Dare I say that just a few months ago, none of us could possibly have fathomed the world we currently find ourselves trying to navigate?! Not only is the human toll of this pandemic heartbreaking, the economic impact of productivity grinding to a virtual halt may have ripple effects that are felt for years to come.
As business leaders, it’s incumbent upon us not only to provide continuity of care to our clients, but also to support our teams and empower them to weather this unprecedented upheaval to “business as usual.” In addition to revisiting and adjusting your 2020 business plan and reviewing roles and responsibilities to ensure that team members can still do their jobs, the following are a few ideas worth considering – creative ways you can help keep your team more productive, better engaged and in good spirits:
- Stay focused on objectives and key results – with everyone working remotely, it’s easy to lose traction on your firm’s OKRs. However, there are a host of OKR productivity platforms and tools available to help you maintain team cohesiveness and coordination. Consider a solution like Workboard.com, Weekdone.com, Monday.com or 7Geese.com to keep driving key results.
- Upgrade team technology – these last few weeks, it seems as though almost every advisor I talk with brings one or two creative ideas to the table about how they’re actively working to empower their teams. Several have bought their team members new laptops that are more powerful and secure, while others have taken it upon themselves to pay to upgrade Internet upload and download speeds for their team.
- Improve workspaces – knowing that the current work-at-home reality may endure for a while, and that not everyone has the financial means or space for a home office, one advisor I recently spoke with opted to send each of his team members an UPLIFT desk for their homes!
- Drive virtual team productivity – from time tracking apps like Toggl, team “to-do” list apps like Wunderlist, and Teamphoria’s suite of team engagement apps, to trusted document collaboration solutions such as Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets, take time to explore the vast array of productivity tools designed for work-at-home teams.
- Hold 15-minute morning video huddles – while some people have no problem focusing when working from home, for others it can be difficult to avoid distractions. Consider scheduling a quick check-in video call each morning to help everyone on the team to be up and ready; dressed for work and focused on what needs to be achieved for the day. At ClientWise, we use Zoom for our teleconferencing and Slack.com to facilitate faster team communications.
- Create virtual “buddy systems” – as a Master Scuba Diver with PADI, I’ve learned the vital importance of having a buddy to count on. Consider creating buddy pairs within your team, along with a tree of communications, so team members can check in on one another and provide support when needed. It also presents a great opportunity for next generation owners and partners to step up to lead this initiative.
- Socialize on Google Hangouts – since we’re all feeling a bit isolated these days, think about holding a virtual Happy Hour with your team once a week to provide an opportunity for everyone to reconnect and catch-up with each other in a more relaxed and social setting.
Overcoming new hurdles
Although I’m sure we would all prefer to be back in our offices with our lives, our businesses and our economy back to where they were just a couple of months ago, there’s perhaps one positive to be gleaned from all this turmoil. It presents you – as firm leaders – with an incredible teaching moment for your next generation leaders. Many of them have never experienced a financial crisis, an economic recession, nor this kind of historic market volatility. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to help mentor them through the crisis. It will strengthen and steel their leadership for the next black swan.
Lastly, despite the challenges associated with having your whole team working remotely, don’t make the mistake of cutting corners on your compliance obligations. Even though they may be inconsequential things, remember that compliance is integral to your firm’s integrity. And while failing to properly document something under these extraordinary circumstances may be totally understandable, odds are the auditors won’t be so forgiving.
Coaching Questions from this article:
- What steps have you taken to support your team in adapting to this new reality? What additional actions could you take to enhance their productivity and sense of security?
- What are your 2020 business objectives and key results? How might these need to be modified given the current situation?
- How can you, as a leader, better tap into the technology savvy of your next generation leaders and allow them to spearhead some of these mission critical “work from home” initiatives?
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