Increase Your Productivity – Gain Traction Amid Endless Distractions

Increase Your Productivity – Gain Traction Amid Endless Distractions

POWERFUL TECHNIQUE:

Raise Your Productivity & Decrease Your Stress – Gain Traction Amid Endless Distractions

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | May 12, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Many of us are working from home for the first time and it’s amazing the distractions that occur throughout the day. Everything from those chores that nag at us through to kids needing help with their online studies. It can often feel like you’re trying to get a lot of things done and none of them seem to get completed as efficiently as you’d like. As we’ve personally watched our kids tackle online school, it’s been fascinating to witness the same thing happening with them.

Our kids are teenagers and they’re rarely detached from their smartphones. In fact, more often than not, they combine this attention distraction device with their laptop or a TV screen. They would argue that they’re absorbing the content while Snapping and chatting with friends simultaneously, but our observation over time is that they’re definitely paying a price for dividing their attention.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Raise Your Productivity - Get Traction Away From Distraction | Multitasking

Even though “multimedia-ing” is the new norm, over time splitting your attention between multiple sources of stimulation, combined with the rapid change of pace that these formats provide, deteriorates your ability to carry out more sustained tasks. 

Researchers have proven that comprehension decreases and switching between tasks comes with additional costs, including loss of speed (up to 40%), decreased efficiency (as much as 4x less efficient at completing tasks), and learning does not take place while you’re multitasking. Researchers have also proven conclusively that a higher incidence of errors occurs when we’re dividing our attention between two or more tasks.

As much as we might rail against the notion that we can’t do multiple tasks simultaneously, neuroscientists have made it abundantly clear that the brain cannot process multiple comprehension tasks simultaneously. Rather, the brain switches (just like an on and off button) between tasks. Even when we’re doing very ‘different’ tasks like driving and talking on the phone, performance is impaired significantly. 

Beyond compromised performance, there are many other prices to pay for trying to do multiple tasks at once.

THE DOWNSIDES OF MULTITASKING

1. Negative impact on your short-term memory

Your brain’s “Scratchpad” is used to manage and focus on key information and when you’re multitasking and switching between tasks this short term information storage area becomes garbled and impacts your working memory.

2.  Increased stress and anxiety

Neuroscientists say that multitasking causes you to lose focus and become more anxious. This in turn drains your physical and mental resources.

3. Inhibited creative thinking

When you lose focus and become stressed, you lose your ability to think creatively. You’re taking away the opportunity for your brain to digest or come up with new ideas.

4. Stops you from getting into the flow

Flow is a state where you’re absorbed by the task you’re focusing on. Time becomes irrelevant, stress levels decrease, and productivity increases exponentially.

5. More mistakes and less productivity

Even simple tasks take longer when you’re constantly switching from one activity to another. Mistakes occur and you get less of the things you need to do done.

The key is to accept the fundamental fact that the mind can only do one thing at a time.

And ditch the device when you’re trying to complete a task or be in the moment.

Certainly, this is easier said than done. Brain research indicates that our addiction to texts, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Twitter, Google and email has a physiological cause–the body’s emission of the chemical dopamine (known as the “pleasure seeking molecule”). Our brain gets pleasure when we seek and find new information, so it chemically encourages this behavior (enter dopamine).

If you want to get tasks done at a higher quality level and in less time, it pays dividends to focus on one activity at a time. This is called Single Tasking and there are some real benefits to this concept.

THE UPSIDES TO SINGLE TASKING

1. Single tasking decreases stress levels

When you expend more energy trying to multitask, you end up exhausted and behind on work. When you focus on one thing at a time, you’re more likely to actually finish what you wanted to, and in turn lower stress levels.

2. Single-tasking helps you focus on what you have to do and not all the tempting distractions

Choosing something to focus your attention on for a set period of time means saying no to other distractions. This helps you focus on the important stuff you need to get done and will rebuild your ability to focus.

3. Creativity increases when you single-task

Single-tasking actually frees up brain resources to think more creatively. This helps with idea generation and coming up with solutions to problems.

So how do we change the habit of multi-tasking to a more productive and creative single-tasking process? Here are some tips:

TIPS FOR CHANGING THE HABIT OF MULTITASKING TO MORE PRODUCTIVE AND CREATIVE SINGLE TASKING

1. To break this constant stimulation from your devices, experts say turn off the audio and visual notifications built into your devices that alert you to the presence of more information. But mostly, just draw a line in the sand and commit to one thing at a time.

2.  Another solution is to set a timer for 25 minutes and aim to work continuously for that time. Knowing that you only have to focus for that block of time will help to focus your mind. After 25 minutes, set a timer for a five or ten-minute break. Rinse and repeat. Just like building muscles you can build up the blocks of time and stay focused longer.

NOTE: When you take a break, grab a drink or a snack, get some fresh air and stretch, check your SnapChat or whatever it is you follow or like, but don’t get bogged down in another task – this is meant to be a break where your mind can wander. When your break timer goes off then come back to the task you were working on before. These breaks are important, because mental performance drops if you don’t take breaks. Decision making slows, attention levels drop, and creativity decreases.

We actually did this exercise with our 15-year-old son and his ability to complete assignments and finish work that he’d been struggling to complete went through the roof. In fact, he started completing a day’s work in just two or three single-tasking blocks of 25 minutes each.

3. One other solution is changing brain states through mindfulness meditation. This can reduce dependence on various forms of multitasking and help improve focus. 

Research has shown how mindfulness meditation improves brain function within 1 ½ to 2 months of practice

A simple breath meditation can be done anytime and anywhere. This is especially helpful if you’re stressed or frustrated. Here’s the basics: 

  1.     Take one DEEP breath in. 
  2.     One SLOW breath out. 

Start with 10 breaths to start with. The longer breath out induces the parasympathetic nervous system. This means you’re changing from a stressed state to a more relaxed and composed state. Use this whenever you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Raise Your Productivity - Get Traction Away From Distraction | Productivity

Getting focused and productive is much like fitness. You can build your performance and endurance over time. It is critical to reward yourself as you progress and not feel like the ultimate achievement is 100% productivity. Getting to a point where you can complete projects and tasks with a minimum of distractions is a powerful achievement. Remember that the rest-breaks and distractions we mindfully engage in will actually improve your productivity over time. 

The real benefit is that being present and engaged in one activity at a time will enhance your memory, decrease your stress levels, enhance your creativity and improve your efficiency and productivity.

It’s amazing what you can achieve when you can consciously focus your attention. The rewards are enormous.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Raise Your Productivity - Get Traction Away From Distraction

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26 Non-Negotiables, Opportunities & Tips for Surviving and Thriving During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

26 Non-Negotiables, Opportunities & Tips for Surviving and Thriving During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

26 Non-Negotiables, Opportunities & Tips for Surviving and Thriving During and After the COVID-19 Pandemic

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 28, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business and the economy is unprecedented. 

Businesses negatively affected by COVID-19 are faltering. Even the most robust companies will need to fight their way back to their pre-pandemic best, and marginal ones will likely not re-emerge from the crisis.

Companies positively affected by COVID-19 also need to chart new courses. That might mean establishing new supply chains, recruiting additional talent, or retooling their business to cope with massive spikes in sales and activity.

As businesses recalibrate, strategize, and pivot, one thing remains clear: these are unchartered waters for everyone.

There are some non-negotiables and common denominators across industries and sectors, but for the most part this is a unique set of circumstances that demand novel solutions and strategies. 

I have detailed some non-negotiables, opportunities, and tips below:

N

NON-NEGOTIABLES

1. Take all necessary measures to protect your team members and customers.

This is ‘Job 1’. This includes developing and maintaining smart, thoughtful communications with your team, customers, community, and stakeholders. Keeping these essential partners in your business well informed and demonstrating empathy for their particular circumstances is paramount. We are all embroiled in this mess and retaining key team members and as many of your customers as possible is critical to coming out of this crisis relatively intact. These communications should always be empathetic and include proactive steps you’re taking to protect them specifically. Check out the Virtual Standup concept to really stay in touch with your team on a regular basis.

