When I first started leading the team at Formstack, there was no question as to where we’d all be working: In the office. Every weekday. All day.
Then one week we decided to crack the door of our completely office-based environment and peer into the hallways of remote work. If someone had told me then that all our execs would be remote by 2015, I would’ve been shocked.
Yet three years later our executive team of five now spans as many states. We collaborate daily from remote offices in Charlotte, Dallas, Indianapolis, Oklahoma City and San Francisco.
It wouldn’t have been possible without virtual daily standups. Not the kind that require web cams and conference lines, but rather brief check-ins to collaborate on goals and share struggles—without interrupting workflows or adding another meeting to the calendar. And not just individually with our own departments but together as a team of leaders as well.
Every morning, before the email and social media pings start rolling in, I check in with my fellow directors for a smart, simple standup. Each one is quick, comprehensive, informative…and totally worth the few minutes it takes to complete.
Why bother with daily standups for leadership teams?
The simple reality is that everyone (and I mean everyone) gets stuck. Every employee needs to process ideas and challenges out loud at some point—CEOs and directors included.
Consider this common cycle:
Your team launches an exciting new project, moving with momentum to quickly accomplish tasks and achieve progress.
And then you hit it: The big roadblock. That one, tiny piece of code holding up traffic and threatening to shut down the whole darn product. Or a legal issue confounding your plans. Or perhaps an individual who won’t complete the last small-but-critical task required for success.
A ten-minute leadership standup can get you back on track.
When you have a venue where you can bring those challenges to light on a daily basis, it’s much easier to identify solutions. Daily leadership standups provide the peer coaching you need to break through barriers when you’re stuck.
If you’ve ever waited days for a report from your staff only to find another team had created a similar document months ago, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Have you ever strived for a new goal that’d already been reached? Or created a resource for one team without realizing it was more desperately needed by another?
Far too often we find ourselves duplicating efforts and frustrations because we don’t keep the right lines of communication open. Daily standups take care of that.
Still on the fence? Think about this:
What is the most important objective for your organization in the coming quarter? Hitting a revenue target? Opening a new line of business? Improving profit margins?
Now imagine what could happen if every member of your leadership team starts the day by answering one key question:
“What are you doing to achieve [BIG, IMPORTANT GOAL]?”
The beauty of this question is that it removes distractions so you can refocus on the big picture. And when you share it in a virtual environment like Jell, it’s easy to see how other leaders are contributing to the ultimate “win.”
What about you? How is your leadership team using virtual daily standups? We’d love to hear your tips on Twitter.