Reconnecting Workspaces - office

As workplaces reopen, it is an opportunity to redefine and re-envision how we work together. In the return to work it is important to get back to the basics on multiple levels. The complexity of hybrid teams, where some may be onsite and some offsite necessitates that we get back to the basics of what helps individuals, teams and organization thrive.

This article explores three foundational areas to consider as you get back to reconnect in the workplace. Each is further explored in my latest book, Reconnecting Workspaces.

#1 – High performance is about relationships AND results.

Exceptional teams, especially those in the remote and hybrid world, understand that high performance is both about relationships and results.  When we focus on relationships this includes :

  • Knowing each other’s strengths
  • Understanding each other’s roles
  • Connecting in with each other
  • Knowing how to navigate differences and conflict

What else leads to solid relationships on your team?

Results including a focus on:

  • Goals – what are we doing? Where are we going? How does one team member’s focus fit into another’s? What does success look like?
  • Leadership – What does leadership mean on our team? What leadership roles does everyone play?
  • Outcomes – What are we aiming towards?
  • Enablers and Derailers – What will help, and what will hinder performance

What else contributes to results in your team?

As a team, be aware of what balance you are creating around both relationships and results. Too much focus on one, may influence the other.

#2 – Return to the fundamentals of exceptional teamwork.

Teams are the engine of many businesses, and it can be valuable to return back to the basics, which I frame in my writing as the Six Factors of High Performing Teams. These six areas are:

1. Shared purpose, vision and mission (Your WHY)
What is your purpose? Your mission? Why do you exist? Does everyone hold the same understanding? What does this mean practically for your work? What priorities does your purpose or mission naturally create?

2. Shared behavioral norms (HOW)
How do you do things? What is acceptable and unacceptable on the team? What behaviors and habits exist? Which ones are supportive of exceptional performance? Which ones aren’t?

3. Shared commitment (WHO)
What are team members committed to? What will you get done, no matter what? Is there anything that needs to be dropped off the list?

4. Shared performance goals (WHAT)
What are key goals for the team this year? What are key individual goals? How do your goals align? Overlap? What does success look like for each member? For the entire team? Does everyone have an understanding of the key goals of others on the team and how they feed into them?

5. Shared team practices (HOW)
Teams that work together effectively share common practices such as a Monday morning huddle, a Thursday night out or some other regular event. What practices support your relationships?

6. Clear Roles (WHO)
How do our roles overlap, align and connect? What changes, if any, are needed this year around your roles giving your priorities?
#3 – Focus on connecting in multiple layers

Connection in today’s workspaces takes place on multiple layers. As I share in Reconnecting Workspaces, it can include connecting on what I term the Six Layers of Connection™. As I have shared in other posts, the virtual and remote work and business world appears flat but has multiple layers. It’s in these layers that we get to see the nuance and significance.

Connection to the Topic – First, what’s the connection with the topic. What is it important to them? How does the topic have relevance in their life?

Connection to You – What is the connection with you. What’s your connection? Common ground? What relationship do you have that you can magnify?

Connection to Others on the call – As I often say “No person is an island”. Connecting in with others is paramount. What opportunities do people have to formally and informally connect?

Connection to the Content – What is the connection to the content you are engaging in? What are those elements which are important to you?

Connection to the Platform  – What is the elements of the platform you are using (Zoom, Teams or other) which will help you in moving your shared topic, and the call, forward?

Connection to your Context – What are you doing to connect what you are leaning and talking about to the wider context? It’s key that we spend time connecting our work and conversations to the wider context, and not leave learning on the screen.

Consider your most recent conversations and what helped you create connection. Likely it included connection to these six layers. What is important for you to put a focus around?

As we reconnect in the workspace, it is imperative that we are intentional with what we create. Each of these areas – Relationships and Results,  the Six Factors of High Performing Teams, and the Six Layers of Connection – can all lay a solid foundation moving forward.

What is important to focus on as you reconnect in the workplace? What are the conversations you want to have?