Three Questions To Help Remote Teams Work Better Together

  • Mar 2, 2021

Top-Shelf Tip No. 41: “Great things in business are never done by one person. They are done by a team of people.” Steve Jobs
 
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Three Questions To Help Remote Teams Work Better Together
The shift to remote work has complicated collaboration among remote employees. Most employees feel comfortable working with their bosses and keeping them updated on projects, but many still struggle to collaborate with their fellow team members. When everyone is working alone, it’s often difficult to learn how to work alone together.  David Burkus, a business thinker and author of four best-selling books, says that remote teams can learn how to work better together by “working out loud.” This means that teams can develop a system to keep track of what everyone is working on, what is getting done and how to request or volunteer help.  In this email Today, we discuss Burkus’ thoughts on how to get started on working out loud by asking three questions. 
 
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1.    What did I just work on? This is a great question to start with because it allows everyone on your sales team to get up to speed on various projects. The idea is to break down a long-term project into short-term deliverables and track progress accordingly, says Burkus. It helps to know what your team is accomplishing, but the answer to this question also enables you to celebrate your team’s victories. By stopping to recognize your sales reps’ hard work, you can help keep everyone motivated and give your team a chance to reflect on what they learned.   
2.    What am I working on? Burkus notes that while this question is also to get progress updates, it’s also about synchronizing tasks and forecasting future progress. By asking this question, you can get a feel for what your sales reps are focusing on now, next week or next month and ensure no one is duplicating efforts. When your whole team can hear what others are working on, it also eliminates confusion on who is covering what.  
3.    What is blocking my progress? When your sales reps don’t see each other in person, they might not know how they can help each other. That’s why it’s so important to ask this question during your team meetings. Burkus says that in a remote work environment, employees typically only share their challenges with their manager. When you open the floor and invite your sales reps to share their setbacks or struggles with the group, you make space for others to volunteer help.  
 
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Your sales team may be working from home, but you don’t have to miss out on the kind of collaboration that used to happen in the office. You can help your remote team work better together by regularly asking the three questions above. When everyone knows what’s coming up, what’s coming next and how to request or provide help to their colleagues, they can work better together, regardless of where they complete their work.       
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