i n n o v a t e
Service innovation is a concept that has received increased attention. Per Kristensson (Karlstad University, Sweden), Peter Magnusson (Karlstad University, Sweden) and Lars Witell (Karlstad University, Sweden defined service innovation from three different perspectives: stimulation, realization, and value capture (Stimulating, Realizing and Capturing the Value from Service Innovation, 2019).
Stimulation: Focuses on the front end of service innovation. It deals with structures, cultures, and processes that stimulate innovation.
Realisation: Deals with aspects of how to realize service innovations that includes different aspects such as specific tools to be used for developing services, and also processes such as service design which aims to receive a better understanding of the customer or user. Service innovations also require behaviour change internally within the organization and externally among the receiving parties.
Value capture: Companies transitioning to become more service-oriented discover the need to reconsider old business models in order to capitalize on their service offerings. In addition, it deals with the difficulties involved in moving from a traditional product-oriented logic to a more contemporary service logic.
Environmental issues and natural resource scarcity are changing organisational service and product management throughout the world. We take note that the current society’s quest for sustainability is mostly concerned with the consumption and efficient management of natural resources. We need to have the capacity to create innovations and beneficial outcomes for the environment and our society. This includes us in the public service. We are aiming for World Class, right?
5 WAYS BELONGINGNESS IMPACTS EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENTBY JESSICA ROBINSON
BELONGINGNESS IS A POWERFUL DRIVER OF EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
In life, there are many things that make us feel like aliens be it in our homes, workplaces, or community. If you ever find yourself in a place where you feel unwanted and unappreciated, that’s when you will understand the true meaning of belongingness.
Social belonging is a fundamental human need. Deep down within us, there is a longing to be loved and accepted. You may think that belongingness has nothing to do with workplaces but not really! The way your employees feel while performing their tasks or how you respond to them fosters a feeling of belonging.
The sense of belonging has everything to do with employee engagement and productivity simply because it’s the humans that get things done. When employees feel accepted, supported, and secure within their teams, they will direct their attention and efforts to the goals of the organisation. Also, they will feel less stressed and intimidated in case they fail to perform as expected.
However, where there is no sense of belonging, employees become disconnected from their jobs, mentally stressed, and antisocial. Qualtrics’ study in 2021 confirmed that belongingness emerged as a powerful driver of employee engagement. When employees feel like they belong, they perceive that the organisation cares about them and they will feel at home. It may look like it is only advantageous to employees, but companies that cultivate workplace belongingness obtain a competitive advantage. They will be able to attract talent from all walks of life and will leverage their ideas and experiences to thrive.
An Ipsos survey on workplace belongingness found that over 87% of all employed Americans stress that a sense of belonging at work boosts productivity. It is because employees are able to concentrate on their jobs or think creatively to come up with better ideas and solutions.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs also shows that belonging is a human necessity. In fact, it is a motivation theory that can help leaders and managers understand the needs of their employees. Among the human needs according to Maslow are psychological needs, safety needs, love, and belongingness. These are the needs managers must understand to improve the workplace environment.
Diversity & Inclusion Vs Belongingness
We can’t talk about belongingness without realising how workplaces have diversified in many ways. Due to globalisation, we realise that many workplaces are full of expats or remote workers. Diversity and inclusion are two different concepts that when understood, can help create safer work environments for employees which increases their engagement.
Diversity & Belongingness
A diverse workforce isn’t limited to employing different genders or races in an organisation. It also includes employees of different cultures, beliefs, or ethos, largely categorised as demographics. When you understand how diverse your workforce is, you will curate policies that cater to inclusion, which promotes belongingness and improves employee engagement
In order to enforce inclusion, you may put up a disciplinary committee, and fair terms, and conditions for appreciating employees, or terminating them. In case an employee violates the company policies, ensure that the case is handled professionally, i.e presenting it to the disciplinary committee rather than terminating an employee immediately or issuing notices. All rules and regulations should be followed by all employees.
Inclusion & Belongingness
Inclusion on the other hand is an achievement where employees feel equal, respected, or fairly treated. It is also a feeling that despite their differences (ethnicity, gender, colour, or age) they have access to opportunities and resources in an organisation. With equity, the organisation has to help employees achieve targets through many approaches like extending programs to them or enforcing non-discriminating rules. For example, if you allow remote work, let it be possible for all employees whenever the need arises.
Determining the levels of inclusion in your organisation may not be easy. However, simple measures like presenting equal opportunities, celebrating differences, and welcoming all opinions can foster belongingness which enhances employee engagement.
