n recent days, we have been humbled to take part in multiple conversations with frontline medical staff, discussing the challenges of battling this growing pandemic. Our conversations have illuminated an often overlooked factor of high performance - behind any great team are great processes.
While not always exciting or cutting-edge, strong processes can help you get the best from your team and serve as a backbone of support during crises and challenges. This is true for frontline medical teams, as well as teams recently thrown into navigating this new era of business remotely.
Although the Liminal Collective team has spent years learning from the best distributed and remote teams in the world, often operating in highly unpredictable environments, these recent conversations with frontline medical staff renewed our interest in processes as an enabler for transformational teams. We went on to ask our diverse collective of world-class experts for tips on how to best use processes to enable remote teams to reach peak performance. In doing so, we connected with professionals in roles ranging from special operations and elite sport to business and medicine.
Cadence, Culture & Reflection
We gathered a wealth of information and identified three key areas of best practice that apply to any team:
The processes that underlie how your team communicates and shares information is critically important to long-term success. Create a communication cadence that enables speed of execution across your team, while also breaking down barriers in order to develop a shared sense of mission. Be agile in adjusting your cadence to a dynamic environment, so your team is upstream of whatever is coming. As a leader, ask yourself and your team, “Does our communication/check-in cadence enable trust, transparency, accountability and clarity across my team?”
These are extremely challenging, abnormal times for all the individuals on your team. While team culture develops semi-organically in a normal workplace setting, remote teams must create processes that enable the development of a team culture consistent with the past but accommodating the new reality. Consider making a process that proactively creates moments of serendipity and connection, while also proactively looking out for the humans on your team. For example, create a process for encouraging mental health and wellness, such as requiring everyone to block 30 minutes per day on their calendar to get outside for a walk or to reconnect with themselves.
While processes for communication flow and team culture are extremely important, great learning organizations recognize the critical need for reflection and continued growth. Continued growth as a team often comes from instituting processes that encourage reflection and allow for teams to develop a shared set of knowledge and experiences over time. This is hard to do remotely, but still possible. Create a reflection process within your team that institutes a dedicated time and framework for debriefing key learnings and growing as a group. Fortunately, science shows that reflection is best enabled by time spent outside in nature -- another key reason to develop Culture processes that encourage folks to stretch their legs!
These best practices apply to all teams, but how to execute on each and bring them to life will vary by your unique team’s needs, composition, and specific challenges. We hope to help you on the journey to developing new processes for getting the most from your remote team. While our goal is to share insights from our collective, we also want to hear from you as you’re experimenting with new management styles and processes for remote work. What are you using for team processes that are working great? What challenges are you facing? Did our community’s learning and insights spark any new ideas for you? Let us know your thoughts in the comments on LinkedIn.