At Intertech, we improve communication in the leadership team through personality cheat sheets, which are personality profiles that remind us who hates long-winded descriptions and who struggles to make a decision that involves something unpleasant. This is to keep us from driving each other crazy in those little annoying everyday ways that creep up when people work closely together for a long time. The cheat sheets are the result of a personality inventory similar to a Myers–Briggs test. I highly recommend it for any group of partners or managers who work closely together.
Also, we are intentional about building strong, trusting relationships among the leadership team. Pre-COVID, a weekly lunch at a local restaurant took us away from the daily press of business and helped us reconnect on a more fundamental level.
Professionals expect clarity in performance appraisals and promotions. Make sure the expectations are set clearly from the very first day and give frequent feedback along the way. We’ve adopted the Dale Carnegie Key Result Areas (KRAs) approach to talent management. We use the following questions:
What is the purpose of my job? This answer should be extremely simple, such as “selling our services.”
What do I need to do to make it happen? For someone in sales, the answer might be “call 100 potential clients every day.”
What tools do I need to be successful? For a salesperson, training in phone skills or negotiation techniques might be in order.
My book, The 100, was supplemented by more than 25 downloadable templates and checklists to help lead a team, run a business, and manage your life. They are all available for free, and based on downloads, here are a few of the most popular:
For over a decade, I, along with Intertech leadership, get our economic guidance from Brian Beaulieu of ITR Economics. He recently published Economic Recovery and Profits: Know This Trend to Make More Money. In my experience, Mr. Beaulieu has provided reliable insights and a leading indicator with a high correlation to what eventually happens in the economy with enough lead time to take action before a downturn or uptick.
Despite how the current world feels, he believes the economy will grow, and it’s time to act. US Industrial Production in July had a massive surge from June. Based on their guidance, the worst for the economy is behind us. The reasons for optimism are with the lockdown and semi-sequester (e.g., less spent on restaurants, travel, personal services, etc.), we have money to spend, and employment is picking up.
They have some insights on what to do for your business:
Have a plan of how to maximize opportunity and minimize risk
Make sure you have the right team. An excellent team beats an awesome plan, eight days a week
All the above said, a big part of the optimism is an expectation of a vaccine, and governors can safely keep most of their economies open. As leaders, our response needs to match the exponential, not linear, nature of COVID.
Between leading Intertech through this time to being a tutor as my kids take classes through the summer to wrapping up an Audible version of my book, things are busy. Regardless, a big thing that’s keeping our business on track is the daily huddle.
If you’re familiar with the concept of Scrum development, you already know about the value of daily huddles. Our leadership team and individual work teams alike engage in these regular standing meetings, which lasts 15 minutes or less. In this “new normal,” team members join the huddle through a conference call or other platforms like Teams or Zoom.
In a huddle, we share significant updates, metrics, and issues or problems. Since we know we’ll have a chance to touch base at the end of each day; we avoid interruptions as things pop up during the workday. By asking for problems daily, huddles also help with “slaying monsters early.”
The purpose of our huddles is to review anything that requires action from others, to share the good news, and to reveal any stuck items or problems. It also strengthens our culture of open communication and teamwork.
Huddles can also be quickly scaled. For example, in March, when this whole thing started, we upped our huddles to twice per day (noon and end of the day) to make sure we as a leadership team could stay informed and quickly make considered decisions.
We are in unchartered times. If I can help you and your team, from copies of my book to a presentation, please let me know.