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No one could’ve predicted the challenges we would face amid COVID-19. And now, with some distance from the initial shock of the pandemic, is the perfect time to listen to your team and reflect on your communication.

What’s working? What isn’t? What messages are being well received, and which are misunderstood?

But this isn’t as easy as it sounds. In a world where all you can think about is what’s going to happen tomorrow, how do you prioritize listening and reflecting?

Schedule Time to Reflect

The pandemic has forced leaders to think on their feet, be extremely decisive and pivot frequently. In such a fast-paced environment, it’s crucial to take the time to reflect to make sure the decisions you’re making on the fly are still aligned with your business goals. Pencil this time in your calendar as you would an important meeting. Reflection is a crucial role of a leader, and it’s important to make the time.

Make Reflection Tangible

At Franco, we set specific time aside to review and reflect. In fact, reflection was one of Franco’s 2020 goals even before the pandemic hit, so thankfully, we’ve had some time to create this habit. So, how do we reflect?

  • Start meetings with a few reflection questions to center everyone on the meeting’s purpose and desired outcomes. Why are we meeting? What do we need to accomplish during the meeting?
  • Debrief after a big project to identify lessons learned. What worked well? What didn’t? Is there anything that surprised us that we should see coming next time?

In April, we sent our entire staff a 13-week goal journal to encourage daily reflection and help team members stay focused on their personal and professional goals. We also started a Staying Inspired channel on Microsoft TEAMS where we ask our team to share some of their best client work and celebrate their wins. This encourages everyone to reflect on their recent work and determine what projects were the most successful and why, while also boosting morale.

Ask, Listen and Act!

Checking the pulse of your team helps guide and shape your approach. Short, frequent surveys are great tools to glean insights from your team. Surveys tell us how we’re doing and help us shape future communications to better meet the needs of the team in this crazy, upside-down world.

But if you’re going to ask, then you need to act. So, consider how you’ll use the survey insights and how you’ll demonstrate action. Employees love to see their ideas implemented, and this motivates the team to contribute more ideas and insights. Show your team you care by asking frequently, listening thoroughly and acting responsively to close the loop.

A short pulse survey on remote working might include the following:

  • I have concerns about returning to the office.
    • Yes
    • No
    • Unsure
  • I feel as productive in the remote environment as I am in the office.
    • Yes
    • No
    • Unsure
  • Company culture has suffered in our remote environment.
    • Yes
    • No
    • Unsure
  • Is there anything you’re lacking that would enable you to work more effectively or efficiently in your remote environment?
    • Technology
    • Collaborative opportunities with teammates
    • Leadership
    • Other (please explain)
  • How is the company’s communication cadence in the remote environment?
    • Too much
    • Too little
    • Just right
  • What topics would you like further communication on?
  • While working remote, I would enjoy virtual gatherings such as happy hours…
    • Once per week
    • Once per month
    • Not at all

As we all settle into our “new normal”, it’s more important now than ever to reflect on what we’ve learned thus far. More than just reflecting, we must commit to taking what we’ve learned and incorporating those lessons to best support our teams during this next phase.

If you need support collecting and implementing feedback from your internal audiences, please send me an email at [email protected].

Tina Kozak is Franco’s president. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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