2. Abide by all local, regional and federal guidelines as applicable.

This seems passé, but these guidelines are a moving target, and staying abreast of updates is critical.

3. Know what support and aid packages are available to you and your business and take full advantage of any applicable assistance.

This will continue to evolve as stimulus efforts continue to unfold, but make sure your best person is on this. It could be the difference between getting through this mess or being more debris in its wake.

4. Be flexible.

You will need to show empathy and flexibility for your team, vendors, partners, and collaborators. Equally, you will need flexibility in return from lenders, landlords, vendors, and your team. Don’t be afraid to ask for leniency or moratoriums on rent, repayments, or other normally non-negotiable expenses.

5. Adjust your strategic plan.

What you had documented in January is almost definitely completely obsolete. I typically recommend a strategic plan doesn’t stretch (in detail) past 90 days. That might be reduced to 30 days, or less, at present. Here are 13 More Tips and thoughts on survival strategies in these uncertain times. 

6. Cut any non-essential spending if you haven’t already.

A logical end to this crisis is yet to be determined and therefore we should plan for the worst and hope for the best. For many companies, the definition of non-essential will vary, but if the intended spend won’t fortify your position with your team, your customers, or the market, really question whether it’s necessary.

7. Help your sales team recalibrate how they do business.

This is a key area I’ve been working on with my clients. Giving sales teams the tools and support to modify how they maintain and even build their business is critical. This can range from simple tips on the backdrop and dress code for virtual calls all the way through to specific training on virtual platforms and tools. Investing in online and remote tools, training, and systems for your team as a whole is critical. These might include tools like GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype, Slack, Asana, Trello, Basecamp, Google Suite, etc.

8. Amplify your focus and communication on hygiene and cleanliness. 

A simple example would be our family’s  AirBNB. We’re informing potential guests of our cleaning regimes, e.g. we space three days between guests, sterilize all bedding and towels, clean all surfaces and contact points with Clorox, etc. These types of assurances can address concerns and position you for opportunities that still exist in your market.

9. Ensure you have amended your standard operating procedures for the current circumstances. 

This may mean implementing new checks and balances, e.g. systems of time tracking or activity management. If your company and team members don’t normally function in a remote environment, you’ll need guidelines and tools to assist all parties to stay on track.

10. Restructure your workforce.

Much of this may have already happened and can range from retrenchments to recruiting. On the retrenchment side, I encourage you to keep in close contact with those key team members you’ve had to release. Keep them updated to the best of your ability so they are most likely to return when things normalize and you need them. If you’re recruiting, don’t hire out of desperation. Easy to say and hard to do. Maybe your hiring cycle needs to shorten, but the usual checks and balances should remain. A poor hire can hurt you just as much now as ever.

OPPORTUNITIES

1. Help your team members stay healthy and active by encouraging them to exercise at home and take care of themselves. 

Hosting some team ‘get-togethers’ so they stay connected can be fun and rewarding, too. A nice touch one of my clients did was to send every team member a bottle of wine and he invited everyone to join (with their families) in an online Company Happy Hour to raise a glass. Check out some ideas of things for you and your team members to do during the lockdown in this blog post.

2. Reinforce your relationship with your customers through thoughtful communications, offers, free services, and other bonuses.

A client of mine whose business premises are closed at present has been doing a ‘Daily Update’ for their members with recipes, how to stay sane during the lockdown tips, and health tips and ideas. This is keeping them connected to their customers and adds value to the relationship.

3. Find a digital version of what you do.

While e-commerce was pervasive before the crisis, it has become a non-negotiable since. For example, many health clubs are providing online classes now, some social clubs are having regular online Happy Hours, and a nitro coffee company I work with has started up nitro coffee bean subscriptions. Get creative with your online opportunity!

