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51 STASHED IDEAS

Meetings can be very effective for building on ideas but not for working from scratch.

People should come prepared to brainstorming sessions to bounce ideas around, but it is only helpful if everyone brings a few ideas or pitches. Otherwise, people sit in awkward silence.

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@emerson55

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Career

Meetings have an intended purpose

Some people try to use meetings to achieve things that meetings won't work for. That can turn an intelligent group into a dull and mean monster.

Types of meetings to avoid:

  • Daily standups or status updates.
  • Anything without an agenda.
  • A meeting with too many people.
  • Brainstorming from scratch.

It's not that all meetings are bad, just that there are better tools to accomplish the job.

Five people can have a productive meeting, but 300 people can't.

Jeff Bezos uses the two-pizza rule to decide if he will attend a meeting: He will only attend if two pizzas can feed the whole group. The basic idea is that one should consider where to draw the line for your team. If the meeting is not productive, cut back on the number of people you invite.

A bot can replace the daily standup meeting to quickly find out want everyone on your team is doing. The bot asks all the questions that usually come up during standup, compiles them into a report and posts everything in a public channel.

You don't have to build a bot. A daily email thread or a quick post in your team chat app can let everyone know what you're up to.

To consider if a regular meeting should happen, drop them and see what happens.

A team can have a meeting every second week and still feel like they get enough face-time. While it is easy to default to a weekly meeting, we should ask ourselves if it is necessary.

A meeting where people can't stick to an agenda should not take place.

Meetings should be an exception, not the rule. If you can't explain in an agenda what the meeting is for, you shouldn't have one. If everything on the agenda is dealt with, you should end the meeting, even if there is time left.

Various people working together in an organization form groups that develop unique thought patterns and behaviour.

Internal interaction in many such groups can be collaborative, task-oriented or just a broad focus on the primary goal.

Culture is an ever-evolving, emergent occurrence. Leaders often take employees of off-site gatherings, read a book, or try to rewrite the company’s values and vision.

It will only be an eye-wash if it does not impact the employee's daily experience at work or if the leaders are not adaptive to employees needs.

As new people join the organization, the company culture further evolves, leading to new challenges related to scalability, communication, decision-making and the various work-flow patterns.

As the internal integration clashes with the various external factors, the innovative and fast-moving qualities often turn into frozen, bureaucratic systems.

Thinking of company culture as traffic, the leader needs to intentionally guide and shape the environment in which the culture evolves.

Example: Just talking about a flexible working environment isn’t enough if the lower-level employees are not given the discretion or choice.

The People Make The Company

A growing company is in essence a team of individuals of varying skills who come from different cultures, creating a unique company culture by working together.

This beehive of individuals shapes the assumptions, beliefs and values of the organization, apart from the surface-level elements like branding, company benefits, hierarchy and the various HR policies.

  • Not everything that was done in the office is effective or even advisable in a remote setting where everyone is at home juggling work and personal stuff.
  • We need to understand the various subtleties and the many touchpoints of working closely with a remote team, and understand that it is not one-size-fits-all.
  • We need to adapt and fine-tune our interactions to facilitate a thriving relationship with our peers and bosses.

Communication, especially the asynchronous, written variety, is the main pillar of remote working.

Communication tools like Slack are to be used smartly to be really effective, and not to be turned into dumping grounds of information that is hardly visible to all remote workers. When needed, one can use real-time communication to touch base with everyone, enabling connectedness and a sense of belonging, without being imposing.

Remote Work: Doing The New

Remote working needs to be deconstructed and distilled based on ‘first principles’ of what problem is getting solved, and how best a project or task can be handled by the entire team in an entirely new setting.

Instead of resorting to old habits (like making a phone call to colleagues for simple things) or insisting on doing stuff only for the sake of it, one needs to completely rethink about work interactions, methods and values.

Remote work requires thoughtfulness, precision and planning. Things cannot be done ad hoc in office corridors and lobbies anymore.

Many colleagues share different time zones and cannot participate in a synchronous exchange of information.

  • In a remote setting, you have to critically think and plan ahead, and communicate a query with complete information and context.
  • You can refer to previous solutions to the problem in order to save the time of others, who might try the same thing.
  • While answering a query, you have to be well-researched, contextual, and thorough, even going to the extent of providing references and documentation to support the suggested solution.
  1. Review: Discuss goals and explain the various roles and responsibilities to each of the team members.
  2. Set-Up: Anticipate a scenario where the project is over and was a disaster.
  3. Brainstorm: Each team member notes the reasons it could have failed, which is easier to imagine now that the failure has been established.
  4. Share And Discuss: Everyone shares and discusses, getting into the details of the failure.
  5. Improve The Plan: Now that the prospective hindsight has been utilized, one can review and improve the plan using the new information.

Just one ‘Pre-Mortem’ meeting at the beginning of the project can uncover many blind spots, recalibrating the mindset of all the team members.

Anticipating the future also fosters honest and open communication, and quells any fear.

Prospective Hindsight

After a project ends, team members often reflect on what worked, and what did not, something known as post-mortem documentation.

What is often overlooked is a pre-mortem exercise where a team uses visualization and second-level thinking to imagine the various scenarios which could lead to failure and then work backwards, using prospective hindsight.

  • Optimism Bias is when we are sure about the success of a certain project or venture and do not take into account the scenarios of failure.
  • Temporal Discounting is a cognitive error where we make decisions taking into account the present condition, and not bothering about any future consequences.

Monitoring software that checks time spent on different applications, chat response time, and keystroke recording is now in great demand.

HR departments worldwide are fueling the use of technology to have a way to control the employees that are now no longer in the office.

The sound of the office, with printers, keyboards and coffee machines is something that is missed so much that many are a Spotify playlist of workplace sounds while working from home.

Employees miss the office so much that they are not finding the work from home forever model to be enticing, even after they are offered a bonus to stay home.

Longing For The Office Culture
  • Earlier a privilege for a few, work from home became a norm for most office-goers due to the ongoing pandemic and is likely to remain for the rest of the year.
  • The shift towards work from home, which became necessary for most companies, was thought to be blissful in the minds of employees, while the bosses viewed it with suspicion.
  • Employees are slowly finding out that it is lonely sitting in front of the screen at home and are missing the office culture, the sharing of ideas and socializing with fellow employees.
  • Though employees are happy to see the demise of daily commutes and parking hassles, they are finding out that there is no work-life balance at home.
  • Most workers live in apartments that aren’t suitable for 8 to 10 hours of work every day, as it was never designed to be a full-fledged office.
  • Many employees would want to get back to offices as soon as possible due to social and mental issues, like the feeling of loneliness at home.

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