As we moved into the months of January and February a lot of our focus was on getting up to speed, and with the pandemic taking a lot of attention in recent months, some of these activities may not have been on the radar as much. I thought it would be useful to go back and take a look at these areas:
#1 – Team Meetings – Make them consistent and regular. It’s likely that you won’t be able to have everyone at the table (or the screen). Make sure that you create shared team agreements of what team members need to do if they are not present for meetings.
#2 – Meetings with Your Boss – Have you scheduled in time with your direct line manager? Keeping visible and being in regular communication is essential in today’s workplace. Corporate priorities can change quickly as can your boss’ priorities. How often are the two of you meeting? What format are you using? What’s important for them to know?
#3 – One-on-Ones with The Team – While group and team meetings are great, team members still need some 1-1 time. Be sure to schedule in some time with your team on a regular basis. Are you aiming for monthly 1-1 conversations? Quarterly deeper dives? Daily touchpoints? As a team talk about expectations and make agreements about who is responsible for scheduling and follow up.
#4 – Team Development Time – As I shared in yesterday’s Effective Virtual Conversations tip, team development time is critical and is often overlooked for virtual teams. Teams don’t just excel by osmosis! They need time to get to know each other, clarify how they are operating and focus in on what’s important.
#5 – Strategic Thinking Time — Are you leaving yourself enough time for reflection and thinking? Be sure to leave in enough time for strategic thinking. This can include creating, or revisiting your VISION, MISSION and MANDATE. Taking time to think strategically is important so that you have a clear big picture with a longer-term horizon. With things changing rapidly, the strategic horizon of 1, 3 or 5 years down the road can be invaluable in helping us keep moving, and not getting too set back by the small changes which can feel frenetic.
#6 — Time to Get Things Done — With meetings, communication and email taking a lot of time, what time are you leaving for yourself to get things done? For some professionals, it means coming into the office early to tackle key tasks for 30-60 minutes before others arrive. For others, it means booking a conference room and closing the door. Notice when you are most productive and when it’s important to get things done.
# 7 – Learning Time – What are your learning and development goals this year? Embracing ongoing learning has never been more important. What are the skills, processes and approaches which are going to help you do your best work? Note that learning can take many forms: including in-person programming, virtual learning as well as on-demand learning. Finally, peer learning (see #9) is another set of approaches.
#8 – Feedback Time – What feedback touchpoints are you building in throughout the year? Feedback in many organizations has moved to an ongoing cycle, and it can be important to make sure that it is happening regularly. Block off time in your schedule to get it done.
#9 – Peer Learning Time/Mentoring Time — What is the peer learning you want to undertake this year? Is it possible to do some job shadowing or pair with a peer partner throughout the year to compare notes, share resources and learn from each other?
In addition to peer learning, what about identifying a mentor in your organization or industry who can share their experience in order to help you understand “what’s below the waterline”?
#10 – Time Within Your Industry or Outside Your Regular Scope of Work — Finally, industry connections are key. Keeping current in your area of work may be as important, or more important, in the medium- and longer-term. What connection into professional associations are going to support you this year?
What do you want to make sure you make time to focus on?
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