4. Get to marketing your business while the competition hunkers down or regroups.

There may be opportunities to scoop up customers who have become disconnected from their usual sources of supply. However, ensure any campaign you do conduct is not seen as opportunistic. It needs to be appropriately empathetic and acknowledge the current situation we all face. Being tone-deaf to people’s predicaments can create the opposite effect to what you’re seeking. If you need help with your messaging, consult a marketing agency.

5. Consider pivoting into a sector that may not be in your usual line of business. 

One of my printing clients used their promotions business to procure masks and protective wear and shore up the slowdown in their printing business. Another one of my clients is a social club and in order to keep their kitchen team on the payroll, they provided their members with a food credit and started providing curbside pickup for take-out.

6. Let your customers and community know the things you are doing to help in these troubling times. 

Many companies are providing free services, making donations, and offering credits or such, to maintain and grow goodwill.

7. This is an incredible time to reconnect with former customers and maybe win them back. 

Even if you can’t get their business now, it may be possible when this crisis subsides.

8. Get that project done that you’ve been thinking about.

One of my clients took advantage of the downturn to move their warehouse. Another is taking this opportunity to repaint their entire facility. Both of these things would have been really difficult under normal circumstances. 

9. Engage with your customers (and former customers) to get feedback and gain perspective.

Many of your customers have more availability than ever and you can do some great market research and develop relationships in the downtime. 

TIPS

1. Maintain positive momentum.

It is easy to let inertia wane and succumb to all the negative press around the economic outlook for businesses. Stay positive and keep actively pursuing opportunities as they emerge. My consulting business slowed enormously at the onset of the pandemic, so I focused on writing and producing content to keep momentum up. I completed my book, “The Affinity Principle,” and it went off to the printers during the lull. This would not have been possible if I had a full book of business.

2. Focus your energy on the most rewarding activities.

It’s easy to get distracted in times like these, but the rewards will come when we channel our energy to those things that bring the greatest returns. Opportunities will arise and decisiveness is critical as things are moving fast. Retention of customers and of your team is likely the best use of available resources at present, but other opportunities will likely present themselves.

3. Don’t be afraid to try some things that you might not normally consider.

The current climate may be a great petri dish for ‘trial balloons’ on products or projects. Some companies are crowdsourcing for funding, others are giving their products away, or offering discounts they would not normally consider. It is important not to do these things out of desperation, but out of the desire to traverse this rocky landscape.

4. It is also a great time to explore those businesses that are booming and see if you can appropriately leverage their growing sales into momentum for you and your company. 

Here’s a list of business sectors that are thriving at present.

5. Don’t be afraid to project out beyond the pandemic.

Start laying the foundations for post-pandemic success. This can help your team look past the present predicament and set the table for your resurgence.

6. Think about doing some team building events online.

There are some fun online games and Virtual Escape Rooms that could offer some respite to your team in these troubling times. Build your own quiz around your business and team on Kahoot and play it with your team.

7. Share memories with your team and customers.

This is a great time to reflect, and your team and customers will love it. Post pictures, tell stories, have some fun with things that happened before the lockdown, and stay in people’s positive consciousness.

It’s easy for F.E.A.R. to sneak into your thoughts and influence your actions and responses to this crisis. 

Truth is, some companies will not come out of this crisis intact. 

If you can focus your will and direct your efforts toward the inevitable opportunities that come out of a crisis like this, you stand a very good chance of rising above your competition. 

Most importantly, remember ‘Job 1’ and many of the other elements will fall into place as the new order of business unfolds.

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Change Management During Uncertain Times

Change Management During Uncertain Times

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 17, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Change Management During Uncertain Times

I first experienced the joy of sailing as a cadet at the Royal Australian Naval College. Harnessing the power of the wind was both challenging and exhilarating. Since those days of sailing Bosun’s Dinghies around Jervis Bay, I’ve sailed everything from windsurfers and kiteboards all the way up to a 48-foot catamaran on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. 

