By John Gregoire
There are moments when your expectations shift because everything is changing and is outside of your control. How you respond dictates the cost or benefit that moment will create in your own life and that of your work and organization. Change has abruptly happened to us all, and you can respond by allowing the moment to control you or you can take the opportunity to strengthen your organization, your team, and yourself.
In uncertain times a steady rhythm can be a great gift. Giving yourself, your employees, and your customers an environment and consistency they can count on could make a huge difference as you navigate a new normal. In my conversations with leaders everywhere, the most common shared belief is that we will never return to the normal we once knew; rather, the world is changing forever. The goal of this writing is to help you recognize opportunities to design and implement responses that will lead you to success and make the “new normal” a positive and exciting one.
In my experience, the most powerful tool for supervision and employee development is the rhythm you build with your team. The best tool I have found for building routine is the 7 Questions method. Bill Dann developed the method to simplify the process of building purposeful relationships with clear expectations. In its very nature, the 7 Questions method provides employees regularity, a format they can count on. The method involves meeting regularly with a subordinate to ask a series of predetermined questions (we recommend 7, you may adjust that to suit your needs). The questions are designed to identify and eliminate common barriers such as role clarity, authority, resource, or training needs.
Giving your employees a structure they can count on has proven to strengthen their ability to face challenges, increase a leader’s awareness of problems and concerns, and improve overall team performance and satisfaction. The simple act of providing a framework for discussion can improve any relationship. Right now, the relationships you have are critical to your organizational success.
As we transition our teams to productivity in the new normal, (working from home, no customer face-to-face contact, health and safety risks, etc.) finding a rhythm that works is essential to reaching your goals. Set, and keep, regular meetings with people you supervise. Use a repeated format and structure to build comfort and ease with the process. Establish shared meaning through goal development and support your employees by eliminating barriers, challenging them to achieve their goals, and recognizing them for the contribution they make. Help employees see how the work they are doing aligns with the larger organization’s mission and goals.
Now more than ever businesses and organizations need clear strategies to align efforts and light the way to the shared vision of the future. Organizations that do not have an established future vision and shared reality within the team experience performance decline, decreased engagement, and poor overall employee satisfaction. A strong articulated future vision and strategy acts as a guide for employees and provides them the necessary structure and regularity to find comfort in difficult times. If we know what we are working toward, and how we impact the path there, moments of challenge become opportunities to improve and reflect.
Change is a constant element in all organizations. Learning to provide consistency through change will result in happier employees that flock to your leadership. Provide guidance, adjust targets, and maintain a laser focus on a strong vision of the future. People long to follow leaders with passion, vision, and conviction. You can meet your employees’ needs by establishing a few simple routines. Assess your ability to deliver a successful environment by reflecting on the following questions:
- Do you have structured meetings with your team members regularly to identify and address individual performance needs?
- Could each one of your employees successfully identify how you are assessing their success?
- Does your business or organization have a clearly articulated future vision?
- Do you have key activities and goals outlined to help you reach your articulated vision?
- Does it feel good to be part of your business or organization?
If your answer was yes to most or all of the above questions, keep up the good work! If you answered no to multiple questions above, you have work to be done. A future unplanned is a future uncertain. Brainstorm the gaps and work with your leadership team to address them. This moment in time offers you an opportunity to make powerful adjustments. Use today to transform yourself into the organization or leader you idealize.
If you are interested in a no-cost conversation to start your brainstorming and get you on the right path, contact us. We would be both excited and honored to help you and your organization succeed.