Take your team out for lunch. Every day. There is no better place for everyone to feel like they're peers and can participate in a conversation equally. If you want to hear the really important stuff, this is your chance. You have to get everyone relaxed to open up and talk about what matters to them. Because what matters to your employees, matters for your business. These are the people who make it happen. Plus, the food and the drink and the atmosphere will make them feel less stressed. It will create a climate of sharing.
THE JOURNEY IS KEY.
1. Do daily scrum meetings.
Don't focus so much on the result, focus on the process of getting there. Replace traditional team meetings with daily scrum meetings. Do them in the same place at the same time, ideally around 10 a.m. in the morning, after everyone has had a chance to get on top of their most urgent emails and has wrapped up whatever was left from the day before. Spend no more than 10-15 minutes. That's why these meetings are also called "stand-up meetings." It gets uncomfortable to stand for long periods of time. The idea is to get in sync quickly. Have everyone talk about 1-2 most important things they are working on. Don't try to solve problems, the team can solve them later.
Have each team member answer these 3 questions:
- What did you accomplish yesterday?
- What will you accomplish today?
- What's stopping you from accomplishing it?
These things must have deadlines not further than a few weeks out, ideally a few days. This helps cut large complex project up into small tasks that are easy to track and celebrate. Have team members set their own deadlines. They will feel a lot of pride in delivering against these deadlines. Set up a day to have your team paint a wall with blackboard paint to use for these scrum meetings. It's a fun exercise, and as an added benefit it will give you a great looking central planning system.
2. Keep your plans short.
Don't spend time on creating elaborate long term plans; They typically change too often anyway. If your team knows what your core KPIs are, and you have a clear mission and vision for the future, they should be empowered to figure out the tactical priorities. The only long term planning you should do is for your content calendar. What content will your startup push out? What story will you tell your customers? Where will you publish it? Align it with themes and topics that need research, artistic support, and production. The scrum method will keep you very agile as a team and will align everyone every day on what is happening across your company. It will also put peer pressure on the team and help them with picking up each other's skills, bandwidth, and experience challenges.
3. Have your team in the office.
Don’t let your team work from home unless there is a specific need. Have everyone in the office. You are doing knowledge work and creative work. 1 + 1 + 1 can equal 10, if your team does it together. Team dynamics take over, and people get excited doing stuff simply because they see others around them working on the same projects. You're building relationships and trust, improving communication, and greater collaboration. Before you can successfully solve a big problem together, you'll have to solve little problems together. Unless you know each other's strengths or weaknesses, there will be a potential conflict. It's normal. It's human. If one team member spends most of his/her time at home, the rest of them will feel awkward. It's like bringing a new kid to a high school. It takes time for others to adjust and to openly express their feelings. And you want that. You want fun, teamwork and some good drama once in a while. Emotions fuel our creativity.
Your to-do list:
- Do daily stand-up scrum meetings.
- Take your team to lunch.
- Be present in the office every day, and demand the same from your team.