Belongingness in Workplaces
The relationship between belongingness and employee engagement is not difficult to comprehend. Generally, employees who feel valued and appreciated at work are often happier, focused, and willing to give their best. Harvard Business Review shows that 40% of people report that they feel isolated at work. Betterup’s research results also indicate that if workers feel that they belong, there is better job performance, lower employee turnover, and fewer sick leaves among others.
Here is how a feeling of belongingness can impact the engagement of employees.
Belongingness Builds Teamwork
A feeling as though an employee doesn’t fit in can disconnect them from their team members. As hybrid and remote work cultures increase globally, there is a need for collaboration and teamwork. When team members feel isolated, they will feel emotionally detached. As a result, they will take a lot of time to complete a task or coordinate with others.
Instead of pushing for individual efforts, develop teams for employees to work collaboratively. Encourage them to associate with one another whether inside or outside the organisation. Also, recognise and reward group efforts as a way of creating a psychologically safe environment for all employees. Creating such grounds enforces inclusivity which is vital in creating an enjoyable work environment.
Belongingness fosters a feeling that to err is human
Have you come across kids that are driven by fear? These kids tend to battle with low esteem and social anxiety. It also happens in some workplaces. You will find phrases like “he’s gonna eat me alive”, or “am going to be fired”. With a minor mistake, an employee may feel like they’re going to be terminated or demoted. Yet, a sense of belongingness helps employees learn from their mistakes and fosters a sense of job security.
A report published in Scientific American showed that the brain grows and learns from mistakes. It naturally builds paths that lead to success. However, with a lack of belongingness, employees will find it difficult to get back on their feet or work to become better professionally.
Shows that They Matter
Trust me, you wouldn’t work to deliver the best in a place where you’re sure that your efforts make no difference. An article published by Cision confirms that two in three employees stress that a sense of belonging at work means having their opinions or contributions valued by their colleagues and superiors. That means that employees that feel that their contributions aren’t welcome can easily give up and become disengaged.
The term trust may seem small, but it has a big impact on employees. Robert Sampson, a professor of social sciences at Harvard University, stresses that low levels of relational trust are a big barrier to engagement.
Trust in a workplace helps employees feel secure with their jobs, which reduces employee turnover. Also, it empowers them to be creative with the available resources. Trust also helps to build strong employee relationships and highperforming teams. Situations that make employees think that they are less trusted make them withdraw from major roles or tasks.
Belongingness increases Focus Levels
If workers feel like they belong, they will concentrate on their tasks rather than worry what their fellow employees think about them. Precisely, they will work to deliver the best. A lot of employees become disconnected from their organisations because they feel like outcasts. The more one feels discriminated against or segregated, the more they will seek better opportunities elsewhere, hence high turnover. However, when you promote a feeling of belonging more employees will become creative and focused on their jobs.
Belongingness can impact the engagement of employees
A Few Things that make employees feel that they belong
Lack of transparency may be the major reason why your employees feel like they don’t belong. The more you communicate or share good and bad information across departments and teams, the more you eliminate the chances of marginalisation. When it comes to other stakeholders like investors, customers, and shareholders, it is essential to be transparent to them too in order to gain and retain their trust. Many customers today prefer brands that value them. So, when it comes to communicating new policies, targets, and expectations, ensure that you let every member of the organisation, investors, and customers know and understand it.
Welcoming their Opinions
Not every opinion matters, but when you take the time to request employee feedback, it shows that you value their opinions. Endorse good ideas and implement those that can make a difference to the organisation and the wellness of the employees. Similarly, give reasons why a given opinion can’t work and what the alternative could be. With this, employees won’t feel left out and they will know that their presence can make a difference.
Involving them in decision making
Giving employees the power to make decisions contributes to career development and business growth. Normally, employees who feel that their ideas are crucial to organisational growth tend to be problem solvers than creators. Likewise, engage them in policy-making to understand how a given policy (in the pipeline) would affect them. With this, you will understand which policy is all-inclusive and one which lowers workplace belongingness.
It’s inevitable to do away with groupism and favouritism in workplaces, but when you take the initiative, those that felt unwanted will learn that they are valued. This will increase engagement.
Take time to recognise or reward employees when they outperform others. Also, take note of employees whose performance has steadily increased. This will motivate them to do better.
All in all, the natural need to belong has a huge impact on employee performance and engagement. Employees who feel connected to their organisations are more willing to spend extra time on their jobs and tend to be happier in the workplace. A report cited lack of belongingness as one of the major factors for the 2021 great resignation in the UK, USA, and several other countries. If employers fail to improve workplace belongingness, more employees will leave their jobs in pursuit of those where they feel psychologically safe and connected to what they do.
