I have been giving a lot of thought on making the most of the distance I currently have from my clients and teams. One idea that always keeps coming back is around visibility and transparency.
It’s easy for people to wonder when there isn’t a call or email what people are up to. Maybe they are doing incredible things, or maybe they are wasting time. Regardless of the truth, the question will enter people’s minds, so what can you do to give a good answer to that question?
Well, when it comes down to it, I think making sure that what you have going on is visible to everyone around you will help. There are a lot of ways to do this, and I’m experimenting with one way myself.
Here are some guidelines though that I think will help:
- Keep your audience in mind
- Show what is most important
- Shine a light on challenges
- Highlight success
You may be tempted at first to send the same reports you always do, but maybe it is worthwhile to have a conversation with the key people in your work-life to find out what they are most interested in right now. Tailor how you make things visible, so they instantly know how things fit. Don’t make them work for it.
Similarly, a lot of groups like to focus on how busy people are, which ignores a lot of things like successes and challenges. Don’t shy away from highlighting what things have gone well and where things are getting stuck. Successes and challenges are a real part of work, so find a way to show them.
Lastly, I want to encourage people to think about how you show what is most important. I mentioned above that it is easy to default to showing how busy you are, but if you can clue into the needs of people around you, you can also dial into the one or two pieces of information people need. Without that focus, there might be a tendency to have reporting overload, which is as good as none at all.
For my experiment, I’ve started writing debriefs on what is going in my world and sending them far and wide within my client. I don’t expect many people to read it at first, but it’s a low-effort way for me to make sure what I have going on stays visible when a lot of people might be wondering.
How are you keeping things transparent and visible?