The one indelible constant in sailing is the ever-changing conditions that demand continuous course corrections and adjustments to the sails and rigging. The wind constantly shifts direction or speed, demanding ongoing course corrections. Currents and tides under the boat influence its path and again demand regular adjustments from the skipper.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Author | Speaker | The Affinity Principle | Change Management Appraisal

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Constant Change & Mindful Communication

This volatility very much reminds me of the current state of the world. As information regardig COVID streams in from hundreds of countries across the globe, the ever changing trajectory, path and profile of this crisis demand constant adjustments to our course.

So how do we approach the ebb and flow of information and the constantly shifting parameters we’re faced with today?

As with the sailing analogy, this is an inexact process.

It requires trial and error and the ability to adjust course or expectations constantly. It may even require many companies to pivot in directions that they would have never contemplated. 

Managing change at this rate is incredibly stressful and difficult. More than ever, it demands great communications between your team, customers, the community and stakeholders.

In times of turmoil developing and maintaining regular, relevant and rhythmic communications with your communities will bring many benefits:

1. Routine and rhythm will help establish a sense of trust with your constituencies. 

2. These communication rhythms will bring awareness around issues and will help develop solutions and facilitate change.

3. These rhythmic communications give you opportunities to recognize your team and simultaneously better understand the challenges that they are facing in this new world order. 

NOTE: Communications should not be limited to work and professional issues. It helps for your team and constituencies to discuss the personal and sometimes unique circumstances they’re facing.

4. Given that many of your team members may be working remotely for the first time, these regular communication opportunities may reduce a feeling of isolation and keep those team members more in touch.

5. Sharing of information and knowledge through regular conversations and briefings can also enhance relationships between teams and creating a variety of groups and forums will help solidify your team and company in these turbulent times.

Constant Change & Clarity

Beyond collaborative communications are the strategic elements of navigating these treacherous waters. Much like Jack Sparrow on “Pirates of the Caribbean,” you need a compass that points toward that which you desire to accomplish.

My point is that you really need to have clarity about where you’re headed. And I don’t mean those rocks that appear all around you! I mean what is the ultimate destination you seek when this crisis resolves itself? 

Regaining clarity around your ultimate destination beyond this crisis will inform the course corrections you need to make now. As information comes to hand and options appear and disappear, you will need to maintain clarity around your final destination in order to navigate the many challenges that stand between where you are today and where you want to be at the end of this crisis.

Constant Change & Strategy Adjustments

In order to redefine the goal/s for your company in the face of these turbulent times, I recommend engaging your stakeholders in the conversation. It also makes sense to engage thought leaders in this dialogue. By bringing in talented third parties that have helped companies navigate crises and re-births, you improve your chance of weathering this storm.

There will be a level of attrition in business that occurs as a function of this pandemic. There will also be opportunities that are inevitably a by-product of chaos. If you beef up the depth and rhythm of your communications and develop and maintain clarity around what you want to achieve at the end of this mess, you stand a much higher likelihood of coming out the other end intact.

I wish you clear skies and an open ocean . . . 

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The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

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Overcoming F.E.A.R. During COVID Uncertainty

Overcoming F.E.A.R. During COVID Uncertainty

Overcoming F.E.A.R. During COVID Uncertainty

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 15, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a speaker, author, and business coach. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change, and drive growth.

 

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Virtual Training During and Beyond the COVID PandemicThe acronym for F.E.A.R. is False Evidence Appearing Real. 

 

When you’re dealing with the unknown, facts are changing daily, experts are predicting very different outcomes, and the media, politicians and your own predilections are distorting the information you’re processing. This makes it really difficult to discern false evidence from real facts.

In defense of all the stakeholders in the distribution of information, no one has an incredibly clear picture of what reality is right now, and they certainly have no idea about what the outcome will be in the future.

