The Remote Revolution: Are We Reaching The Tipping Point?

In the last few weeks, companies have begun to embrace the new workplace reality. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, Upwork, and Coinbase have all communicated lasting changes as a result of COVID-19. But most companies are still new to distributed teams and working from home. Let’s look at those using these practices before the pandemic hit. Let’s learn – once again – from the pioneers.

In the last few weeks, companies have begun to embrace the new workplace reality. The likes of Twitter, Facebook, Shopify, Upwork, and Coinbase have all communicated lasting changes as a result of COVID-19. 

Jack Dorsey, CEO of both Twitter and Square, announced recently that employees can now work from home indefinitely. Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke announced working from home as the new normal. On Twitter he wrote: “As of today, Shopify is a digital-by-default company. We will keep our offices closed until 2021 so that we can rework them for this new reality. And after that, most will permanently work remotely. Office centricity is over.”

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Busy family life and career during quarantine

Working parents, take it easy on yourselves right now

There’s no doubt that it’s challenging, but you can make it easier on yourself by focusing on some simple principles. Instead of aiming for perfection, aim for happiness. Try to be patient with yourself if you need extra time to get your work done, because you often will. Accept that your days won’t go as planned. And rather than dwelling on your mistakes, be curious about them. What can you learn? Are there meaningful patterns in the mistakes you’re making? How can you adapt? You may be reading advice about how to be productive during this time — how much sleep and exercise you should be getting, or how to enrich your kids’ online learning experience over the summer. Ask yourself if these recommendations are actually serving you at this moment. If they aren’t, let them go and identify what your family really needs. Finally, make sure you find time for laughter. Especially during a crisis, we need to find ways to turn stressful moments into light-hearted ones — whenever we can.
Tip adapted from “Lessons from a Working Mom on ‘Doing It All’,” 
by Francesca Gino

Source: Harvard Business Review

5 Simple Steps To A High-Quality Webinar Studio

Written by Pim

How many times have you joined an online session with shitty audio? Or hideous video quality that makes you want to leave instantly? The answer probably is “way too often”. Especially now, while most of us are working remotely. To solve that familiar frustration, I will share 5 quick, easy and inexpensive steps to upgrade your setup. We did it – and I can tell you – it makes all the difference in the world.

Before the corona pandemic, most of our client work took place at their sites. One week in each month we travelled to somewhere in the world to run workshops, give presentations, and work with companies overhauling their outdated structures. Then came the travel ban. Now we run all our sessions online.

But our equipment was in desperate need of an upgrade. We wanted to stand out not just in terms of content, but also in terms of quality.

Here is what we did.

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Stop Your Mind from Imagining the Worst-Case Scenario

When you feel anxious about losing things that are dear to you, your mind may imagine the worst. To calm yourself, return to the present. Start simple. Name five things in the room: There’s a computer, a chair, a picture of the dog, an old rug, and a coffee mug. Breathe. Realize that in the present moment, this room is your reality. In this moment, you’re OK. Use your senses, think about how these objects feel. The desk is hard. Feel the breath come into your nose. The goal is to find balance in your thoughts. If you feel a negative image taking shape, make yourself think of a positive one. Let go of what you can’t control. And be compassionate and patient with yourself and others. Being generous in your thinking can help brush aside some of your negative thoughts.

Source: Harvard Business Review

This tip is adapted from “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief,” by Scott Berinato

A New Technology to Combat the Pandemic

This is one of those rare turning points in history. The COVID-19 pandemic will profoundly change our behaviour and society. Many institutions will come under scrutiny and, we hope, change for the better.

At the Blockchain Research Institute, we’re doing our part to facilitate positive change. Technologies like artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, augmented/virtual reality, and above all, blockchain are more relevant than ever—not just to business and the economy but to the future of public health and the safety of global populations.

Traditional systems have failed us and it’s time for a new paradigm. To build on Victor Hugo, “Nothing is more powerful than an idea that has become a necessity.”

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Keep Your Writing Simple

When you’re writing for work, it can be tempting to rely on industry jargon or big words to puff up your ideas. But overblown language doesn’t make you sound smart, and it can be off-putting to readers. Most people are drawn to a more conversational tone. So, choose shorter, more familiar words and explain things in a way that anyone could understand. For example, write “things that could affect the merger” instead of “issues potentially impacting the successful completion of the merger.” Also, whether you’re writing an email or a formal proposal, make sure that your content is glanceable, since it probably will be read on a screen — and these days, often a phone. Assume that your readers will be distracted, busy, and on-the-go. Formatting can help: Try using subheads, bullet points, diagrams, and tables to highlight your key takeaways. Short sentences and short paragraphs help too. A good rule of thumb is “one thought per sentence.” If there are too many linked ideas in one sentence, your readers may get lost and just give up.

This tip is adapted from “Writing About Business (Without Being a Bore),” by Mike Reed

Don’t Just Have a To-Do List — Timebox It

The only thing worse than having a long to-do list is not knowing how you’re going to get everything done. Timeboxing can help: It’s a way of converting your to-do list into blocks of time on your calendar, so you have a plan for what to do and when. Start by looking at your to-do list and figuring out each task’s deadlines. For example, if a promotional video has to go live on a Tuesday, and the production team needs 72 hours to incorporate your edits, then put a hold on your calendar at least 72 hours before Tuesday. Repeat for each item on your to-do list. If you work on a team where people can see one another’s calendars, timeboxing has the added benefit of showing people that the work will get done on time. But the biggest advantage of timeboxing might be that it gives you a feeling of control over your calendar — which can help you feel happier at work.
Source: Harvad Business Review.

