The new role of management

by Koen de Boer

August 9, 2020

As the new year begins, it’s time for some New Year’s Resolutions. At the beginning of 2021, we were hopeful that we could beat COVID and everything could return to normal, or at least go back to the things we wanted to go back to. This year the realization came that COVID is here to stay and that our way of working will change indefinitely. Looking forward to 2022 and the chance to shape the future of work, here are some New Year’s Resolutions you can start with today!

1. Get Hybrid right

With remote work as the norm in many countries at the moment and hybrid work here to stay in the future, it’s time to get the hybrid thing right. Hybrid isn’t just about where you work, it’s also about when you work. What do employees need when it comes to hybrid work? What do you need an office for (and how does this affect the design of the office)? What tasks can be done remotely and what tasks need to be done in the office? And does the work need to be done synchronically or can it be done a-synchronically? By re-contracting on the one thing that makes sense; results, you move away from how, when, and where.

2. Connect

Remote work is the norm at the moment and hybrid work will be here to stay, so how do you connect to people and give people a sense of belonging in your organization?

For one-on-one connection, just ask your colleague how there are doing. Checking in with colleagues regularly helps boost the feeling of belonging. This article in the Harvard Business Review shows that 40 % of U.S. respondents reported feeling physically and emotionally isolated in the workplace. Let’s crush that number!

Our Zoom fatigue has risen with the pandemic holding on. To connect with your team, start your meeting with a check-in. You can ask how everyone is doing, for instance, in a weather report. You can also ask more personal questions, to get to know each other better, or ask a question about teamwork. At SSI we start our team meeting with a check-in question and use this tool for inspiration.

One of the concerns with remote work is the way we network. The incidental chats and spontaneous encounters at the water cooler no longer occur when working from home. Although we meet with people we already know, it is difficult to meet people we know less or not at all. SSI has been a hybrid organization from the start, because of the team and Country Partners working all over the globe. To get to know each other better we started Slack Roulette (Slack for the communication platform). Each month you are linked with a different colleague via a Roulette. You plan a chat with the linked colleague and so our network grew. I have better connected with colleagues from Switzerland, the Philippines, Australia, and the US this way.

3. Use the diversity of talents you have in the team/organization.

When focusing on results in the team, a great starting point is to look at the different talents within the team to see how each team member can contribute in the best way towards these results (and reach his/her full potential in doing so). Ask these questions: What talent do you see in yourself? What talents do you see in your teammates? What talents do your teammates see in you? And how can you make the best use of the different talents in your team to work towards results, by dividing the responsibilities or by joining forces on specific tasks?

4. Step out of your comfort zone.

With the world changing around us and the uncertainty for the future, it’s compelling to sit back and see what is going to happen, you are already out of your comfort zone. But why stay in this inactive state, when there is so much to discover from your couch and home office? Experiment with new ways of working, with new skills. And when you fail; just stand up and try again (or try something else). This could be the new hobby that has been on your list for years. For me, it’s playing the piano, and since I have one at home, I just have to check YouTube and get started. Or learn the language you always wanted to speak and dream of your next travel moment (when that’s possible again).

Experiment with new ways of working. At SSI we have been experimenting with different ways and forms to organize our workflow in our hybrid team. After trying different programs, we are now very satisfied with Miro, where my colleague Christiaan made a great workflow board, which we adjust when needed. Want to know more about how we use Miro, connect to Christiaan Grové.

5. Hang the garlands

In Dutch we have the saying ‘het leven is een feestje, je moet alleen zelf de slingers ophangen’ – ‘life is a party, you just have to hang the garlands yourself’. Life can be fun when you make the most of it yourself. Of course, it’s not easy to stay positive in these uncertain times. When will the lockdown end, do I have to homeschool my kids again, when can I go out for diner or a drink, visit a museum, go to the cinema, dance at a club, or go to a concert? Since we don’t know, let’s see how we can have some fun and make the most out of the current situation. Don’t let these questions throw you off your feed. Find (new) ways to have fun, laugh about your mistakes (when you’ve tried resolution number 4), have a living room disco or karaoke, have a New Years quiz with your colleagues via Kahoot, go for a walk in nature, play board games with your children.

We wish you a prosperous, sparkling, and exciting 2022!


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