When we’re facing a very real threat to ourselves, our families and indeed our way of life, fear can rise up pretty quickly.

On top of these very personal threats to their wellbeing, my consulting clients are faced with additional fears. Fears for their team members’ wellbeing, fear of their loss of ability to serve their customers, and fear for their businesses and livelihoods. 

These are seriously stressful times!

As I’m working with my clients in these uncertain times, one of the most important roles I fulfill is to try and sift through the fear-based information and the fact-based information.

That might seem really straight forward, but often it is not. 

Fear creeps in when things change. Change in and of itself creates fear.

Very often, the fear change generates is misplaced and never comes to fruition. But that’s easy to say, harder to determine and very hard to convey when people’s backs are against the wall.

Fear Paralysis

Recently, I was working through options with a senior manager for a company I am working with and I kept hearing his mind’s projections into the future where he was re-inventing and re-experiencing realities that did not and might never exist. He was telling me why we couldn’t shift to virtual training and why we had to hunker down and hope that this all goes away really quickly. And that the best we could hope for is that this would someday seem like a bad dream.

He was completely paralyzed by fear and couldn’t see his way through it. As a result, he shut down and refused to think creatively.

Wishing and hoping this crisis away is a lot like playing the lottery. You know it’s not likely (in fact it’s damn near impossible) but you hope anyway.

What we need to do in times like these is look at the unvarnished truth as we know it today: 

  1. This thing is not going away anytime soon
  2. Everyone’s in the same boat
  3. Hunkering down and not taking affirmative action is foolish
  4. Assuming the worst is also a fool’s errand
  5. Not preparing for the worst is even more foolish

The truth is that we need to tackle this crisis on an hour by hour, day by day, and month by month basis.

We can’t project an end to the suffering, but we can plot a course that allows for a number of potential end points and work towards those with focus and determination.

As some of those endpoints pass us by and we are still in crisis mode, we need to realign our next set of projections and focus once again.

There is no predicting the likely outcome of this spiraling mass of chaos, but as with the Chaos Theory, very small changes can have far reaching impacts.

Chaos Theory

In the Chaos Theory, initial conditions are considered extremely important. If you look at the response by countries and states across the globe, you can see that where early and affirmative action was taken, outcomes improved more quickly.

This is a great lesson: early and affirmative action

A second element of the Chaos Theory is unpredictability. One thing we know with certainty is that the ultimate outcome of this global event cannot possibly be predicted accurately. If for no other reason, the sheer magnitude of variables in a global event like this make predicting an outcome impossible.

The lesson in this is to focus on the things you can change and don’t get distracted by all the variables that are out of your control.

It is easy to get consumed by the what ifs and let the overwhelming amount of information cloud our view. Fear stalks us all in these challenging times and channeling your focus, time and energy into productive pursuits is tough.

If you’re struggling to see any light at the end of this long tunnel, I would suggest you focus on the process and not the outcome. Take action where and when you can.

And don’t get caught up in the things that remain unknown or out of your control.

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The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™

Virtual Training During and Beyond the Coronavirus Pandemic

Virtual Training During and Beyond the Coronavirus Pandemic

Virtual Training During and Beyond the COVID Pandemic

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 7, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting | Blog | Virtual Training During and Beyond the COVID Pandemic | StudioI have spent a great deal of time in front of teams and audiences presenting training, workshops and information. I truly enjoy the visceral experience and connection this creates for me and my audiences.

With the onset of the Coronavirus, scheduled trainings and conferences started dropping off everyone’s calendars and huge holes emerged in ongoing education and training programs. What a strange turn of events and yet a great opportunity to embrace the many benefits of virtual training.

I have worked with several online training platforms in the past and was familiar with the efficiencies and conveniences afforded by virtual modalities.

Now, I find myself having to truly embrace these options and schedule virtual trainings for clients to continue programs that were already in motion, or to add new programs.

