Your teams probably weren’t performing that well before COVID-19 forced you to send everyone home to work. Now that they are scrambling to adopt new technology, use new tools, learn new skills, all while dealing with massive disruption, do you expect them to function at a higher level? Or, are you fearful that—now working virtually—the problems they faced before are going to grow worse?
In a recent LHH webinar, best-selling author and consultant Keith Ferrazzi, chairman of Greenlight Ferrazzi, tackles the inconvenient realities about team performance in the new environment of virtual work. In conversation with LHH Chief Innovation and Product Officer Mary-Clare Race, Ferrazzi noted that his own research shows that the productivity of teams that rely primarily on remote working arrangements goes down by more than 50 percent.
This drop in productivity is largely the result of flaws in the team dynamic that existed before everyone departed for the home office. “Most teams do not feel they are deeply, collaboratively engaged with their peers,” Ferrazzi said. “We have not been paying sufficient attention to the organism we call the team.”
The good news is that the virtual dynamic is an opportunity to recalibrate teams to be more purposeful and collaborative, he said. “I want us to use this crisis, and I want us to use the fact that we’re virtual and remote now as an opportunity for a formal recontracting of the team.”
Recontracting is a term Ferrazzi uses to describe a process of gathering team members together to scrutinise and reflect on the issues that are holding them back. Ferrazzi said it is only through a frank discussion of team dynamics that a new contract between team members can be forged.
Can your teams deal with conflict? Are they passive aggressive and spend too much time talking behind team member’s backs? Can you get consensus on the need for team members to speak their minds and challenge each other in a constructive fashion?
“I don’t think that there’s enough focus on the subject of ‘how are we as a team?’” Ferrazzi said during the webinar. “What we do is go on an off-site and create a set of values that we are going to live to, and we put up a poster that’s supposed to be there forever, or at least until the CEO changes and they create another set of mission vision values. But really recontracting how we show up behaviourally on a daily basis against all these things we’ve just talked about, it’s a real important act and it’s probably the very first thing somebody needs to do when going remote if you’re going to upgrade the performance of your team.”
In the webinar, Ferrazzi talks about the machinations of recontracting, and in particular, eight practical strategies that can help revive your team’s sense of collective purpose through rebuilding relationships between team members, encouraging candour, accountability and commitment. However, the path to recontracting must begin with a simple admission that we might not have the skills, behaviours and tools in place to boost remote team performance.
“Holding up our hand and saying, ‘I don’t know how to do this, how are other people doing this?’ is very important to understanding the tools,” he said.
Listen to the interview and learn more recontracting with your team and about the eight practical strategies that will help your team succeed in the new virtual world of work.
Visit the Ferrazzi Greenlight Remote Team Resource Centre on virtualteamswin.com to read more.