Jessica Robinson loves to write interesting and knowledgeable blogs regarding business management, education and life to satiate the curiosity of her lovely readers. Currently, she is serving as a content manager at the ‘Speaking Polymath’. Every piece of content that she writes demonstrates her immense love and passion for her profession.
Stop Wasting Time on Unrewarding Activities to Boost Productivity
We all know that time is finite, and once it passes by, you can’t get it back.
During the COVID-19 enforced lockdowns, we discovered the benefits of a slower pace, and yet a typical lament is that there is never enough time in the day. As the pace of life picks up again, time seems to fly by even faster.
Various studies suggest we waste up to three hours a day and almost 70% of people waste time at work. A further study found that business owners waste about 30% of their working days on low value or no value activities.
Wasting time is subjective. Surfing the net may seem a waste of time to one person and an excellent way to relax for another. What you see as low-value work may be necessary for someone else.
Like everything, there are differing perspectives. There are also many commonalities in what people view as the biggest time wasters: poorly run meetings, overly bureaucratic processes, and unnecessary rework.
But it doesn’t stop there. Hidden beneath the surface is a raft of time-wasting activities typically dressed up as collaboration and necessary processes.
WHERE WILL YOU GIVE THE GIFT OF TIME?BY MICHELLE GIBBINGS
1. Running a consultation process when you already know what you want the outcome to be. You are only looking for an endorsement of your idea.
2. Seeking feedback from people because you feel you should (or because you’ve been told to), but once you have their input, you pay no attention to it, and it doesn’t change the original plan.
3. Undertaking a recruitment process when you already have a preferred candidate in mind. You may tell yourself that you are diligent as you want to check who else is out there, but the reality is you have already made up your mind.
4. Organising a tender process or asking for quotes when you have already decided who you want to work with. Perhaps your internal processes dictate that you need to get a minimum number of quotes, but if the process is weighted in favour of one party, then you already know what the outcome will be.
5. Running team-building activities and not being prepared to follow through on commitments, and holding people to account for the culture the team has agreed to create. If you aren’t playing your part, then it’s not likely the team will either.
6. Always running late for events and meetings, and constantly behind on deliverables. When you keep people waiting and ‘on hold,’ you effectively say, ‘I am more important, and my time is more valuable than yours.’
7. Asking to review documents and provide input and then either not responding, not offering timely feedback or offering feedback that is substandard and unhelpful.
I am sure you can add to the list, and I’d love to hear your suggestions. What would you add to that list?
Interestingly, in all those cases, you aren’t just wasting the time of the people involved; you are also wasting your time. In many situations, time that extends over days, weeks, or even months.
So, you have a choice. Waste time or flip your approach, get deliberate about how you spend your time and make it purposeful and productive.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
• Look at your diary for the week ahead. I mean really look at it. Critically examine how much time you spend on value-adding tasks and which activities or meetings you don’t need to do. For each item, ask yourself: Does this activity advance the goals that the team and I have set? Will it lead to positive and progressive outcomes?
• Challenge your mindset to find ways to make the activity worthwhile. If you adhere to a process that you need to follow for governance and diligence purposes, rather than do it because you ‘have to’, do it because you ‘want to’. Flipping the activity in this way can give the task more purpose and relevance.
• Be open to a different outcome. If you start the process with a preconceived result in mind, you will shut yourself off to new ideas and possibilities. Instead, approach the process with curiosity and wonder about what could be.
• Be open to shifting the status quo. If something has always been done in a certain way, ask ‘why’. Do you need to do that task or process? What’s the worst thing that could happen if you (insert task you are doing) don’t do it? For example, what’s the worst thing that could happen if you don’t attend that meeting or run that process? Determining the worst outcome may show that the impact isn’t all that bad, and having time back in your day is a higher benefit.
• Make ‘respect’ an essential leadership quality that you embrace. Respect matters in all its forms, and one of those is respecting each other’s time. When you respect your teammates, direct reports, and colleagues, you show them they matter. Respect elevates the culture and creates an environment where good progress happens.
• When a process adds no value, be willing to challenge and be ready to say ‘no’ if you need to.
• Be open to the fact that a process or activity that you don’t see as adding value may be critical for someone else and their work. So, have an open mind, always be curious and consider the interconnections and dependencies in your work
In a world where there never feels like there is enough time, let’s give each other the gift of time when we can and when we should.
The respected former CEO of Intel, Andy Grove, once said:
Who will you gift with some time this coming week?
This article was also published on michellegibbings.com
Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert and the award-winning author of three books. Her latest book is ‘Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one’.