Manage Your Emotions Before, During, and After a Negotiation

Negotiations can get emotional, to say the least. Whether you’re asking for a raise, more resources for your team, or to restructure your position, you might feel anxious, reluctant, or worried. But you won’t be successful if you’re worked up, so take steps to handle your emotions. Before the negotiation, ask yourself how your counterpart might respond — and why. Doing so will help you identify potential setbacks and gather additional information to respond to their challenges. The more you prepare, the less anxious you will feel. During the negotiation, if you find yourself getting upset or nervous, pause and reflect on the underlying reasons and formulate a strategy to address them. After the negotiation, try to avoid carrying negative emotions. Reflect instead on the moments you were most proud of during your interaction, and focus on how you will use your experience to get the result you want in the future.

This tip is adapted from “3 of the Most Common Challenges Women Face in Negotiations,” by Mara Olekalns et al.

Source: Harvard Business Review

7 Characteristics of Leadership 4.0

What successful leaders do differently

Author: Christina Boesenberg

Recently, I have received many questions of whether I could clearly differentiate traditional leadership and Leadership 4.0 (what some are calling “digital leaders”), so I am providing a short synopsis of insights and observations in context with what is perceived as a new phenomenon.

Digital technologies have disrupted everything, not only within IT, but also leadership styles and how we manage our organisations. Leaders at every tech company are not digital leaders, but it is undisputed that Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are two of the best examples today. What do they have that the majority of managers do not?

First and foremost, there is a difference in management style. Both men have the gift to inspire their employees to innovate and “hold” onto these ideas. Their acumen in applying benchmarks of digital leadership shows a fast, cross-hierarchical, cooperative, and team-oriented approach often integrating the innovation peak ideals of Silicon Valley. Above all, the personal competence, the mindset, and the application of new methods (or instruments such as “design thinking”) are crucial. There are several traits that are exhibited, ones that we also use to differentiate Leadership 4.0.

Seven things successful leaders in the digital era do differently

  • Responsibility

Traditional managers clearly define responsibilities and roles; team-oriented or cross-functional tasks beyond the manager’s outlined hierarchy immediately lead to conflicts.

Digital leaders learn how to distribute tasks according to the situation and team competence, where the abilities of managers together with employees are continually linked; success means all participants contribute their competence networking intelligence.

  • Results

Traditional managers control orders, plan resources, and evaluate results (and as a rule, their own comfort zone will define the borders of a project).

Digital leaders control voting processes and discourse, evaluate tasks and results together with team members, and use resources according to potential and competence (cross-functional and cross-hierarchical); practical results are generated by integrating constant feedback between internal and external stakeholders.

  • Distribution of Information

Traditional leaders typically distribute information under an obligation to provide data in a “strategic” and piecemeal manner (embodiment of the “knowledge is power” syndrome). Freedom of information (or choice) leads to control mania.

Digital leaders create a transparent framework, counts on a “collectable debt”of self-responsibility and proactive behaviours.

  • Objectives and Assessments

Assessing the performance of employees individually in fixed cycles is within the comfort zone of a traditional manager. Situations determine the need for assessing employees and teams equally by a digital leader, with exchange/ feedback continually occurring.

  • Mistakes and Conflicts

Rules with consequences for violations avoid mistakes are the hopeful path the traditional manager takes before conflicts occur. An open atmosphere with the learning effect in errors is endorsed by digital leaders, who places the company’s own responsibility for solutions in the foreground.

  • Change

Maintaining budgets, stable quality, and minimised risks are a priority for Traditional managers, leaving little room for creativity. The energy of a digital leader sustains the high-level willingness and ability for change within the company while deliberately promoting as well as encouraging high agility between the market, customers, and employees.

  • Innovation

Creating new ideas for new products is typically extremely challenging for a traditional leader, as it does not fit the normal cycles or processes. The future is invented and designed; a digital leader knows innovations are based on a team’s focus on a common goal to make the best possible use of the abilities of each individual (Right Potential). Innovation is learnable; this is helped by transforming old structures through the use of multidisciplinary teams, flexible working environments, and creative processes.

It is all about the mindset and how we look at the world

It is more difficult to sustainably change yourself from within than learn new skills because modifications mean new thought patterns are adopted, developed as habits, and energise future actions. Sounds easy, but is not. Even using Apple shows the complexity of a digital leader’s success. A user of the online community platform Reddit asked what the CEO of Apple was doing right. Steve Wozniak answered, “Tim Cook acknowledges his employees and the customers of Apple as real people.” For Oxford Leadership, this means weQ (weQuality).

Agility is the key principle of digital leadership, relating to customer orientation and responding directly to the needs as well as desires of a target group. At the same time, Leadership 4.0 is about the involvement of employees, their individual abilities (Right Potential instead of High Potential ©), motivations, and ideas. An open, transparent, and innovative culture is the basis for high agility, rapid market adaptation, and the DNA within the digital leader.

For organisations to react more efficient to market changes, digital leaders must give much more responsibility to their teams. They allow employees a lot of freedom (and trust) in their own decisions. The co-creative fast community culture of the weQ requires a high learning flexibility of each individual as essential.

Source: Oxford Leadership