Artists, performers, artisans: the freefolk of the business world. How does one reach out to them?
In a business world tailored for large-level enterprises, it can be difficult to carve out a space in the ether for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers. Luckily, the World Wide Web has become a professional hub for potters, mural artists, textile artists, body painters, face painters, sculptors, performance artists, dancers, singers, and limitless freelance services, such as dog-walking or lawn-mowing. The problem is that these individuals and collectives don’t always feature a Contact Us button. … Read more →
We as a population have undertaken many studies lately, in the efforts to find out why meetings work – or don’t.
Often, we’ve been labeling them an inefficient tradition; usually seen as a waste of time (unless people actually came prepared) and it’s safe to assume we have all come to at least one meeting unprepared. So what gives? Why are meetings so hard to care about? Why are they so difficult to manage? Why do we keep having them?
Many businesses have incorporated elements of artificial intelligence, both to stay on top of current trends and to facilitate their day-to-day operations. If you’ve ever had a conversation with an automated reply service online, you’ve interacted with artificial intelligence. These developments have provided a myriad of benefits to those using them. Here’s a few avenues that you may have been overlooking.
If you have ever had to sit through an interminable meeting, you probably had the time to come up with ways you would have done it differently. Meetings, if poorly planned, are difficult to mediate without concise agendas; decision-making becomes muddied by unfocused discussion and lack of informed participation. Designing an effective agenda is one of the ways one can harness the power of a strong team, as it provides both the necessary structure and informative content to get things accomplished properly.
Whether your meeting is daily, weekly, or quarterly, the necessity of a strong timeline is essential to maintaining efficiency, in groups both big and small. Listed below are some important factors to keep in mind when designing the agenda for your meetings. Consider the following:
It’s Sunday afternoon, and a group of friends log on to their routinely scheduled online web meeting. They meet once a week to chat about life; sometimes about work; they get talkative when chatting with familiar faces seldom seen.
These friends had gone their separate ways – one went into finance, another to programming, and a few went to VC, hoping to find the next big thing. It was Sunday afternoon; it was a routine online web meeting; but this time, something felt different.… Read more →
Building a sense of belonging among globally dispersed teams is essential to real-time collaboration.
Michael Tomasello, the author of “Why We Cooperate”, found through a series of tests that children from a very early age try to help others in ways young chimps rarely do. All of humanity’s achievements hinge on this biological urge to collaborate. But while we are driven by an innate need to cooperate, we can be very picky about who we cooperate with.
A sense of belonging is vital to the collaborative process. With the advent of the World Wide Web and the rise of geographically dispersed teams, it has never been more difficult to build a team-like environment. But thankfully necessity is the mother of invention, so there are now plenty of apps on the market designed to help managers give each of their employees a sense of belonging, even if they happen to be in Timbuktu.
Allowing every member of your team the chance to add their two cents to the company’s to-do list will keep them in the driver’s seat of their own destiny. Building a master to-do list will also generate interest in what other branches of the company are up to, in turn building a mutual respect for the individual roles each member of the organization plays. Give an app like Trello a try.
Store passwords in one secure place.
As more and more companies move online, passwords are becoming as essential as they are plentiful. It is entirely plausible that your office in New York could require the same password your team in Hong Kong needs. To save your employees the endless (and less than secure) swapping of passwords, try an app like 1Password. 1Password is a password manager that keeps an inventory of relevant passwords that can be easily shared with those who need them, regardless of physical distance.
Share in the Daily Grind.
TED Talk perennial Dan Pink claims there are three things that are essential to motivation: Autonomy, mastery and a sense of purpose. An app like iDoneThis addresses all three of these needs for teams that don’t necessarily share the same space. iDoneThis automatically emails each member of the team at the end of his or her day and asks, “What did you get done today?”. Each member of the team responds and the app creates a digest of each accomplishment. This addresses the need for autonomy by celebrating the efforts of the individual. It also allows the team to chart their improvement or mastery, and it reaffirms the team’s sense of purpose as they watch themselves inch closer and closer to their ultimate goal. This is essential for those frustrating days when the end of a massive project seems to be nowhere in sight.
Many managers make the mistake of only checking in with the team when something has gone wrong. It is essential to pop in with good news, or just for a friendly Hello. Always keep an open line of communication. Take any opportunity to celebrate, no matter how seemingly insignificant the achievement. Choose an appropriate time (using the Every Time Zone app) that every branch of your team can enjoy a little fun. Have pizzas or a cake delivered to each office and set up a live video feed using the new FreeConference.com – coming soon, so you can all party in real time. Visual communication, impromptu face-to-face time and celebration are essential to building a close-knit team.
Creating emotional bonds between co-workers not only stimulates collaboration, it also helps you retain top talent. Believe it or not, money is not our primary motivator. If members of your staff like each other, they are more likely to stay put. A sense of belonging will always be more important than a raise. Apps like HipChat not only allow your team to seamlessly engage in real-time collaboration, but they also provide a place where team members can crack jokes and share cat memes. Never underestimate the team-building power of a good inside joke.
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