Saturday, June 26, 2010

What kind of challenge are you facing?

We often throw technical solutions at adaptive challenges. For example: team communications seem to miss the mark. Let's train them on how to have productive meetings and how to use email effectively. But the deeper problems -- cultural, personal -- go left unresolved.

Or, we are overworked because we fail to delegate. Let's get a book on delegation and follow the directions step by step. But the deeper issues -- our identity is wrapped up in doing work, not telling others what to do -- will prevent us from long term quality delegation. Within a few weeks, we'll be overworked again.

When we must adapt, technical tactics will not resolve our challenges. We must find ways to alter our own -- or our team's -- mindsets.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Teleconference tips 4

Start and end the meeting successfully:
  1. Start: (5 minutes max) if your team is multi-national, assign one person each meeting to share a story or other information from his home country. If not, ask one person each meeting to start the meeting off with something motivational, funny, or a personal achievement (graduation, birth, new home, promotion, etc.)
  2. Review agenda and promise to stick to it
  3. End: "self-propelling ending" (HBS publishing) -- end the meeting with
  • who will do what by when (any decisions or agreements made during the meeting)
  • the date/time of next telecon
  • a statement of the team's purpose and a specific reason why this meeting got the team closer to its purpose ("we've hashed out some difficult decisions on the technical requirements and I thank you for your input and candor. Without that, we could have risked some major problems down the line")

Friday, June 4, 2010

Teleconference tips 3

Are you the leader for a particular telecon? If so, ensure everyone who must be on the line and focused is on the line and focused!
  1. send a reminder email (subject: telecon, project X, time, date) the day before
  2. call the most critical people (are there any people without whose input or decision the meeting is wasted?) the day before to confirm their attendance