“Hello, How Are You?”

In times when the whole world is wondering how best to get through the current crisis, small things make the difference. For example, taking an honest interest in your employees.

“Hello, How Are You?”
You would be surprised how many employees know the difference between an artificial and a real smile. Even if you move the corners of your mouth remotely.

In stressful times, basic values often fall by the wayside first: friendliness, empathy, helpfulness. The current crisis, which has turned many habits in private and professional life upside down, is no exception. Colleagues are scattered all over the planet, each with their own deadlines and urgencies – sometimes of a professional nature, but often private.

It is difficult to keep track of things and maintain the necessary interpersonal contact. Here are some important tips to keep your business together:

Awareness

For managers, the primary challenge and the key to managing remote teams has become awareness: staying on top of performance, collaboration, morale and more – from a distance.

  • Focus on performance.
  • Give real-time feedback.
  • Schedule one-on-ones regularly.
  • Take the pulse of remote teams frequently.
  • Pay attention to soft skills.

The last point is currently the most important: Many managers neglect soft skills – such as teamwork, self-motivation, emotional intelligence and ethics – in favor of hard results and more task-specific or technical skills. But soft skills serve as pillars for remote work.

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Soft skills also make your job easier by increasing employees’ ability to work well independently and reducing the need for supervision. Include soft skills in your performance management process, and remember them when you conduct reviews. Here’s the elevator pitch:

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By the way: Even though we have summarized and recommended some new releases here, what the modern classics have to say on the subject is still true. We recommend Robert Bolton’s People Skills from 1986 for starters, and our brand-new getTogether series Understanding People for practical tips:


Understand Where You Belong

Do you also sometimes not know where your head is at? This is quite natural in times of crisis, but it should not be a permanent state of affairs. So, stay calm and please take the time to become clear about your own role. What are you responsible for, how are you qualified for your roles (and, where is there a need to catch up) what can others possibly do better?

The following abstracts might help you find your focus:

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Start Experimenting

It may sound strange to make a recommendation to start additional experiments in uncertain times. But honestly? Now is the right time to find out if there is potential for improvement in workflows and products that will give you a decisive competitive advantage.

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Harvard business professor Max H. Bazerman and associate professor Michael Luca told the MIT Sloan Management Review how to use randomized controlled experiments to create value for companies and customers:

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This is especially true, by the way, if you have only just realized during this crisis that there is still a lot of catching up to do digitally in your company!

Yes, even these devices once promised to “revolutionize” the operational handling of data.

Sure, you can’t expect one book alone to guide your business through a digital transformation, but this hype-free, layperson’s guide to digital transformation contains enough useful strategies and tactics to get you started, and to help you avoid common and costly errors (remember, for instance, the “Mini Disc”?):

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Of course, we also have a monthly video series on this topic: Digital Transformation in Practice. Here we talk to entrepreneurs and thought leaders who have already initiated concrete transformation projects and measured their success:


Learn Faster and Better!

You and your employees need additional digital skills. But trainings won’t get you where you need to go – especially with COVID-19 accelerating the process of digital transformation. The situation requires a more flexible approach to workplace learning, and the experts at Boston Consulting Group explain how to implement the necessary measures:

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Here you will find very concrete advice on how to take action:

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Where one has said hello in a friendly way, one should also say goodbye with a good tone. We wish you a nice day, a great weekend and look forward to seeing you again soon. Take care!

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