I’ve been saying it for years, maybe twenty.  Have a quick, stand-up, daily huddle. Everyday.  It will increase awareness between teammates.  What’s your “Main Thing” to get done today?  What are you “Stuck” on?  Any “intelligence” to share? Maybe share a “Core Value Story,?”  Then get back to work.  It will eliminate a whole lot of other meetings.  It will increase productivity.  It aligns the team around each other.

I know what you are thinking:  “Just because of the pandemic, you’re telling me to make the daily huddle less efficient or have a second daily huddle. Are you off your meds”

Thank you for your concern about my mental health.  I’m fine.  Yet, I’m serious about making the daily huddle “inefficient” or adding a second one.  It will pay off in effectiveness.  And that’s what you want.

Before everyone went to remote, the daily huddle was about efficiency, alignment, and effectiveness.  But with “shelter at home” and forced remote working, something big is missing from everyone’s equation.  Connectedness to others and something bigger than yourself.  Remember all those conversations you had when you checked in with your team or teammates, talked about the kids, the movie or show you watched, homelife challenges, or the winning home run.  You know these conversations, the ones that relationships are built on and around, the ones that show each other you care about them beyond work?  The ones that seem to happen on thier own, or when you notice someone is having a tough day, or not getting something, and you help them get through the day?

Those conversations have in large part, disappeared.  Your team is most likely feeling less connected.  They aren’t seeing their co workers, or their boss.  They aren’t getting chances to commiserate or celebrate the small obstacles or victories with anyone.  Plus, they are stressed with a new routine that maybe they didn’t ask for, and the kids are in the background instead of at school.  They are worried about the economy, their company, and their jobs.  They are worried about getting sick, or their loved ones getting sick.

If this stuff was going on, and you weren’t remote, you would be “managing by walking around” and initiating these conversations.  Can’t do that now can you?  You are out of your element.

That’s why I’m saying something that appears to be contrary to my previous advice.  Add an extra agenda time to the daily huddle, to just listen in to each other about their new struggles in life.  You go first, share yours, be vulnerable, set the example, and insist that everyone share something good or bad about their current challenges.  Don’t put a time limit on it.  Take the time necessary. And just listen, don’t solve anything.  If it is something that can be solved, just like at the previous huddle, get the people to have a separare zoom call to do that.

It will give temporay respite for what is ailing everyone. The resulting connectedness will be appreciated and the payoff will be greater effectiveness through the rest of the day.

If you don’t want to disrupt the daily huddle this way, have second huddle, later in the day, to do just the listening part I related above.

Don’t think of Zoom, or Skype, or Webex, or GotoMeeting as an efficiency tool.  Think of it as a social interaction tool.  And use it that way.

Feeling out of your element leading meetings in the remote workplace and want to get back in it.  Let’s talk about it.

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