A recent Forbes Counsel article discusses some of the biggest challenges tech leaders are currently facing and how they intend to tackle them. 4 out of 20 leaders thought that it was crucial to responsibly integrate AI in business or utilize it to optimize workflows. 2 thought that workforce planning and combatting burn-out were top on the list.
The remaining 12 answers circled – one way or another – around team process and effectiveness, especially in light of the consistently changing work circumstances.
These challenges included the increasing necessity to
- become more adaptable.
- harness diverse strengths in team collaboration.
- build a strong team.
- optimize team processes for New Work realities.
- clarify roles and responsibilities.
- combat silos and slowed collaboration.
- navigate distributed working environments.
Effective, agile team processes have always been central to the success of tech teams. Their projects are typically complex and require well-orchestrated yet adaptive and inclusive collaboration. The million-dollar performance question tends to be how quickly a team can respond to changing circumstances -- and how effective the responses are under immense pressure.
Flexible Work Concepts: Not a Matter of If but How
The COVID years have certainly not helped any of the challenges mentioned above. On the contrary, many leaders mentioned the New Work circumstances as part of the issue. However, a prescriptive order for everybody to come back to the office 100% may neither be feasible nor conducive to resolving the challenges. If we want to create fluid and flexible team processes and collaboration forms, we need to create them in a way that acknowledges that the future of work is flexible. With this ironically more stable and feasible standpoint we can create team processes that truly help us to be adaptive without the reliance on either a remote policy or a back onsite policy.
Here are some tips that may help to create adaptive, inclusive, and innovative processes for your team:
- Become intentional: Many team leaders wait for Corporate to make the decision on Work From Home (WFH) policies to then try to adapt last minute. Should that policy change again, they will be behind again. Without an intentional collaboration strategy for distributed working environments, leaders might become all too reactive too many times ultimately contributing to the team’s confusion rather than proactive collaboration.
- Collect data: Creating a new team process and collaboration model from the leader's perspective alone may not lead to the desired results. Collecting meaningful data from all perspectives can help reduce blind spots and pave the way for creating truly conducive circumstances as well as motivation.
- Think about information flow rather than performance: New team processes are often contemplated when individual or team performance seems to decrease. As tempting as it might be to focus on seemingly underperforming individuals or the performance of the entire team, we’d recommend focusing on the underlying performance enablers. For nimble team performance that would be information flow between team members and across teams. Where are bottlenecks? How can you ensure that everybody is always on the same page?
- Streamline your technology: It is ironic, but tech teams do not always have the most streamlined tech systems to their avail. If your people must input data into various systems and give status updates at the same time, a lot of time and brain capacity goes to waste. This naturally cuts into your team’s performance and fosters bottlenecks.
- Consider all types of diversity and use this as an opportunity for team building and innovation: Innovation and effectiveness in complex environments require the use of all resources that we have to our avail. To be more inclusive and activate a team-building opportunity, consider discussing some of these questions: Do we have a hierarchy of thought? What contributes to it? How can we ensure that every voice/input is being heard and fully considered? How can we create a system that systemically ensures that we embrace and continue to create diversity on our team? How can our new processes drive our everyday team building and practices to ultimately drive the success of the entire team?
Finding new collaboration forms is oftentimes necessary to create better future outcomes. However, it can be so much more than just a necessity. Taking the right steps to get started can turn out to be a fun opportunity for rebuilding and re-energizing a dream team that continually fuels its own success.