It’s a tricky time right now. We’re all learning how to navigate such dramatic change in business as a result of COVID-19, so we wanted to take the opportunity to give back to you with our latest resource — a transition plan.
A change in our environment means changing the way in which we work. There are three key areas that managers and leaders can support their teams with at the very beginning when there's high anxiety. The best thing you can do is listen and give people a safe space. Then as they move through the transition, you can focus on giving them the support and information they need as they’re coming up out of that curve.
People are somewhat getting used to the idea that things are very, very different. But you still need a plan, because that’s what your team expects. They want to know what the future looks like, and want to be engaged in the process.
So that’s what we’ve done to help you. We’ve developed a transition plan template that we’ll take you through step by step…
There are key process questions you need to ask your team to determine the best way to move forward post-COVID as a high-performing team. You’ll be left with on-target strategies that make up your transition plan template.
Our plan will help you cover the key areas including team protocols, safety — because where and when your team performs their tasks is very important now — and tools and technology.
You might find that you nominate three to five main areas that you want to build the plan around. This really depends on where you are as a high-performing team and how comprehensive you want this plan to be.
So the first question we want you, as a people leader, to ask yourself and your team is: What’s the purpose of this team? By that we mean, what’s the goal of the team in terms of what they have to produce or develop. You also need to think in terms of individual goals for each person within the team.
Next, you need to think about safety, since there is now a new dimension of safety. And then the quality of your relationships. This applies not only to those within your immediate team, but to other teams and departments in the business. We're finding that in many organisations, teams are becoming less insular and a lot more collaborative.
One thing that’s clear from our clients is that focussing on the simple things is best when navigating such dramatic change. A number of people have reported a much smoother transition thanks to time spent on making their team feel safe and heard in the early phases.
They also placed importance on developing the relationship side of things and making sure to check in regularly. So, talking about the kind of processes they’re going to put in place to get through such a turbulent time. It sets a level of certainty around how you’re going to operate and communicate. Knowing there’s a rhythm to the way you’re going to interact and perform, and a process in place, helps instill a sense of calmness for you and your team.
As a people leader during this time, it’s important you spend time focussing on the wellbeing of your team. But it’s key that you take care of your own wellbeing too. It’s not sustainable to keep on working, meeting after meeting, without giving yourself a mental break throughout the day. If you don’t, you won’t be able to perform at the level that you need to for yourself, your family and your team.
When it comes to filling in your transition plan template, start by noting down your set of key principles. These are just the foundational pieces, really. For example, what will our attitude or mindset be as we transition post-COVID?
These key processes will change and be refined over time as you transition, so we recommend no more than seven principles. The principals are really an opportunity to set up a criteria about the way in which you want to be as a team — you’re inviting your team to be better than you were before.
One of the main principles we’ve seen come up time and time again is safety. So, your team can agree on a number of principles around safety so that you’re always taking care of one another. And that’s not just related to physical safety, but emotionally and mentally, too. So maybe you can agree to offer support and invest in each other’s wellbeing with regular chats, or consciously offering opportunities for fun.
In your first column, you’ll write down your principles. In the second column, you’ll write down your goal or objective. These are the strategies or targets that will help you transition and ensure you come out the other side in a much better place as a team in terms of what you do, how you do it and when you do it.
They don’t have to be big goals, it could be something as simple as having every team member know how to run a successful meeting using a collaborative whiteboard within a month’s time. But you should prioritse them, so you know what the next most logical step is to achieve that goal.
Next, you’ll fill in your accountability column. So, who is accountable for this particular goal or target or objective? Accountability is really where the buck stops. You might have several people who are accountable for a particular goal or objective, or you could make the whole team accountable.
Then you’ll look at critical success factors — what is the most important thing in order for you to achieve this target or goal? What are the potential barriers? Could there be an issue with technology, or with budget, or with stakeholders? It’s important to have the conversation about what could go wrong so that you can pave the way for opportunities and mitigate those potential barriers.
In the next column, you’ll write down steps needed to put in place in order to achieve the goal. We’d recommend you come up with three to five steps. When you talk through these as a team, you get clarity around expectations as well as the minimum standards required for the team to move forward.
The last column is for measures of success. How do you know you’re going to be successful once you hit your target? Is it a number? Is it simply a yes or no? You just need to agree on the measures. What will be the criteria that will determine whether or not you’ve achieved your objective?
You can print out as many pages of the plan as you need, depending on how many objectives you have. Our designers have done a great job of making it look good, so we recommend you ask your team to have it up on their wall. That way, everybody will engage with it and their minds will be focused on achieving the goals and objectives.
When it comes to thinking about your future and what it will look like, there’s no better way to visualise this than by planning for it.
We hope our transition plan will help you create the criteria you need to help focus your team and move forward and embrace the changes that have come with COVID-19.
We also have a whole COVID planning session, a workbook and a series of presentations to help you during this turbulent time. For more information on how to ‘Lock in the Learnings’, visit our website.
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