If the idea of talking about next year already makes you want to scream, you’re not alone. You are in the middle of budgets, goal setting, performance reviews…. Which is exactly why it’s the perfect time to map out next year.
As the leader of a remote or dispersed team, it’s often hard to squeeze out time for things like coaching calls, training, and other functions that you know are important but often get pre-empted by the thousand fires you wind up fighting.
Here are some things to think about as this crazy month is nearly half-way through!
- Create milestones in your goal planning and schedule them now. When you create your team and personal goals with your employees, you need to put in end dates. That’s great, but also include dates and times for check-ins and process assessments. Even if you wind up having to rearrange your calendars later as reality intrudes, you will still be more likely to have those critical conversations if they are planned for, instead of hoping to grab time between cracks in your schedules.
- Make sure your performance standards include working remotely. Not every organization has managed to include remote work into its performance review process. For example, while “communicates well” is important, it doesn’t include whether or not you’re using your Slack effectively, or killing everyone with your email use. If there are specific behaviors or standards about using technology, or how to communicate with team members, don’t leave them out of the conversation.
- Don’t just look at the manager and employee, but how the team works together. One of the critical things that gets left out of many discussions is making sure that the team is working together in the most effective manner. While most performance discussions focus on manager-worker relationships, don’t forget to discuss how best to work with teammates so that both individual and team goals get achieved.
- Budget for training and getting together. Don’t just assume that there’s no return on getting people together at least once in a while. Building team relationships shouldn’t be a cost, but an investment in future success. Especially if some people are in the office most of the time, and others are fully remote, it’s critical the teams get together to build relationships and cross-pollinate ideas. Also, taking time to lay out training at the same time as performance development and yearly goals allows you to schedule and allocate funds throughout the year where it will be most appreciated and impactful.
- Finally, take advantage of dead time. At least in the US, the week of Thanksgiving is often a confusing mixture of panic and sitting around waiting for people to be at their desks. Take advantage of the time to reflect, plan and daydream about how to make next year your best year yet.
Take a few minutes to make your planning and year-end assessments truly meaningful. You’ll find this time next year you may be in a much better mood. If you need help with your plans to develop skills your folks will need next year and beyond, contact us for a quick team assessment and for more resources to help you be successful.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Co-Founder and Product Line Manager
Wayne Turmel is the co-founder and Product Line Manager for the Remote Leadership Institute. For twenty years he’s been obsessed with helping managers communicate more effectively with their teams, bosses and customers. Wayne is the author of several books that demystify communicating through technology including Meet Like You Mean It – a Leader’s Guide to Painless & Productive Virtual Meetings, 10 Steps to Successful Virtual Presentations and 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar. His work appears frequently in Management-Issues.com.
He’s also the co-author, along with Kevin Eikenberry, of The Long-Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership.