WLP27 Tracking Results

In today's Virtual Coffee with Lisette, we talk about the importance of tracking results, how results can impact motivation and how to lay down the foundations to monitor progress in your virtual team.

00:30 Pilar's introduction. She recommends Pocket, UCExpo15. (See script below.)
07:01 A story about the different reasons why people might be underperforming. 10:45 Lisette shares how her focusing time working on her book is going and the power of reaching out. The "being-busy syndrome" and when it's way too much.
16:00 Pilar mentions the UC Expo 2015 and the London Management 3.0 Meetup Group.
17:00 The importance of tracking progress and results. Why do we collect metrics, why do we need to track?
20:50 Defining how success looks like. The importance of multiple perspectives. Pilar mentions Yael Zofi's A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams
23:20 Organisation's objectives and personal objectives.
26:36 Who's role is it to stay on top of these tracking systems? Motivation.
31:22 Visualising data.
37:20 Progress, problems and plans.
40:55 Start with the basics and make sure your metrics evolve.
The team should be involved in looking at metrics and deciding how we're tracking.
46:51 "Don't shoot the messenger!" Or the perils of reporting bad results.


Today’s episode includes virtual coffee with Lisette Sutherland and today we talk about tracking results. I am currently in the middle of writing a blog post, which more than blog post, I think it’s turning out to be a chapter. I think it’s way over 1500 words at the moment – so I’m also going to format it into a PDF so that you can download it and read it later. And talking of reading later, if you like reading articles on line, and especially if you are on Twitter, I recommend the Pocket app. It works with the mobile version of Hootsuite very well and with other applications and the way it works is, say that you click on a link that someone has shared on Twitter. It takes you to the website where the article is hosted. Then, in Hootsuite, which is the app I use for Twitter, you have some options at the bottom of the page to email, share etc and one of the options is Send to Pocket or in other apps it might be called Read Later. You press on that and it sends it to your Pocket account.

When you have time to read it, you go to your pocket account, on your mobile device or on the web, and your article is there waiting for you. What I really like, is that the articles are downloaded onto the apps, so you can read them later without being connected to the internet – I know, when, oh whem does that ever happen? But, for now, the airplane is the first example I can think of. And being abroad and not wanting to have a huge bill on your phone when you get home is another one. So, Pocket is the name of the app, and if you want to check the online version, then you need to go to getpocket.com

So, a bit of a tangent. I was saying that I’m writing a post based on getting results and that I’ll format it into a PDF so that you can read it later. And this episode is about tracking results with your team, it’s about monitoring progress, and you know what, we don’t really talk about tools. We talk about mindsets, we talk about the things you should consider when you’re setting up processes to do this, we talk about whose role it is to make sure results are being monitored, how it affects motivation. And then Lisette has a great little story about communicating results to a team.

So, as always, just an intro from me before I move on to the conversation with Lisette. If by any chance you are attending the United Communications and Collaborations Event (UC Expo) on Tuesday 21st, coming up this April 2015, let me know, it would be great to meet you there. I’m just attending – so do send me a tweet or an email, but not on the day because I don’t have a smartphone, so no access to Twitter during the day. I don’t have anything against smartphones, in fact, I think that they do live up to their name and they’re really a very smart gadget, but I like to be able to leave the online world behind when I’m out and about.

And just going back to this results post that I’m writing, which you will be able to read on this website. I think the reason why it’s turned out to be so long is because of all the elements of virtual communication, this is the one where I was lacking, I don’t know if knowledge or my own take on it, or what – So, just to go back a bit, I’ve created a little model to approach team communication which hangs on the word VIRTUAL. V is for Visibility and I is for Identity, team identity, and I have posts on those two already. R is for results. Then moving forwards, T is for Trust, U for Upgrowth, a for appreciation and L is for Leadership. And on this last one I do want to add that I mean leadership in the broadest sense of the word and I’ll be focusing on team leader as enabler, facilitator and advocate and on how to make room for team members to take the initiative and lead different parts of the work.

So, writing the posts on visibility and team identity came quite easy but to write the one on results I’ve had to read around a lot more. But in doing so, I’ve come across some great examples, and I will share these in the post.

Of course “results” touches on loads of things, because in looking at how we track them you need to look at communication and in considering what affects them, well, the list is endless, you can look at motivation, productivity etc and we don’t really go into all that in this episode, we do touch on some aspects but we also wanted to keep the episode a suitable podcast length. So something I do want to add here is that sometimes what’s affecting results is not obvious. And I want to share a little anecdote here. Some time ago I was working with a company that delivered productivity workshops and they shared a story with me. They were working with a team and one of the team members just felt incredibly overwhelmed by the work. In digging deeper, Steve, who was delivering the workshop, found out that the reason why she was feeling so overwhelmed was that, actually, what she really wanted to do, was write a novel. But work was taking up her time and then when she was getting home she was too tired. And this was creating a stress that hadn’t been looked at.

So Steve worked with her to come up with a more efficient way of organizing her work so that she could leave to go home on time every day and make time for her writing. And needless to say, her happiness levels increased and she went from being someone about to leave her job to being someone happy to stay at her job. And where I’m going with this is that sometimes we’re not doing our best work because there is something nagging at us. Because there’s something else we really want to do and we haven’t figured out how to do it. It could also be work related, it could be a piece of work that really needs to be done to move things forward but you can’t really find the time because you’re putting out fires all the time. Or it could be to do with your personal life. All this is difficult enough to deal with in a collocated space, so imagine if you’re working virtually when you don’t have the opportunity to have those informal chats where you usually discover what’s really going on.

So where I’m going with this, again, is that if you notice that someone is under-performing, don’t just assume it’s a lack of skill or motivation, maybe something else is going on. And the best way to make sure you can notice that someone is falling behind is by constantly tracking the work – not controlling, notice that I’m not saying that; not by being on top of someone all the time, but by having systems, processes, whatever where people, as part of their work, regularly report on their progress. So I hope that our virtual coffee today will help you with that.