The OKR Podcast
The OKR Podcast

Episode · 2 years ago

Look Forward: Work 2020 and Beyond

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Deidre Paknad, CEO and co-founder of WorkBoard, discusses how leaders can turn current events into a catalyst for revisiting and improving the way teams come together, create value, and drive strategic priorities.

You're listening to the OKA our podcast. We talked about the power of lateral alignment and outcome mindset and empowering teams to do their best work from anywhere. We also talk about operating as a digital company, which is crucial. Now her journeys, learnings and victories from our guest speakers and get expertise from our host to scale your leadership capacity and operate with high impact, trust and efficiency. Here's your host daydream pack. Not Very few of you are going back to the office. Is Normal, and q through your queue for meaningful percentage don't have a plan to return in two thousand and twenty and, not surprisingly, a lot of you just don't know yet. Here in Silicon Valley quite a number of companies have said you can work from home indefinitely or we're not returning at all in two thousand and twenty. And privately, the conversations I'm having with CEOS and executives and business leaders is they will shift the way they think about real estate. They are without vaccine, without treatment of many of them are skeptical to recongregate employees and close quarters and in close situations. Those things have real impact in the way we think about work, how we come together to do work, and it's really that that I want to talk through and talk about in this conversation. It's a crisis for but it's also a tremendous catalyst for how we think about coming together, accomplishing things together, organizing and structuring our work and so on, and I think there's an opportunity, as leaders of our businesses, as leaders of our programs for Krs, which are fundamentally about how does the organization achieve its vision? Is it really important opportunity here to look at this as a catalyst and to think strategically, not just reactively, about what your next moves are and what your next choices are?...

There are whole host of opportunities that are in front of us and those opportunities, I think, are incredibly meaningful. So we have an opportunity to see a step change efficiency bump by just being smarter and more savvy about how we coordinate work and the digital throughput of that work. We have an opportunity to build, develop cultivate new manager and new leader skills that unlocked talent and the talented people's impact in our organizations. We have an opportunity to revisit our cost structures. Real estate and offices are actually quite expensive and enormous part of the cost in any given business, and we have an opportunity to think about do we need to spend that money there, or could we invest that money in other areas that created more advantage for the organization? We have an opportunity to accelerate the gains we realize out of digital transformation, not just talk about digital transformation, but actually realize and harness the impacts that it has for the company. We have an opportunity to be whole human beings at work, to take what we've learned from this experience of seeing each other's kids and seeing each other's dogs and knowing what our home lives are like and integrating those more holy into the way we show up at work next year, as well as opposed to going back to the compartmental approach we've had all along. I think we have an opportunity for our workforces to operate with higher autonomy and higher impact, just bringing more to the work they do and bringing that impact faster than they otherwise would. And maybe the biggest of all, certainly not the last, is there's an opportunity for innovation, for real change and real ideas to flow that we have not yet begun to imagine, but which follow from the disruption of our universe and of our lives even as we know them. Those opportunities are significant for our organizations, not just this year, their ten year impact...

...opportunities. But to realize those opportunities we will also need to work through what I think of as a set of challenges that come from the work environment we're in right now, and a couple of those are sort of revisiting the way we worked in the past and looking out whether it's really suiting us or serving us now. So the first thing to work on and to talk through is the proximity void. The second is this contraction of our relationships to just our nuclear team. There's a culture hit that comes from the work environment we are in right now and we are all experiencing what I think of as a capacity and a focus strain and most of us have a new connection to wanting meaning and purpose in the work that we do. So I'm going to talk through those challenges and the implications of those and hopefully share some ideas with you, both ours and yours, on how we take full of Studvandy of the opportunities and work through those challenges in the smoothest way. So the first is the proximity void and proximities just implicit in the operating rhythms of most organizations. It is how we give direction and inspection. You get directed by walking over to the team and offering some guidance on where you'd like them to focus. You decide whether they're actually focusing on that by observing whether they are. It's really built into very fundamental level how we get alignment, how we feel like we have accountability and how, as managers, very often we feel like we have control over what our team is doing in the outcomes were responsible for. that. Proximity has been stripped away and it leaves the gaping hole and the question is what goes in that hole? Proximity is also how we have connections beyond our own team. It's how we are seen by others in the organization and...

