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Sebastian

@sebastian_m358

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The agile framework

The agile framework is about optimizing performance. One way to inspire that improvement and help teams grow in the process is by celebrating wins and setbacks.

@sebastian_m358

Why And How Successful Teams Celebrate Wins And Failures

blog.trello.com

  • Celebrating wins are important because they help keep the team's morale up. When teams move quickly from one project to another, it can feel like a joyless process without deliberate celebrations.
  • Success may occur on a new experiment, and the team might want to pour more effort into it in the future. Without celebration, these moments may pass unnoticed and unexploited.
  • Identifying woes is important because it allows teams to notice what's not working, allowing them to make the necessary changes.

The first step of incorporating wins and failures into agile is creating a safe environment where all feedback will be encouraged and welcomed.

  • As for feedback, accept it gracefully, and use it to grow - even if it is difficult to hear. When you lead by example, your team will follow.
  • Banish blame. Don't point fingers when something goes wrong on your team. If the team is worried they'll be reprimanded, they will be less likely to take risks. Instead, reframe mistakes as learning opportunities.
  • Identify any threats to psychological safety and deal with them immediately. It takes one person to create a hostile and unsafe environment, for example, by yelling at or shaming people when they make mistakes.

... and celebrate them every few weeks.

The maximum time between these retrospectives should be three weeks. Any longer and people will start to forget the realities of the situation. Newer teams that are still finding their groove should schedule more frequent meetings.

To make the most of celebrating the wins and failures, share them with other teams and co-workers. It can increase morale and get your team the recognition they deserve.

Public "kudos" boards, where the entire organization can post, can be a great visual. Sharing challenges with the rest of your company may feel difficult, but the learning opportunity can help the entire organization.

Addressing failures is about listening to your team members' challenges and then finding ways to remove the obstacles. It's about hearing what they need to do things right, then providing it.

For example, if your team missed a major deadline, ask more in-depth questions to determine where the bottleneck happened, such as communicating with other stakeholders. Consider tools that enable better communication and collaboration between teams.

When you celebrate wins and failures, your team should walk away with an actionable plan to change things moving forward.

Teams want to be left alone to do the work and be trusted that they can do it. If you desire this practice to lead to growth within your team, give them the autonomy to make those changes.

Emotional intelligence and networking

The way we search for jobs has changed over the last few years. According to research, 85% of jobs are filled through networking, not through looking for postings and applying directly.

Networking is not easy to do, especially for those who are naturally more introverted. It requires you to put yourself out there. With the right strategy, time, effort, and patience it can result in obtaining the job you want. Using your emotional intelligence can help you to network effectively.

How emotional intelligence can help you find your next job

fastcompany.com

Most organization will fill positions internally with people they are familiar with and trust, rather than taking a greater risk with an outsider.

Think strategically about all your social media profiles and posts. Consider what is likely to impress a potential employer, such as your achievements and awards, the teams you are part of, and volunteer activities.

Platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter can be used to find people in your field or industry you want to work for. Look at their profile for anything similar that you can connect with, such as similar goals or interests.

Then reach out. Ask if you can have a bit of their time to ask some questions. If they agree, ensure to have well-prepared questions. The purpose is to gather information and make a connection, not to pitch yourself.

Look for opportunities to do something for your connection.

When someone connects with you on LinkedIn, thank them and ask if there is anything you can do for them. It can lead to valuable connections and partnerships. Always follow up your meeting with a thank-you note.

The sooner you start networking, the more potential results will come your way. Maintain your connections by looking for opportunities to support the people in your network.

Write positive reviews and let them know. Add comments on their blogs and posts. Acknowledge and compliment them on any promotions they receive. Even if the connection does not lead anywhere, you've gained experience that will help in future efforts.

Job searching: Consider the company's culture

When you want to work for a company, its culture might be the most important thing to consider during your search.

Culture refers to an organization's shared beliefs and values. It is often established by leaders and reinforced through various methods. You will want to find a culture that aligns with your values and will give you a sense of purpose.

How to Find Out if a Company’s Culture is Right for You

hbr.org

A company's culture can be found online. Companies will have a mission, vision, and culture statement available online. Job seekers should pay attention to the nuances of language.