Just as you would not permit a fellow employee to steal a piece of office equipment, you shouldn’t let anyone walk away with the time of his fellow managers.
Organisational Change Doesn’t Occur in A Vacuum
It seemed like a good idea at the time. You’ve got a problem and identified a solution. Tested the solution, and now you’ve rolled it out.
The team and you sit back and celebrate your success…only to find unexpected impacts derail the change. Dependencies and connections you hadn’t identified have risen to the surface, and not in a good way.
This happens all the time and is perfectly illustrated by the cane toad.
The cane toad was introduced in the 1930s in Far North Queensland (Australia).
The plan was to help eradicate the native cane beetle that was destroying sugar cane crops. However, introducing a new player into the system had unintended consequences because there were no natural predators for the cane toad. So whilst the change solved one problem (the cane beetle), it also created a new problem (increasing and spreading populations of cane toads with resulting environmental damage across large parts of Australia).
In identifying a solution to the problem, the solution had only been looked at through one lens, and the downstream consequences hadn’t been considered. The way the ‘system’ operated hadn’t been thoroughly thought through.
Are You Alert to the Change Cane Toads?BY MICHELLE GIBBINGS
This happens with organisational changes too.
I was working on a change project, and we were ready to release a significant process change. We’d gone through the design and tested the new process, and it worked (and worked well). A week before the launch, a part of the organisation I didn’t even know existed popped up and explained the negative impact of this process change on their work. We had to change the proposed change.
Organisations, just like the natural world, are systems. And systems are interconnected and interrelated. They are made up of many players with many roles. However, those relationships can sometimes be hard to spot; the dependencies and connections are unseen, so the impacts can be overlooked.
Systems today are characterised by:
• Ambiguity – there’s lots of information, ideas and changes, making it hard to grasp all the potential and possible impacts of a change
• Complexity – the pace, nature and volume of change are unrelenting, which means multiple changes are occurring at the same time within the same system
• Dependence – everything is connected, but often the connections are unknown, and so these impacts can go unseen and be unaccounted
• Variety – there are many different stakeholders (both internal and external to the organisation) with ideas, opinions, needs, and the desire to be heard
Organisational change doesn’t occur in a vacuum. To make changes in an organisation, it’s crucial to understand the system in which the change is taking place.
Think about it…
Change is driven by some form of pressure. In nature, water is turned into steam by the pressure of heat. New laws are often passed in societies due to the community’s pressure.
The same goes for organisations. Some form of pressure sparks the need for change, which can be either internally or externally generated. External forces may include competition, the environment, social landscape, regulations and technology. At the same time, internal forces can consist of new leadership teams, cost pressures, mergers, changes in the organisation’s life cycle, shifting employee demands and cultural needs.
For example, PWC recently highlighted what it sees as the four forces driving an organisation’s workforce strategy – specialisation, scarcity, rivalry and humanity. These forces don’t work alone. They connect, and when working through them, you must be cognizant of the organisation’s strategy, competitor frame, culture, operating environment, and technological landscape.
Forces don’t happen in isolation from each other, and often a change is driven by multiple forces operating simultaneously but with different impacts and intensities.
However, while examining the impact of those forces and working through the approach, it’s crucial to understand the totality of the effect on the organisation’s system.
Like much in life, this starts by getting curious and asking many questions. Here are a few I would be asking:
• Is the change incremental, transitional or transformational?
• Has it been driven by internal or external needs?
• Is the change proactively planned or reactive?
• Is the change taking you ahead of your competition, or are you playing catch up?
• Do you understand the disruptive forces in your markets, and are you looking at forces beyond your traditional competitors?
• Is this change an adaptive or technical challenge?
• Have the rules in your industry changed (or are they changing), and what does this mean for your organisation?
• Who will benefit from this change within the system?
• Who will be impacted (directly and indirectly) by the change within the system?
• Who supports the change – both internal and external to the organisation? Think beyond traditional networks and hierarchies
• What other changes are occurring in the system at the same time? Where are the connections, dependencies and potential overlaps?
• What don’t we know that we should know before we commit to this?
• What assumptions underpin our thinking?
Change is crucial, and you need to get it right. Flourishing organisations always have an eye on the external environment and seek to understand what is happening now and what is likely to be happening in the future. They know they can’t stand still because they’ll join the endangered or extinct company list if they do.
As Jack Welch said: “When the rate of change inside an institution becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is in sight….”
Republished with courtesy from michellegibbings.com
Michelle Gibbings is a workplace expert and the award-winning author of three books. Her latest book is ‘Bad Boss: What to do if you work for one, manage one or are one’.
