topics: meeting design

A Process for Navigating Your Company's Changing Way of Working

Jul 14, 2021 by Elise Keith (7 minute read)

I've been thinking a lot about how some teams are designed to operate with uncertainty, but most are not.

The teams that operate in uncertain conditions never know what they'll face when they show up to work. Firefighters, athletes, investigators: they can't plan what will happen each day. Instead, they develop skills for performing in a variety of situations, tools for assessing the situation they find themselves in, and then respond with their best guess at what they believe will work in the moment.

If the first attempt doesn't work, then they update their thinking, make a new decision, and try something else.

Decide - see real world results - get information - update mental models - update decision making rules - decide again
Teams respond, adapt, and improve by using approaches like Chris Argyris's double-loop learning. So smart!

Right now, there's a lot of uncertainty surrounding the return to the workplace. Should we try to get everyone back into the office? If so, when? Or how often?

The right choices aren't clear.

Of course, the experts say... so, so many things!

That all our employees will quit if we don't support remote work. Or hybrid work. That we have to be flexible, but that hybrid teams are the hardest to run and the most likely to increase inequality.

Whatever it is we choose, we'll probably get it wrong. We also absolutely must communicate these choices clearly with our teams, because all this uncertainty is burning people out.

Then we'll never hear the end of it. Our teams will probably tell us all the ways our decisions are wrong if we ask. Or if we don't, they'll just leave.

Aha.

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Make Better Decisions Faster by Standardizing Your Decision-Making Criteria

Jul 9, 2021 by Elise Keith in tips & techniques (7 minute read)

Note: These criteria were originally shared as part of our guide to establishing an effective decision-making process

Have you ever responded to a Request For Proposal (RFP), with its pages and pages of Musts, Shoulds, and Nice to Have selection criteria?

Or, let's keep it simple. Have you ever worked with your team to decide where you should go for lunch?

If you've ever chosen between multiple viable options, you've used decision-making criteria to make that choice.

Or maybe not? Maybe you and your team acted out this scene?

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Topics: tips & techniques

It's Time to Talk About Your Meetings. Here's How to Get Started.

Apr 30, 2021 by Elise Keith in meeting culture (7 minute read)

"How can we reduce the time we're spending in meetings?"

I used to love it when clients asked me this, because wow - what a softball! This is easy math. To reduce time wasted in unproductive meetings, you can:

  1. Cancel meetings.
    Look for any meeting that lacks a clear purpose or goals, and get rid of it.

  2. Shorten meetings.
    Whack 10 minutes off of every recurring meeting on your calendar, and stick to the new time limit.

  3. Invite fewer people.
    Eliminate meeting time for those people, who probably have better things to do anyway.

  4. Assign a timekeeper.
    This increases your team's awareness of time passing in the meeting and your odds of ending on time or early.

Here's a quicky video summing up these easy-math tips.

 

But do these simple answers help the smart professionals asking this question? 

No.

Of course not, because this isn't really a math question.

This is a question about how to change a team's meeting culture.

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Topics: meeting culture

Reasons to Reconsider How Data Is Shared in Remote Meetings

Apr 27, 2021 by Lisa Michaels in remote work, guest post (5 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about information security in meetings from Lisa Michaels, a thriving content marketing consultant from Portland, Oregon.

The way we work has changed on a fundamental level.

These days, around 56.8% of US employees are working remotely, and there’s a good chance that the trend for flexible working will continue to grow.

Remote and hybrid workforces can’t always meet in-person to share ideas and discuss projects.

Instead, they need to access online tools that bring them face-to-face with teams wherever they are.

The good news is that video conferencing and remote meeting services allow your staff to remain productive in any environment.

On the other hand, rushing into a meeting solution without proper planning can be dangerous from a security and privacy perspective.

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Topics: remote work, guest post

How to Give Positive Feedback to Your Team During a Meeting

Mar 22, 2021 by Richard Fendler in leadership & facilitation, guest post (4 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about giving positive feedback in meetings from Richard Fendler, a goal-oriented project manager and team leader.

Meetings are an opportunity to discuss projects, provide updates, share ideas and make tough decisions. In amongst all this, it is important to remember that they can also be used by managers to give team members the positive feedback they need to feel valued and fulfilled in their role.

The challenge, then, is to work out the best way to actually give this feedback, especially now that more meetings are taking place virtually rather than face-to-face.

With that in mind, here are just a few ways you can be proactively positive towards your workers while meetings are underway, without this derailing proceedings and while ensuring that meetings have value.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, guest post

How to Use Body Language in Virtual Meetings and Interviews

Feb 21, 2021 by Sharon Koifman in remote work, guest post (5 minute read)

Hello friends! Please enjoy this guest post about body language tips from Sharon Koifman, founder and president of distantjob.com.

The new normal is now the norm that really isn't new anymore and it's here to stay.

All of us are in a much better place, don't you think? No more wasting time on long commutes, no more extra expenditure on clothing and office lunches, and a lot of video meetings—because remote work is now a lifestyle.

Video meetings and interviews are great because wearing pajamas when nobody can see them is awesome, but there's a lot more to your everyday virtual meetings that needs attention. This goes for everyone—the employee, the employer, and hiring managers.

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Topics: remote work, guest post

5 Rules for Leading Excellent Meetings with Your Team Every Day

Jan 25, 2021 by Elise Keith in leadership & facilitation, meeting design (7 minute read)

Successful businesses do the things that others know they should do …. but generally don’t.

~ Ari Weinzwig's 7th Natural Law of Business

So let's talk about those things you need to do to run great everyday business meetings with your teams. And yes, I'm going to share some guidelines you may already know.

Hopefully, you'll be inspired to follow them.

It's worth the effort. The leaders we've met who follow these "rules" enjoy more productivity, more loyalty, more engagement, better decision making, and less BS drama between team members than everyone else. And frankly, none of this is actually that hard to do.

Here are five rules for team meetings that I share with my business clients, and that I wish someone had taught me when I started my business.

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Topics: leadership & facilitation, meeting design

Hindsight is 2020: How to Run a Year-in-Review Team Retrospective

Dec 30, 2020 by Enrico Teotti in meeting design, guest post (12 minute read)

What happened? So what does that mean? Now what should we do going forward? 

In a retrospective meeting, you and your team work to answer these three questions together. When you’re reviewing a short event that just happened, your retrospective meeting might be very short as you all simply work to answer these questions directly. 

When you’re looking at something as long as a year or something involving lots of complex interrelated parts, it doesn’t work to just ask “So, what happened in 2020?” That’s more likely to encourage day drinking than useful insights. 

For something as 2020 as 2020, you’ll need to put a bit more structure in place if you want a useful result.

Introducing Enrico Teotti

That’s why we're thrilled to introduce you all to Enrico Teotti. Enrico hosts the This is Retrospective Facilitation podcast and is an active leader in the agile facilitation and coaching community.

As his holiday gift to us all, Enrico put together a meeting template we can use to try and make some useful sense out of 2020 with our teams. Check it out!

~ Team Lucid

Running an End-of-Year Retrospective

How was your year?

In this short post I'll describe one way to run an annual retrospective so you and your group can reflect on what happened this past year, discuss what you make of it, and begin to decide what the next wise actions to take next year might be.

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Topics: meeting design, guest post