Bryan Ware is the Assistant Director for cyber security at CISA, and was the CEO at both Digital Sandbox and Haystax. In this new world of remote teams, Bryan emphasizes the importance of transparency, intention, and over-communicating. Bryan insists that the most important thing you can have in a highly effective team is news traveling fast, especially bad news. Bryan encourages relooking at how, where and when to have specific meetings. Bryan has implemented senior leadership team on-sites where decision makers get together with safety precautions honored to reengage the strategy, engage in conflict, and to hold each other accountable.
Bryan notes that charisma is not going to take you as far as it would have Pre-COVID. Employees are using the same camera to speak to their family, friends and loved ones as they are in connecting to their managers and leaders. They're looking for humility, empathy, trustworthiness and thoughtfulness. Leaders will need to spend the time to be intentional, effective, and really caring.
- Be personable, be human, have genuine relationships with as much as your team as you possibly can, be honest, speak the truth
- Have bad news travel as fast, if not faster than good news.
- People need to hear things a few times, and through different routes of communication
- Deeply believe in the work that you do, focus on the impact and attract the kinds of people that deeply believe in that impact too.
How can I keep my team connected to the mission when we’re distributed? What practices should I focus on?
- Focus on the things that are most important. Force yourself to simplify.
- Focus is a way to win, focus is a way to make sure that you're not doing those things that, you know, were not as essential. By simplifying your focus, you can get a lot better alignment of your leaders to the mission, which trickles down to the individual teams, and the individuals.
- Come together once a month with CDC regulations in place with your team to calibrate on strategy, hold yourselves accountable for the execution of the strategy remotely.
- On-site meetings leave everyone in a better place to raise conflict or contentious issues. Easier to read body language.
- Identify and classify what kinds of simple conversations can be held remotely, over email or ZOOM, and those more complex conversations that should be done face-to-face.
- Identify the length of the meetings to determine which should be held over videoconference (>30 minutes) and which should still be held face-to-face (<30 minutes)
- Identify the # of people that will be involved in the meeting to determine if the meeting should be held online or in person.
- Set clear expectations for meetings. What three things do you want to accomplish in this meeting?
- What can you do normally in a face-to-face meeting that is harder to do in a virtual meeting?
- How is what going on this is meeting so compelling and interesting that nothing else will take their focus from it?
- On virtual meetings, you’re showing up as a leader on the same screen that your team member’s friends and family show up, so you must come across as real, or they will sense it. Be empathetic, personable, truthful, and candid.
- Allow minutes to open before a meeting for a random conversation to replace your Town Hall meetings if those have not been successful.
- Create the same visual picture of the future of the org and make sure no matter where any one of your teammates is around the world, he or she can accurately describe and depict that vision.
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