Sarawak has successfully accelerated the state’s economic development since the start of the digital economy in 2018 by transforming the sectors of agriculture, the oil palm industry, e-commerce, finance and fintech, digital government, smart cities, tourism, manufacturing, and services industry. Therefore, I hope by 2030, Sarawak will be a developed state with a thriving economy driven by data and innovation where everyone enjoys economic prosperity, social inclusivity and a sustainable environment.
The Right Honourable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari Bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg Premier of Sarawak | 12 July 2022
GO DIGITAL Abang Jo says it again
BENEFITS OF INTEGRATING DIRECT CLOUD CONNECTIVITY INTO YOUR BUSINESS MODEL
DIRECT CLOUD CONNECTIVITY ENHANCES EFFICIENCY!
With data technology and data protection constantly in the news, it has become crucial to protect the data you store as a business. While some businesses still opt for company hard drives and other such options, these options are not only becoming less sustainable: they are becoming less efficient, particularly with the dawn of the cloud.
The cloud itself, despite its benefits, has also presented problems for businesses with serious data storage needs, mainly with its reliance on internet connection and its public nature. However, there are ways around this, namely, one that has appeared in the past few years: direct cloud connectivity.
This solution has several benefits and makes handling your data more secure; it eliminates several other worries about storing and organising documents, contracts, and other such data in the process.
So, direct cloud connectivity may be best to integrate into your business model if you own or work for a business that handles massive amounts of data and need to store it securely to continue operations.
What is Direct Cloud Connectivity and Why Should I Integrate It Into My Business Model?
Direct Cloud Connectivity changes just one thing from typical cloud connectivity: the means of accessing cloud storage. Direct Cloud Connectivity eliminates the middle-man, public internet, and uses a private line or server connected directly to a specific cloud storage point. In the data storage industry’s lingo, this is called a point-to-point or P2P connection and offers greater reliability, speed, and security than traditional cloud storage methods.
When using DCC, your private network sends data directly to a cloud storage server of your choice. This slight change can drastically change the security and reliability of your data storage.
Direct Cloud Connectivity does not just benefit data analysis companies. It can make your storage airtight while organising your data and making your business’s day-to-day operations easier. Therefore, its function and benefits have a wide appeal within the market. If your business is in one of the following sectors, direct cloud connectivity will be useful for you:
• Content creation (graphic design/writing/video content)
Security Benefits of Integrating Direct Cloud Connectivity Into Your Business Model
Public internet usually poses few problems as a means of accessing cloud storage or data storage networks. But its potential pitfalls can have consequences for your business and your clients.
Hackers are experts at finding ways around the internet’s security features, and they make their money executing this same task. Companies dealing with high data loads often manage sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, financial information, and copyrighted designs and content. Therefore, moving sensitive data through the public internet to cloud storage has an inherent risk of theft.
You can eliminate that risk by incorporating direct cloud connectivity into your business model. Personal networks are significantly more difficult for hackers to find, let alone hack. With its point-to-point technology, your data is backed up immediately in the cloud and can be accessed at any time.
Direct Cloud Connectivity and Security
Direct Cloud Connectivity allows for high bandwidth transmission, meaning you can transmit massive amounts of data without losing speed or any information. This process also enhances the security of your documents and information.
This storage solution makes your information less susceptible to being stolen, both in the transmission process, as it passes only through private networks, and in your cloud provider itself, which must legally meet stringent encryption requirements.
With the enhanced security of a direct connection to your cloud storage provider, you can store sensitive information, such as financial and copyrighted content, without worrying about interference, theft, or leakage. This security alone is worth the cost of direct cloud connectivity alone but it offers yet another tremendous benefit for your business if you choose to incorporate it: efficiency.
Efficiency Benefits of Integrating Direct Cloud Connectivity Into Your Business Model
Public internet has other potential risks beyond security. WiFi connections are not always reliable, and their signal strength is also not always in your control, even on home or office networks. Internet delays (or high internet latency) can also cause “packet loss” - the loss of bits of data or information as documents are transmitted through the internet.
The internet can also suddenly crash at any time, and you may not know when it will be working again. These realities of working with the internet can frustrate your employees when they are trying to move high volumes of data and obstruct the efficiency of your business.
As mentioned before, direct cloud connectivity’s pointto-point connection bypasses the need for public internet while speeding up the process of moving documents and high volumes of data. That speed and efficiency, in turn, removes frustration, impatience, and inconvenience in storing and moving your business’s information and documents.
