Three characteristics make Humans  superior to other species: 1) our ability to quickly adapt; 2) our ability to develop tools & technologies; 3) our ability to coordinate and act collectively. The current sanitary crisis might put our civilisations and economies under stress but the earth will keep rotating.

The challenge for your organisation

The big challenge organisations and teams have to face currently is how to guarantee business continuity - adjust ways of workings - and to keep building the future. In that context, people remain companies's n°1 asset: researches have shown that - in stable times - 70% of organisational performance is related to human factors. Failing to implement effective people-centric routines cost organisations a total of $60bn per year (source: PMI). This is mainly related to:

  • Misalignment and coordination issues leading to lower performance
  • Misunderstanding, disengagement and frustration among teams
  • Sudden failure or delays in projects and transformation programs

The current stress we are currently undergoing will increase the necessity take care of our teams and implement routines to maximise alignement within working groups. Indeed, the sudden and massive adoption of remote work to prevent large-scale contamination will increase social distance both physically and psychologically.

With the COVID-19 crisis accelerating, most teams will be working remotely for several weeks - accelerating the need to adopt efficient team routines and best-practices to ensure business continuity.

As a consequence, it will be very difficult to capture team's signals, understanding what is working well and what needs to be adjusted, which can lead to dramatic productivity drops after one or two weeks.

The coffee machine is gone! What can we do now?

How to keep your team synced: Take the pulse, Understand, Act as one

Remote work requires teams to be perfectly organised and synced to perform. The good things is that teams can now access and quickly implement proven routines from agile methodologies and project management best-practices.

OKRs in combination with daily check-in are now well democratised among teams to help them getting work done. In parallel, new routines have emerged to continuously improve the team: team health-checks and team retrospectives. The objective is to continuously improve team's ways of working and discuss critical topics for the team that are not tracked in the team to-dos: we are talking about team's weak signals or soft factors.

How does it works concretely:

1) Capture weak signals by taking the pulse of the team

On a regular basis - weekly or bi-weekly -, gather feedback about how the team is doing. For example: Are team objectives clear? Do we communicate effectively as a team? Are we setting the right priorities? How might we perform better as a team?...

As everyone can have relevant ideas on how to do things better, everyone should be surveyed and feedback should be 100% anonymous to encourage participation. Last but not least, it should be short: it should not take more than 5 minutes per week.

2) Understanding team dynamics: focus on what matters

Once all feedback are collected, taking a few minutes to identify a maximum of 3 takeaways and share them openly with the group. If the team can directly access the results, the better: transparent information about the team situation is powerful and virtuous asset for organisations.

3) Act as one: discuss, decide and empower the team to act

During a 15 minutes weekly team meeting, discuss the 3 most important takeaways, identify what needs to be done and empower the team to act. For each point identify a clear action to undertake (even small), set a time horizon as well as an owner and communicate once the action is completed! Closing the feedback loop ist critical to maintain a virtuous feedback cycle within the team.

Implementing a team health-check routines - with tools like Steerio - will enable you to keep your team synced, capture team weak signals, identify on what needs to be improved: implementing a real team-centric management. In time where social distance is significant, don't forget that human performance is your most precious asset so keep your team together!