As I started building more online resources, fitted up a sound recording studio, and tried various platforms, I became acutely aware of the many acknowledged and unacknowledged virtues on virtual training.

 

1. Scalability

Virtual Training allows the number of participants to increase or decrease without causing logistical challenges. In a classroom or auditorium, obvious physical limits exist. Virtual training can work for 2-3 attendees, or thousands.

2. Accessibility

Whether your participants are in Charleston or Sydney, they can participate in a virtual training session. This is hugely beneficial to companies with team members scattered over the country, or the globe. 

3. Affordability

There are many financial benefits to virtual training, including savings on travel costs and venue related expenses. Depending on the type of training, adding additional participants represents incremental cost increases.

4. Convenience

When the training is being delivered in real-time, the participants can log in from home, onsite, or a remote location. When the training is pre-packaged, participants can take part at a time that’s convenient for their schedule.

5. Improved Retention

When the training is being recorded, or when it is prepackaged, the participant can review the content at their convenience and this can help improve their retention of the information. This asynchronous format can provide time for participants to absorb and review that they wouldn’t have in a real-time scenario. This format also allows for smaller bites to be consumed and for microlearning to make more financial sense in this forum.

6. Increased Participation and Engagement

Online training platforms allow for chat forums, rating tools, pop quizzes, and other participation tools. For those participants that are less likely to interact in a classroom situation, the virtual realm can be less intimidating. There are also tools for participation monitoring that can ensure the participant is engaged.

7. Immediate Feedback

Online training platforms can provide immediate feedback to participants and facilitators to ensure that course content is being absorbed. This real-time feedback helps comprehension and course development.

8. Blending Facilitators

With virtual training, facilitators can contribute from other cities, states or countries. This can add perspectives to training that may not be easily replicable under normal circumstances.

9. Customization

The virtual training platform allows for customized content, just the same as in-person delivery. And because of feedback mechanisms, real-time content can be melded to meet the participant’s needs equally as well.

NOTE: Rarely do I deliver ‘packaged content’ and the discovery process with a client allows me to customize content to get the optimal outcomes. Custom virtual training should also be preceded by virtual meetings with stakeholders to ensure the content is on point and relatable.

As with all things, there are also some drawbacks with a virtual interface and here’s a couple to be aware of: 

  1. This learning experience may feel less personal for some participants. 
  2. Interfaces can be problematic, bandwidth can cause problems, tech is not always seamless.
  3. There is a reduced direct interaction between participants which is good during a pandemic, not so good for shared learning under normal circumstances.
  4. There are very limited opportunities for team building exercises. 
  5. Poor quality sound or visuals can make the experience lackluster.

I am always going to enjoy the opportunity to interact with my audiences in person, but virtual training is a very real part of our lives these days and can offer many advantages. 

As a member of the business community, you’re likely reconsidering how you do business and what training and education might look like in this new era. Those of us that provide training and education are also needing to consider our options and will no doubt have to invest in more virtual training offerings as the Coronavirus pandemic unfolds. 

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Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple Communication Tool for You and Your Team During COVID

Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple Communication Tool for You and Your Team During COVID

Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple & Effective Communication Tool for You and Your Team During COVID-19

Grant Ian GambleBy Grant Ian Gamble | April 17, 2020

Grant Ian Gamble is a business growth consultant, author and keynote speaker. He works in a broad array of industries helping companies build teams, navigate change and drive growth.

Grant Ian Gamble Business Consulting Blog | Virtual Stand-Up: A Simple Communication Tool for Your and Your Team During COVIDMonday through Friday every week, first thing in the morning, I facilitate a Virtual Stand Up with a management team I am consulting with. This helps the department heads stay connected, even though they’re not in the same physical work environment at the moment.

This daily Virtual Stand-Up reduces miscommunication, increases camaraderie, helps keep team members focused, and ultimately provides a community for people who are getting more and more disconnected as this pandemic expands its grip on our world.

Getting your team together for a daily Virtual Stand-Up can be fun, fulfilling and emotionally fortifying.

