Communication, self-discipline and collaborating with others are three important facets of employee responsibility that require all of us to be intentional.
Because more people are working from home these days, methods of communicating are changing. Before work-from-home, when everyone was together in the office, there were more opportunities for an impromptu chat with someone for a few minutes that could impact your work in a meaningful way. Those chance encounters have been lost in a WFH scenario where many people are no longer in close proximity.
Working remotely can cause tunnel vision when you are not bouncing ideas off your coworkers. Because of this, when little interruptions and distractions happen, it is useful to embrace them, because they need to take the place of those brief updates you used to get while waiting for the coffee to brew in the break room. In every interaction with others in your company, you are representing the unique value you bring to that company as a whole. Whatever your skills are, your point of view contributes to those of everyone else to make the company what it is. It is all an important part of valuable communication. That focus on communicating with others needs to be intentional.
Self-discipline is more difficult than communicating because of different personality types. Some people are very focused and goal-oriented. They have a plan, and they know what skills, relationships and tasks they have to put in place to get there.
Others may need to focus more on what they want to accomplish in life. Although they may come across as unenergetic, sometimes they just lack direction. If you know what you are working toward, then each task makes more sense. Accountability is part of self-discipline. In an office environment, it is obvious who is not pulling their weight in the company. But in a WFH environment, that gets harder. We have to be intentional about keeping ourselves accountable, because there is no one looking over our shoulder to make sure we are putting in the effort every day. A few good examples go a long way to setting the standard.
Collaboration is another place we need to be intentional. Working with people and sharing ideas make us vulnerable. Companies are complex ecosystems of processes, technology and people. No one likes to be criticized or to fail, but that is almost unavoidable when you are collaborating on big projects. Not everyone’s ideas will be used. We need to have a mindset that ours may not be the best idea, but it is something to build on, or it contributes something to the conversation. It is important to involve everyone around the meeting table.
If things do not go according to plan, there is always something to be learned for the next time. You won’t know how much that failure helped until the next project. People want to be part of a solution. If they participate in a multi-disciplinary team and share an understanding of the goals, they are more likely to contribute to the plan.
On episode 109 of Bridging the Gap podcast, Jennifer Byrne shares her thoughts about the need to be intentional and getting buy-in on innovations.