With COVID-19, a vaccine on the way, the application of the vaccine for all of us by sometime this summer, we have a lot on our minds right now. It is hard to think about much beyond the near term with an expected higher peak over the next quarter at the same time as the vaccine beings to roll out to the public. Expectations need to be kept in check.
At the same time what does this say about collaboration, teamwork, and productivity right now and looking out 6 to 8 months from now. This article focuses on collaboration looking forward in both the near term and a longer term later in 2021. As a result of what we have been going through with the pandemic, this experience is going to impact all of us and how we work going into the future.
Staying healthy must be on everyone’s mind. Making sure you have proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, and hydration is key. To expand upon your own happiness consider the Yale course on Happiness and the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California at Berkeley here are five key points.
· Focus on gratitude at the start of your day for 5 minutes at the start of your day
· Label negative feelings
· Make decisions good enough – do your best and let it go
· Have appropriate touch with those you love
· Practice at least 10 minutes of mindfulness in the form of prayer, meditation, reflection, or yoga daily.
With these key points you also know that you need to wear a mask, stay six feet away from others, and wash your hands regularly. To be a patriotic American thinking about the health workers and those you can impact. You need to do this. Having lost friends and relatives, with health care workers in our family sharing what they see in the ICU’s, the stress on them, and the pain this causing, do the right thing. This will help you and others to remain healthy.
By taking care of yourself in this way you will be more receptive to collaboration, teamwork, and productivity. Having set the stage, let us look at teamwork and productivity.
Teamwork and productivity
As humans you know that two minds are better than one. You know that you can improve productivity when you work together with others towards a common goal. You share ideas, bring diversity, skills, and opinions to the process. You are unique and so is everyone else. You also know that relationships really matter. By building relationships with others and really connecting you can align yourself with others to make a real difference towards your common goal. By accepting others for who they are and where they are coming from, you mutually respect each other. This allows you to develop creative solutions. You motivate each other. You do this through effective communication.
Before the pandemic you had a way in which you communicated with your boss, your peers, and your subordinates. During this pandemic this likely has changed with virtual sessions, changes in workflow, and various interactions with customers, employees, and other stakeholders. What worked well? By comparison what did not work well? What will you be doing differently after the pandemic because of what you learned? Now is the time to begin thinking about this and planning for the future. Look out 6 to 8 months from now. Did you lose some productivity or gain productivity during the pandemic? Why or why not. Get behind the numbers.
· What will you be doing differently in the future?
· How did you keep everyone in the loop with meetings or calls?
· Were texts or instant messages keys?
· Are there applications with new software?
· Do you elect regularly scheduled meetings?
· How did you encourage others to share ideas?
· Was everyone included or do you need to revisit that?
· What can you do to bring people closer to one another?
· How do you share goals and accomplishments?
· What about team culture now and into the future?
With a positive upbeat team culture collaboration is enhanced. What is your attitude? Culture comes from leadership. Leadership sets the tone. By being straightforward and operating with honesty and integrity you build trust. Being open by sharing what you can broadly, and timely share really helps motivate others. Everyone wants to feel in on things. Accepting others with where they are coming from, their knowledge, skill sets, and abilities is key. An understanding of others and knowing how to work with each other’s strengths helps with both productivity and a sense of accomplishment. Set an expectation to respect everyone. Make sure everyone has a sense of responsibility, providing timely updates, and using feed forward to promote continual improvement. This approach provides a sense of well being and accountability. So, what do you need to do now and into the future?
Use tools for collaboration
What software tools, electronic white boards, or other technology may you be exploring going forward? Whatever you choose, you need to consider several elements.
· In terms of communication, where can everyone go to see in real time: tasks, events, schedules, milestones, deadlines, and goals.
· A location where documents, ideas, and resources can be shared.
· Somewhere where others can see who is working on what so that they can quickly assess who needs to communicate and collaborate with whom.
This may seem like common sense, but unless you step back, reflect, define the problem, develop alternatives, determine the impact of the alternatives, and then evaluate the alternatives, you are likely not to develop the best solution. Take the time now to think about what you should be doing in the future.
Take care of yourself first. Be considerate of everyone else. Consider what is working now and what is not. Explore what you need to do for the next few months as the pandemic reaches new peaks, but also look beyond that now with what you will be doing differently in say 6 to 8 months from now with what you have learned to date. This is a challenge and an opportunity.
It’s not about me.
It’s all about we.
We starts with me.
By considering these ideas now, you will be in a much better place in the future.