Daily virtual huddles might seem a bit much, but can be incredibly productive when you have the right guidelines in place.

Verne Harnish has championed a huddle concept he calls the “Daily Stand-Up”. The Stand-Up model covers three basic things:

What did you do yesterday? 

What are you planning to do today? 

Do you have any unique challenges you are currently facing?

The real beauty of this model is that each participant only has 60 seconds to download those three update items. This means that if you have 10 people on your team, the meeting should take no longer than 10 minutes.

From my experience, the most productive element of this format is declaring what we’re up to today. Some team members approach the day with plans in place, but most just wing it. This format asks those team members to be more proactive and less reactive.

Because of the nature of this format, it is very efficient. It needs a facilitator to manage people’s time and keep things on track, but from my experience, after a few meetings team members pick up the protocol really well and find it incredibly valuable. 

 

» Here are some simple tips to ensure a successful Virtual Stand-Up:

  • VIDEO CONFERENCE
  • 60 SECONDS PER PERSON: 

     What did you do yesterday? 

     What are you planning to do today? 

     Do you have any unique challenges you are currently facing?

1. RELEVANT TOPICS

Ensure the topics team members present are relevant to the group. If they need to inform another team member of something, or have a discussion with them one-on-one, this is not the forum. Instead, encourage them to have the conversation independently.

2. HIGHLIGHTS ONLY

When team members review what they did yesterday, they need to focus on highlights only. The same applies to their plans for today. NOTE: When reviewing yesterday on a Monday, we refer back to Friday’s events.

3. SHARING UNIQUE CHALLENGES

When reviewing any unique challenges they are facing, these should be things that are impeding progress or causing them undue angst. This does not include things that apply to everyone like the weather, or this pandemic. An example would be, “My internet is down at home.” This is good for others to know and obviously is a relevant issue given the current lockdowns.

4. USE A TIMER

Initially, use a timer. This won’t be necessary for the long term, but people will initially give more detail than needed and when the buzzer goes off it is a good reminder to keep it short.

5. ENCOURAGE OFFLINE CONVERSATIONS

If a team member goes off on a tangent or a conversation starts up between two people, the facilitator needs to interject and suggest they take the conversation offline after the call. They can even stay on the call after everyone else drops off, or schedule a separate call or meeting.

6. ALWAYS START ON TIME

Always start the meeting on time. Team members will learn that this is a short, sharp and functional opportunity to stay connected and dialing in on time is expected.

7. USE A RELIABLE VIDEO CONFERENCING TOOL

Use a reliable conferencing tool. I usually use Google Hangouts and put the meeting on repeat so that people have it on their calendar and can dial in easily. There are lots of free conferencing tools out there, so take your pick. 

8. REDUCE BACKGROUND NOISE

Encourage team members to mute their devices when they’re not talking in order to reduce background noise.

9. VIDEO, VIDEO, VIDEO!

As often as possible, I suggest doing a video call instead of a phone call. Some teams do a video call every time. This leaves less room for distractions and miscommunication as it’s much easier for people to read each other’s emotions when they can see each other.

If you limit each team member to 60 seconds and stick to this routine, you’ll quickly experience the benefits. These meetings can be critical in keeping your team on track and maintaining your work community. 

I have used this format in many scenarios, but never quite as beneficially as today.

We need each other more than ever, and having simple and productive rituals like Virtual Stand Ups will help your team stay aligned, productive and connected.

Get In Touch

SPEAKING | EVENTS | CONSULTING

Send an email via the form below or call to set up a free consultation. LET US KNOW IF YOU'D like to collaborate with us. MINDFUL LEADERSHIP PODCAST COMING SOON, BE OUR GUEST!

434.996.5510

The Affinity Principle™ by Grant Gamble presents a formula for business success through a people-centric, mindful leadership approach.

PEOPLE FIRST, ALWAYS™

Grant Gamble Business Consulting | Newsletter signup

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