"The best way of saving lots of time is to drop the weekly reporting meetings and to move to daily & short standups. And then extend trust."
Something I said to one of the women I work with.
Let me take step back though.
One of the most important and rare resources of the leaders I work with is….time. And the biggest challenge: not having enough of it. And to be more relaxed. So here's a way of achieving both…while getting results.
So - last week I spoke to one of my clients and we talked about the heat, how different people have different (daily) rhythms and preferences and how those could be accommodated.
"So, if people come in early and leave early or the opposite…how do I then know that the work is really done?", she wondered. The not-so-uncommon desire to control what people doing.
When I asked her how she normally checks that, she mentioned the typical weekly meeting where the direct reports do exactly that: reporting what was done.
Not only is this a colossal waste of time - it is always looking back and hardly ever looking forward and in a way, everyone is protecting themselves while having all the reasons (or excuses) why things have not been done. AND if things went in a wrong direction it takes days or up to a whole week to realize.
1. Drop the weekly meetings and establish daily 10-15 minutes standup meetings.
The team meets up, talks about what they plan to do TODAY and has the possibility to ask for help (if they foresee any impediments) or offer help to others in the team.
This works best when you use a collaboration tool that is probably the most low-tech possible - KANBAN - if you work in the same office, which they do. It's a way of making work visible and transparent for the whole team - when established even without talking to each other - as everything is on a physical BOARD (that is literally the meaning of the Japanese word Kanban).
* People learn very quickly how to prioritize and break down their work into more doable bits so that they can produce and show progress basically daily. And if a team member works on the same task for days on end then there is either a granularity issue OR there is something holding the person back from doing it…both of which can be resolved in those meetings.
2. Extend trust
That is the more difficult part. Because many of us believe that trust must be earned. So the other person must do something that warrants extending trust.
I suggest turning that around. Simply assume that people around you ARE TRUSTWORTHY. And that they in fact keen on performing and delivering results.
More often than not people sense if you do (or not) and the likelihood that things ARE getting done is much bigger.
I do that with the people around me…and voila - it works much better than holding tightly on to control (which is mostly an illusion anyway…but that's a topic for another post.).
A far more relaxed way of working with each other.