  • Pay attention to how postings are written. The wording can reveal beliefs and priorities. For example, perks like happy hours may indicate a lack of work-life balance.
  • Use a gender bias decoder. Job descriptions that focus on words like competitive, dominant, or leader may lower female candidates' responses.
  • Check out job review boards like Glassdoor. Reading anonymous reviews from current and former employees will give you insight.
  • Do some digging on social media. Scroll back to times of controversy or uncertainty to see how they reacted to social movements, civil unrest, racism, or public health matters.

Whether your interview is in-person or virtual, prepare specific questions to get more detailed answers on the culture. For example:

  • When someone drops the ball on a project, how does your team handle it?
  • When there is a conflict cross-functionally, how do people sort it out?
  • When people are working remotely, how does the company ensure there is a sense of community?

Knowing how a company answered specific questions (even if they responded vaguely) will give you a better idea of what to expect if you accept the offer.

If you have already accepted an offer, intentionally seek out information by creating opportunities to connect with others. Some companies may need a few nudges to provide a more inclusive onboarding experience.

Before your first day, ask:

  • Are there are any handbooks or other resources to help me learn more about the company?
  • What social platforms are the organization active on?
  • Is there anyone on the team who want to pair up with me, as a remote onboarding buddy?
Regular Small Talk

These few weekly half-hours small talk make work more enjoyable. Communication barriers are lowered and channels smoothened.

Mutual reliance, understanding, and coordination increase. Slowing down and making social time helps people be better teammates.

Feeling Connection As A Remote Worker? It's About The Little Things

blog.trello.com

Nonvirtual work cements social relationships. And for remote workers, being committed to making an effort and spending resources to make remote work feel personal and connected can replace that.

Just scheduling a video call once a week and having some pleasant small talk can be enough to build relationships that last. 

Serendipity and being open to the unexpected

Serendipity is making unexpected discoveries. It is not entirely controllable nor predictable. It means seeing solutions where others find none.

In a rapidly changing world, we don't know which problems to solve or which resources to develop. To meet this challenge, we must learn to accept the limitations of planning and welcome the potential of the unexpected.

How to make serendipity happen in the workplace

weforum.org

Several companies design flexible structures and processes to cope with the unexpected. Uncertainty presents not only a challenge but also a potential opportunity.

  • The company, Haier, developed a 'platform ecosystem' where employees can present their ideas to an investment committee.
  • They also developed a digital ecosystem around users where the user is the core.
  • A culture of innovation is encouraged by rewarding autonomous decision-making and encouraging employee teams to find external partners to develop ideas.
  • Other companies focus on coffee trials, where you are randomly paired up with other employees over lunch.
The steady rise of remote workers

Over the last decade, remote working has become more and more popular.

  • In 2003, 19.6 percent of people were considered remote workers.
  • In 2015, the number has climbed to 24.1 percent.
  • A 2019 study of over 1200 full-time workers showed that 62 percent of people were remote workers.
  • With the pandemic in 2020, even more people are forced to telecommute, and working from home became the norm.

According to many outlets, remote work is here to stay.

Remote working versus working in an office

bigthink.com

While there are many benefits to working from home, we need to be aware of a few things.

  • Remote workers may be working on average 3.13 more hours at home than at work. Over time, it can become detrimental to your mental health and your productivity.
  • You're eating and exercise habits may become worse while you're working from home. Fifty percent of respondents to the Bluejeans survey say they have not been able to exercise regularly.
  • Distractions can cut your productivity. The most commonly reported distractions that remote workers face are taking care of kids (27.6 percent), scrolling through social media (26.5 percent), checking on the news (26.1 percent), and getting distracted by streaming services (9.7 percent).

The rapid shift to remote working has proven many jobs are capable of being done at home. There are some changes that we need to make if this is going to continue.

  • Separate your home and work responsibilities. Between checking the news and taking care of your children, you may feel pressure to work more.
  • Take regular breaks from work, even just for 10 minutes. It is easy to feel that you're always "being on" - which is how burnout happens. Periodically "signing off" allows you to recharge.
  • A solution may be fewer days per week at home. A 4-day workweek can improve worker's productivity by up to 40 percent.
Lower accountability

Procrastinating is even easier when you have no one looking over your shoulder. Lower accountability can make procrastination more likely at home.

And without the whole context of an office, it’s much easier to postpone or dismiss altogether unpleasant tasks. Those who have a lower frustration tolerance are much more likely to procrastinate: they’re the people who get up from their desk and find a distraction.

Why are some people better at working from home than others?

bbc.com

People with high frustration tolerances are the ones that generally succeed at remote work. And you can take steps to raise your frustration tolerance and become more conscientious by working on your impulsivity.