Only your company can access the server used to transmit data to the cloud. So, it eliminates your reliance on other factors and reduces the troubleshooting needed when issues appear.
Thus, as long as you and your employees carry out tasks correctly, direct cloud connectivity will make your data storage process smoother and more efficient.
Integrating Direct Cloud Connectivity Into Your Business Model - Last Take
If any of the above-mentioned features of direct cloud connectivity sounded appealing to you, there is an abundance of direct cloud connectivity providers you can contact.
So it is best to stop relying on the public internet and remove it from the equation when computing the best way to store high volumes of data. Incorporating Direct Cloud Connectivity’s Point-to-point process does just that and provides technology with higher reliability than the internet.
Direct cloud connectivity is a layer one cloud feature, and as such, most telephone communications companies can provide direct cloud connectivity.
There are other factors to consider for your specific business and its Direct Cloud Connectivity needs, but you can discuss these factors with the provider.
All in all, no matter your business model, direct cloud connectivity’s heightened security and efficiency have the potential to assist your business in increasing its efficiency.
This article is published by the editors of Leaderonomics.com with the consent of the guest author.
‘ASYNC’ MORE OFTENBY LYNNE CAZALY
How we work continues to evolve from remote and hybrid work to even more flexible arrangements.
But that doesn’t mean we should expect that slower progress or worse outcomes will be the result.
Many businesses are discovering in these times of changing work, that old ways of doing things have to keep being reviewed and reconsidered. They’re learning there could be a newer way of completing a task, collaborating or communicating that’s easier, causes less stress and reduces rework, or the more wasteful, overwork.
This is certainly the situation with asynchronous work
Many teams and businesses default to predominantly synchronous work - where they have people come together to do work at the same time. Think of meetings, catch ups, interviews and workshops. Either in person or online, it’s where people gather in sync, at the same time.
While there are important benefits to synchronous work, like connection, communication and conversation – it’s not perfect and can be an extremely wasteful use of our time.
As remote work continues to be in favour for many employees – and a growing number of employers – getting everyone together at the same time, live, in sync on an online call or in a meeting room, is a contributing factor to waste, distraction, stress and burnout.
Are meetings really that bad?
You might not think the workplace meeting deserves such negative talk. But who hasn’t been in a meeting that feels like it should have been an email? There’s a reason why that’s a popular meme on social media. Or perhaps you’ve sat in a meeting in ‘listen-only’ mode, not contributing anything. Other meetings take up time by being grandstanding debates between only a couple of voices that do little to make decisions or advance the work that really matters.
If we look at our calendar for the day and see barely a break between back-to-back meetings, we know we’ve been defaulting to synchronous work. At the end of the day, you can wonder how you’ll achieve your ‘real work’, the work you’re employed for, the outcomes and results you’re contracted to achieve… particularly if you’ve spent the day in meetings.
Of course, not every meeting is wasteful; but we’ve all been in meetings that are slow, boring and time wasting, and we can wonder if there’s a better way.
Passive Observation or Active Participation
Check your level of participation to determine if there’s an opportunity for a better way.
Scan the room or the online meeting. How many people are there? And how long is the meeting going for? When you do these simple calculations, you begin to realize how expensive meetings can be. The meeting could be of 8 people, for 2 hours. That’s the equivalent of two days’ work. Or say, 14 people, for an hour. That’s equivalent of another day.
Having a meeting might seem like a good idea initially, but so much time in meetings is down-time, wasted with what I call passive observation mode. Sitting. Listening. Watching.
Meetings of higher value instead aim to involve people via active participation mode; they’re doing something valuable, contributing, conversing, resolving, deciding, synthesising and advancing the work.
If it’s a passive observation mode kind of meeting – like an announcement or presentation, people can catch up on this kind of work at another time by:
• watching a recording/video
• listening to an audio
• reading the presentation document or
• reviewing and reading/scanning through a meeting transcript.
There are plenty of other ways of receiving information than having to be there live when it’s first shared, delivered or presented.
This is one of the key reasons why meetings are becoming the primary target for reform and change in forward thinking workplaces. Employers are keen to release blocks of dead and unproductive time from people’s schedules and help them reclaim some power and autonomy over their day.
Poorly led meetings are potentially the greatest waste of synchronous work effort in the workplace today.
Time to combat the waste Teams making successful changes to more asynchronous ways of working have introduced meeting free blocks of time during the week, like meeting free days. The results from research on ‘The Surprising Impact of Meeting-Free Days’, in MIT Sloan Management Review showed that 75 companies who introduced between 1 and 5 meeting-free days a week, gained improvements in communication, engagement, satisfaction and autonomy. And problems like micromanagement and stress reduced.