...it's how we're heard beyond our own team as well. If you're a leader and you have many layers in your organization and walking through the campus is how you see bright, energetic people and you have an opportunity to build relationships with people that are not your direct reports, that don't sit in your eastaff meeting and proximity provides a creates those coincidences, those overlapping moments in a space that help us have connections and have community. And then, I think for individual contributors and for all of us who work for someone or report to someone, it's also really important way that we calibrate and we get visual, physical feedback and verify that we're appreciated. The Nice head nod, the affirming look and glances, the pad on the back, both literal and metaphorical, the fist bump, all those things how we know we're appreciated. They also tell us that we're safe in our professional capacity and they help validate that we're doing work that matters. We use physical proximity as is part of the operating rhythm of our business. When we don't have that proximity, we need a other ways are providing direction and doing inspection that the right work is happening and it's heading in the right way. We need other ways of building connections with each other skip level beyond our direct team, and we need other ways to calibrate that we're on the right course and that we're doing things that matter now. If we can find better ways, other ways to think about that operating rhythm and the connection and calibration around that that go beyond proximity, we have an opportunity to get that step change, bump and efficiency, to revisit the cost structures in the organization and use our capital in other ways and to accelerate the gains from digital transformation. One of the things that I'm observing, and I think...

...many of you maybe, is our world of work contracts to just our nuclear team, meaning the meetings were having conversations, were having the one on ones, we're having the connect and chat and let's talk about that's all shrinking to just those people with whom we are on a core team and if we're onto team, so it's shrinking to the two. It's no longer up and down and across the organization. You no longer have the coincidences around that. Few of US can add another meeting or another ten meetings to our week, and so this nuclear team may be getting stronger, but bonds beyond that new clear team are getting weaker. So how, as an organization, and then how is leaders, do we make sure that people are seen and heard beyond their teams, that they have relationships beyond the one with their manager. Now I think that means we can build the new manager and leader skills that unlock talent and that free it to move more fully through our organization and, of course, I think it means that we can have a workforce that operates with higher degree bout time. You're really solving for how do we connect beyond nuclear team? unlocks new opportunity for our organization, but it will require real thinking and, I think, a shift in behavior from us to create the relationships beyond. The next challenge we need to work through, I think, is how do we work through the capacity and the focus strain? So the capacity strain is everyone, many of you here have now a kid in your lap, a dog that needs to be let out, a partner who is on their own zoom call and can't can't take care of the lunch situation. Right now. There's a lot of what I think it is at home, competition for attention, for time, for focus. Your capacity is under more challenge now...

...that it was when you could work from the office and be just at the office while you were at work. And I think there's also this focus drain, which is when you're at work and you're sitting in a building where you're in a row of offices or cubicles, everyone's mirroring the same thing. We're all sitting in a desk mirror and what work looks like. It's heads down, it's monitor up or it's in the meeting with your peers. Well, there's no mirroring cubes. There's the family and that's going in twenty directions, and so this sort of reflection we see, or we got from around us on what you do at work and what working looks like. You don't have that reflection right now. It's a completely different picture. Time potency matters more than time spent. Now lots of our organizations have a historical operating model which is very focused on time spent, but really the power of your hour is where it's at right now and for our organizations, both our opportunity and our challenge is to help people maximize the power of their hour, not maximize the number of hours that they're spending, but the impact that they make in that hour. I think one of the next challenges we have to work through and I think it's a it's a substantial one. When we take proximity out of the mix and we no longer have line of sight, I think for managers to the organization, and maybe middle and frontline or first and second level managers in particular, will need a new set of tricks for how they manage the how do they manage with outline of sight? And one of the first things, and I'm hearing a lot of this from individual contributors and in fact senior individual contributors, is that when managers can't see you, don't have a line of sight to what their teams, you're doing. When they're at home and what they see in the mirror is the dog and the kids and the wife on the call, they feel less control of their destiny and of the impact...