A non-conscientious person will find another activity (a distraction most likely) the moment something challenging or uncomfortable comes up. They have to be more conscious to stay in the moment: count to five or take five deep breaths, for example.

When work and personal activities are occurring in the same space, there are no cues for you to behave the way you do at work while you are outside your physical office.

Those who work well from home create boundaries in a work-life world without them. Then, once these parameters are established, people who commit fewer ‘boundary violations’ are better off.

  • Extroverted people may have a more difficult time working from home without the regular spontaneous office chats.
  • Remote working is not necessarily heaven for an introvert either. Even though they may thrive working alone, introverts can find video calls difficult due to discomfort with being the sole focus of a camera as well as speaking up in group chats.
Remote Workshops

Collaborative workshops in a conference room where bright minds work shoulder-to-shoulder is an effective way to foster innovative ideas and forging intangible connections.

Remote workshops, which are increasingly the new reality, find it challenging to create that ‘magic’.

How to faciliate a remote workshop

invisionapp.com

Workshops are ‘co-creation’ time with people who have varied disciplines, backgrounds, and perspectives. 

To make these people show up, we need to make the invitations intriguing and something that provides value to the participant. It helps to send the invitations in advance, with follow-ups.

Video Conferencing is a must-have for a remote workshop, while chat tools are not effective. In case there is any audio or video problem, phone in and take everyone into a conference call with your phone.

Collaborative tools: The whiteboards, sharpies, and post-it-notes can be replicated virtually with software like Invision Freehand for example.

Make use of the collaborative tools in such a way that it facilitates participation and innovation in the participants. It helps to make the participants feel special.

The soft skills to use: Acknowledging the participant and show gratitude for the time energy they are investing.

By providing ample break times, participants will be in the right mental space and feel homely and comfortable. They can be given 'stretch and reflect' times, keeping them creative and relaxed. It helps to provide them with an outline in the beginning.

Global companies, from the UK to the US, Japan to South Korea, have recently rolled out mandatory work-from-home policies amid the spread of the new virus.

Working from home will become the new normal for many. Some employees will be working from home for the first time, and need to figure out how to stay on task.

How to work from home, the right way

bbc.com

The key to working from home is clear communication with your boss. Your manager might not be used to managing people virtually or may not have a ready-to-go suite of tools for remote workers.

To prevent a breakdown in communication, you need to know exactly what's expected of you from day-to-day. Ask your boss for a 10-minute video call to start and end the day. Reach out to coworkers and managers regularly so that you won't get forgotten.

  • Don't lounge around in your pajamas. Treat it like a real job.
  • Create a space exclusively for work that is removed from distractions, just like you would at your office desk.
  • Create boundaries within your home that your family members understand when you're 'at work.'
  • Bookend your day. If you can't enter and leave a physical office that creates more precise boundaries, use psychological transitions like a 20-minute coffee in the morning, then exercise right after work.

The abrupt shift from an office to a home environment could leave you struggling to get used to the sudden change.

Try to sustain a semblance of normalcy. Try virtual pizza parties or remote happy hours. Celebrate birthdays, give public praise for goals reached, and projects completed. Make time for casual conversations.

These are stressful times. You may worry about negative headlines or sick loved ones and put off communicating with your colleagues, contributing to feelings of isolation, which may lead to depression.

Solutions to this include as much face-to-face interaction online as possible through video calls, regular manager check-ins, and regular meetings with no agenda, like grabbing coffee or a drink.

We have to get over the belief that being competent and qualified means we shouldn't need help finding a new job.

We feel this way because networking makes us feel vulnerable. We are also overconfident in a linear click-apply-send process on job sites.

How to find your next job: Talk to the people you already know

ideas.ted.com

Hiring managers want job candidates whom they know they can trust. That is why they prefer candidates who come through personal referrals.

Referrals have a 50 percent chance of getting an interview, while non-referrals have only a 3 percent chance. Referrals or internal candidates fill up to 80 percent of jobs.

Networking is not just talking to strangers - it is also initiating career conversations with your existing acquaintances.

Keep these questions in mind: Can your siblings, neighbors, friends, hairdresser or other regular contacts describe your aspirations and particular expertise in one or two sentences? Can you explain theirs?

Networking with the people you already know shouldn't be diffciut.

Be curious about their goals first. Ask, "what's one goal you have for this year?" Most people will ask you the same question in turn. The conversations can lead to brainstorming or introductions.

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