Deleting meetings doesn’t make things worse; it makes things better.
So what do you do instead of meeting, synchronously?
In the place of those dull meetings, people are collaborating, contributing and participating more and better via asynchronous tools. These include things like:
• Task boards
• Shared documents
• Online visual collaboration platforms like Jamboard, Mural and Miro
• Email and messaging
• Voice, video and visual tools.
Asynchronous work is allowing people to work on tasks and projects at times and in ways that suit them best - which means employers are getting the best out of their people, at times and in ways that work for the individual.
Additionally, our asynchronous contributions usually take less time than being in a long meeting, and the work can be done at times and in ways that suit us best. For example, we might group or ‘batch’ similar task types like creativity and contributing ideas, or reading and commenting, or voting and prioritising.
The increasing shift to more asynchronous work means we don’t have to try as hard as we do to ‘find a time’ that everyone can meet and we don’t have to wait until ‘everyone’s available’. This is particularly the case when people might be on leave, working on other priorities or simply can’t be in two places or two meetings at once. The sight of a leader wearing two sets of headphones trying to be in two meetings at once was real; they were on one online meeting, listening… and trying to be in another meeting at the same time, on a different device.
We’ve got to change our thinking and beliefs that we have to get everyone sitting in on the same meeting; it’s just not a sensible way to work when so many people are drowning in workloads and struggling to take breaks, achieve results and complete key tasks of their role.
Making a more deliberate switch
Here’s what to look out for to make a more deliberate switch to async work:
1. Notice your default. Notice when you default to thinking you need to call a meeting. Do you say, ‘let’s connect on this’ or ‘can I grab you for a minute’ or ‘let’s get everyone together’. We may do this without even thinking so it’s a sign your first thought is ‘we have to meet’. But we don’t always have to.
2. Outcome first. What is the meeting for?
Consider how else you can achieve that outcome without everyone meeting sync. If it’s to make a decision, why not send the deciding parties an email with a ‘yes/ no/maybe/not yet’ checklist for them to highlight or tick off.
3. Hunt and gather. Gather contributions and inputs from people in other ways. Don’t wait for a meeting to be held if you need to get people’s ideas. You can still get ideas via a shared document link, a survey, a brief email with a request or a short video or audio message explaining what you need. And they’ll be better ideas than when people are put on the spot.
4. High value experiences only. When you do meet, ensure it’s a high value high outcome meeting. The opposite are the low value low outcome meetings, which are the time-wasting sync experiences people are tired of, don’t have time for and they’re more likely to decline the invite to the meeting in the first place.
5. More choices, all types. Provide more choices for people to participate and contribute beyond just attending a meeting. As greater and more inclusive experiences filter through to all sectors and industries, every workplace needs to consider how they can make participating and contributing at work easier and more inclusive for everyone.
When you provide more opportunities for asynchronous work, you’ll find that support begins to grow rapidly for this way of working. Opportunities to provide ideas expand and people contribute in ways they may have missed out on previously.
Resist these changing ways of work at your peril or you could be hosting a meeting of one! New ways of leading, working and achieving are continuing to evolve and we need to keep adapting the way we do things. It’s the main way we will keep ahead of the pressures of change and be sure we keep the best talent on our team.
Lynne Cazaly is a work futurist and an expert in new ways of working. She is an international keynote speaker and award-winning author with her ideas and thoughts published in 10 books.
NEW MANAGER SURVIVAL GUIDE
5 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW WHEN STEPPING UPBY DR. DOMINIC MCLOUGHLIN
YOU HAVE COMPLETE POWER OVER HOW TO BECOME A BETTER MANAGER
New managers have often achieved their success through working long hours to get things done, which can make time for planning and reflection appear to be ‘wasting time’. However, it is vital for new managers to take the time to adjust to the differences in the new role. Existing managers within the organisation can assist by their advice and their example. It is now much more about the success of the team, rather than a new manager’s personal performance.
Organisations can help the development of new managers, which in turn will help employee engagement and retention. Existing managers have a key role to play in helping develop a culture where every people manager is trying to be a better manager. In an environment where organisational culture is becoming ever more important, the best way to improve may actually be to focus on a deeper level than skills. It may be that we can best help our organisations to be better, by helping new managers to be better people. Five key areas form the basis of being a better manager, and they are all within the control of each manager: Mindset, Vulnerability, Trust, Availability and Communication. These areas can be developed by aspiring managers too, with mentoring from existing managers.
