How to create intentional meetings with Bryan Ware. Bryan is the Assistant Director for cybersecurity at CISA and was the CEO at both Digital Sandbox and Haystax.
In this new world of remote teams, Bryan emphasizes the importance of transparency, intention, and over-communicating. He states that the most important thing you can have in a highly effective team is news traveling fast, especially bad news. Bryan encourages relooking at how, where, and when to have specific meetings. He has implemented senior leadership team on-sites where decision-makers get together (with safety precautions honored) to re-engage the strategy, engage in conflict, and to hold each other accountable.
Bryan notes that charisma is not going to take you as far as it would have Pre-COVID. We use the same camera to speak to our family, friends and leaders. Your team is looking for humility, empathy, trustworthiness and thoughtfulness. Leaders will need to spend the time to be intentional, effective, and really caring.
- Leaders need to be personable, be human, have genuine relationships with as much of your team as you possibly can. Be honest, and speak the truth.
- Ask your team to have bad news travel as fast, if not faster than good news.
- Leaders need to remember that people need to hear things a few times and through different routes of communication.
- Deeply believe in the work that you do. Focus on the impact, and attract the kinds of people that deeply believe in that impact too.
How can I keep my team connected to the mission when we’re distributed?
What practices should I focus on?
To Create Intentional Meetings: Focus
- Focus on the things that are most important. Force yourself to simplify.
- Focus is a way to win. Focus is a way to make sure that you’re not doing those things that, you know, were not as essential. By simplifying your focus, creates better alignment of your leaders to the mission, which trickles down to the individual teams.
Create Intentional Gathering
- Gather once a month with your team to calibrate on strategy, and strengthen accountability for the execution of the strategy. (With CDC regulations in place).
- On-site meetings leave everyone in a better place to raise conflict or contentious issues. Easier to read body language.
- To create intentional meetings, leaders need to classify what kinds of conversations can be held and how to hold them. (For example, remotely, over email or ZOOM) More complex conversations should be done face-to-face.
- Identify the length of the meetings to determine which should be held over video conference (>30 minutes) and which should still be held face-to-face (<30 minutes)
- Identify the # of participants in the meeting to determine if the meeting should be held online or in person.
- Set clear expectations for meetings.
- What three things do you want to accomplish in this meeting?
- What can you do normally in a face-to-face meeting that is harder to do in a virtual meeting?
- What is going on in this meeting that is so compelling that nothing else will take their focus from it?
- Be empathetic, personable, truthful, and candid.
- Open meetings early for random conversations to replace your Town Hall meetings if those have not been successful.
- Share a crystal clear picture and make sure no matter where any of your teammates are, they can accurately describe and depict that vision.
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