...their team is making and their conversation drifts into a very repetitive motion of are you done yet, where you add on this thing, and continuously following up and following up and following up with team members who start to then feel dogged by the are you done yet? Where are you on this? And that has a culture implication that's very strong, very strong and pretty them you take it in context of the capacity in the focus strain that people are under. I think to thrive as a culture in this environment, we all need to think through the Slas, or the service level agreements, if you will, between managers and their team members and between organizations and managers. So managers will need to provide more clarity that enables autonomy and accountability without them chasing people down. People are too tired to be chased at the moment. They don't have enough capacity to do all the reporting and the reading out that everyone would like. Teams, I think, will move beyond task transparency to outcome transparency. Now, dead teams everywhere have been driving in a task transparency world of gear are as, your devops, where all the tasks everyone is doing are really transparent. What they're finding out right now is task transparency isn't enough. We need outcome transparency. Why are you doing that? What impact are you creating from that? I need to understand that, the outcome, more than I need to understand the output. And so a new SLA with teams we agree not only to track our tasks or tickets in Guerrero, wherever it is. We also need to be clear about our intention, the objectives, and we need to be clear about the impact we're trying to create, the outcomes or the key results, so that we can then operate in harmony but also in independence of each other. And then organizations will need to enable the digital manager,...

...and they only need to do that quickly. And by enabling the digital manager I mean revisit all of the manager and leader training and if you revisit and new look at and go through the content mook, at all the places it talks about meetings and huddles and all of the manual, in person, physical ways of managing. Flip that on its head and start to think about and reimagine for your organization. What does the digital manager look like and do their day data driven, they're transparent, they operate with a commitment to transparency. Their habits are different and now is the time to start to build that digital manager course and the curriculum and the enablement for managers in your organization so they can operate in an SLA of managing without line of sight and doing it very skillfully. Ultimately, this has changed us all or more connected to our families. Were more aware of our mortality, we are more aware of the differences between the halves and have knots. We're more aware of the importance of working, but we want more meaning from the work we do. We want to know that it's helpful, that it's valuable, we want to know why. We need a deeper level of connection and a deeper lip, deeper level of purpose. So how do we provide both the work and the purpose along with it? And I think the will see a resurgence of compassion in leadership messaging, in the leadership conversation. I think that's phenomenal. But I think if you're leading an organization, for your writing the objectives for an organization, or you're thinking about enabling your managers to management to man, you'll need to think they're what's changed in our lives and let's changed in our human experience. That to change your work experience. I think ultimately that being more digital can help our companies be more human. SMART systems replace proximity with facts. I...

...don't eat to observe the facts directly and in person. I can self certifine those facts and then, from the facts, engage with the person. They give us more capacity by automating a bunch of repetitive motion activities. SMART systems and data enable us to work autonomously and still be cohesive in our team and our organization. And because those same smart systems in the data about what our impact is and what we're working towards can be seen beyond our nuclear team, they help amplify our value and help that value be seen, help other people who need to harmonize with that value do that more effectively. And it seems a little bit of an oxymoron to save by being more digital we can be more human, but it is exactly that magic moment in time whereas humans we need scale, we need facts, we need a higher degree of control on those things that we can control, and systems in data and facts, digital systems, can actually provide us with that capacity and with that control. My Call to action to you is to tap more fully in to the capacity you have, the digital system you have, so that your organization is delivering its best possible results, both in prosperity and in adversity, and frinkly, your best results matter more in adversity than they did in in prosperity and the boom times. Use the full process, the full set of muscles, the full set of automation, not just to get a line, but to make meetings more streamline, to reduce the number of meetings people attend, to make them smarter. Use The business reviews to replace the archeology work of compiling where we are and putting the decks together and then reading them to each other. Use the automation to its fullest. Now is the moment to do that. Now...

...is the catalyst to do that. People need the lift. They get time back, they get more control and maybe the triplet is trust, transparency and control. Transparency Right in the center there, enabling both the trust and the control right and that's digital. That's not more meetings, that's not even more one on ones. That's digital. We can share facts from our homes and you in the program role have an opportunity to provide and unlock, if you will, that capacity, those digital systems that help people in wherever they are in the sort of a leadership to the midd line manager, to a frontline individual contributor, beyond the workboard as we know it today. We think there are a whole world of new possibilities that kind of open up here.

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