New managers need to make time to think about where the team needs to be in 12 months, and consider how best to get there. Take time to plan ahead and to be clear about the team’s priorities and goals. Not doing so means that a new manager is unable to respond effectively to queries from team members. Lack of clarity, and goals that are not achievable, are two common reasons why people leave their jobs. Existing managers can help prepare future managers by demonstrating and communicating this approach.
New managers also need to focus much more on how the team work together, on the outcomes, not micromanaging the work of each team member. This can be a challenge because it is often the new manager’s expertise that got them their promotion. Their new role of facilitating the work of the team needs a new focus to the previous role - helping to make others successful. Existing managers can best demonstrate this through their own example.
One key mistake for new managers to avoid is the idea that because they are now a manager, they have to have all the answers, that they have to be perfect. In reality, having all the answers is not really possible, and striving to do so can easily lead to burnout. Existing managers can demonstrate this approach by saying ‘I’m not sure, but I will find out’. In fact, when managers are prepared to admit that they don’t know, it gives their team and aspiring managers permission to acknowledge their own areas of weakness. The alternative is that team members fear revealing any ignorance or error, worried that it will be used against them in some way. A perfectionist culture like this is sure to demotivate.
Because everyone makes some mistakes, seeing them as an opportunity for continuous improvement is very powerful. Similarly, errors can be a source of valuable information, if time is taken to understand what went wrong and why it went wrong. Then the processes and communication can improve. There are so many elements to consider when something goes wrong and that can be a chance to review ‘the way things are done’ and see if there are better alternatives.
Vulnerability 3 Trust
The long-term success of a team is built on trust. One of the key goals to keep in mind is building trust, because trust is essential for initiating and maintaining social relationships at work (Dirks and de Jong, 2022). If a manager can increase the amount of trust that their team have in them, the team will be much happier, more productive and more willing to contribute ideas for improving things. New managers can learn this through seeing their own managers: taking feedback on board, reprimanding team members in private (not in front of others) and treating people fairly. Similarly, helping out when the workload is unusually high is a great way to lead by example.
DR. DOMINIC MCLOUGHLIN
Dr. Dominic Mcloughlin is a People Management Specialist and author of the new book, Be A Better Manager in 5 Minutes a Day. Dominic has 20 years’ experience in Leadership and People Management helping thousands to be better at managing their people.
It is easy for new managers to be overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done. They often fall into the trap of dealing with the urgent, instead of the important. Once appointed as a manager, it can be easy to lose sight of the long-term goal of personal growth, for themselves and each team member. Team members need to know that they are supported in achieving their own goals, as well as the organisation’s goals.
When a manager is concerned about each person in their team, they take the time to understand each person’s goals. They are available as a ‘sounding board’ and a mentor tgo their team and to aspiring mangers in particular. All of this requires having short chats with each team member (one to one) on a regular basis. These informal chats are also an excellent way for new managers to learn what has worked well for the team in the past, and hear what has not worked so well. There could also be the opportunity to identify major obstacles that the team are encountering. Resolving these can give a new manager an early win that boosts their confidence and develops team loyalty.
The best managers are available for team members to access whenever needed, they are approachable, easy to talk to and calm. When something goes wrong, these managers are able to control their emotions and maintain good relationships throughout their interactions. At the same time good managers are open to suggestions, valuing the contributions of all team members. Similarly, the best managers give their team as much information as they can about what is happening in the wider organisation and explain the reasons for decisions. Good communication builds excellent motivation and team morale. This approach to communication helps build an open workplace culture where new managers are able to thrive.
When organisations help new managers to take the time to understand how their new role is different, some of the classic mistakes can be avoided. This in turn enables new managers to put their time and energy into those things that will deliver long term success, for themselves and the organisation.
The Programme is organised to provide 2-day Information and Communication Technology (ICT) knowledge and computer skills classes for the Kampung Jawa, Semenggok Community.
The Leadership Institute Innovation Month is in conjunction with the State Civil Service Innovation Month 2022. The theme this year is “Innovation for Sustainability”.
18 October 2022: Waste Management Innovation Campaign Launching Ceremony: Innovation for Sustainability.
Launched by Acting Chief Executive Officer, Mr Fang Tze Chiang the Institute’s employees were given the awareness and knowledge in waste management through 3 sharing sessions by the Kuching North City Hall (DBKU) by Mr. Dibasron bin Didi, Trienekens (Sarawak) Sdn. Bhd. by Mr Julian anak Gabriel Bain and Demonstration of Bokashi Bin by Madam Tay Tsai Yun from Koru Bulk Store.
Upcoming activities throughout the Waste Management Campaign include Paperless Day on 19 Oct and No Plastic Day on 20 Oct.