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6 Tips We Can Learn From Steve Jobs On How To Hold Meetings

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6 Tips We Can Learn From Steve Jobs On How To Hold Meetings

If you know anything about Steve Jobs, you know he was everything but a conventional man. He was known for very inspiring and orchestrated meetings and his goal in those meetings was to bring everyone together to work in harmony. Now, if you are anything like me, you hate the mere thought of having or attending a meeting just for the sake of having or attending one.

I think the first step towards learning how to have meetings like Steve Jobs is to call them what he called them which was “brainstorming sessions” because he was not in his meetings just to listen to himself, he was there to listen to his team of engineers, marketers, designers, etc. So, when he held a “brainstorming session”.

What can we learn from him and have an “apple moment” in our own business? Here are six great tips to learn from him.

1. Be Clear on the Purpose of the Meeting

As soon as your staff walks into the meeting, the purpose should be clear. What problem are you there to solve? It is important to have a clear vision of what you want to achieve so that your team immediately recognises why they are there. Steve Jobs was very clear as to what he wanted and why his team was there. He was enthusiastic, passionate and he believed wholeheartedly in why he was there. He was not afraid to “go all out for what he wanted”. Leading off with passion and purpose, he immediately engaged his team.

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2. Recognise Creative Value

It is not just about the money, it is about what you have to offer that is so special and why people need it so badly. When your staff understands that this is something that people have to have and that they are a great part of it, they will make it happen. Steve Jobs was a genius because he knew he could not do it alone, he needed his team but not only he needed to know their worth but they needed to know their own worth, too.

Many times our lack of accomplishment is due to not recognising what we have before us.

It was once said that, “What you do not recognise you do not celebrate and what you do not celebrate will eventually walk out of your life”.

How sad is it to lose a valuable team member just because you failed to recognise their value especially if they are a key to getting your product or service out there.

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3. Probe & Challenge

Steve Jobs was not afraid to probe his team and listen to their feelings however, he would push them to understand why they felt the way they did. It is not enough for your team member to say, “I do not think that is a good idea”, ask them why they don’t think that it is a good idea. There is always a reason or should be one for both the agreement and disagreement.

The probing was one thing but the challenging is yet another. Steve Jobs would sometimes, in fact, many times disagree with one of his team members but he would challenge them to listen to why. In this way, he would challenge them to think differently and even learn to challenge themselves on a better or different way to achieve something. Therefore, because of the probing and the challenging, they would stick with him because they would find themselves doing their best work and they were allowed to do so. This is where you can find great talent on your team, bring them to probe and challenge themselves.

4.Game Plan

Every one of your team members must walk out of that meeting knowing exactly what they are to do. The key here is not exactly the “how to do it” but for the “what to do”. The “how” is where Steve would push his team members to do their best. Your team cannot always rely on you to tell them how to do something but for sure they should know what the end result is expected to be.

One of the most interesting statements that Steve Jobs made was that, “he played the orchestra”. He knew how to bring them together in harmony to make a vision happen. Why do we as leaders want to be responsible for the “how”? This is where many of us miss out on the great things that we could be creating because we are trying to control it all. Conduct the orchestra of great talent and lead the game plan.

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5. Focus on the War and not the Battle

Wow! I love this statement because too many times as leaders we are worried about the small battles going on around us instead of focusing on the greater war in front of us. Not only our team but ourselves, we must hold ourselves accountable for what is going on. Steve once said that as a team they were concentrating so much on the smaller battles around them that they had forgotten to keep the war in perspective.

What was that war exactly? It is SURVIVAL! As he wanted his team to not just win small battles, he wanted them to win the war, so should we and he did that by starting with the blame on his own shoulders. Start with yourself when you address your team, after all, you are the leader. Steve said, “if you want to change other’s behaviour, start at the top.”

6. Never Let Past Mistakes Own You

A mistake could be a win or it could be a stepping stone to a win. In one of Steve’s meetings, he actually told his team that he did not want to keep hearing about what had not worked before and what problems they had had, he wanted to hear about the “new window of opportunity laying before them”. He recognised failure from before and what all had not happened but often as entrepreneurs, we face failure and many of us have experienced it more than once.

We must believe that success is out there otherwise we would not keep trying. So, the next time you are in a meeting and your team members want to bring up the past, make it clear, yes we made a mistake but this is not the purpose of this meeting. We are moving forward and we are not going to let those past mistakes own us now.

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If you have drive, focus, passion, brashness and patience just to mention a few, you are more like Steve Jobs than you think. These are the traits that brought him to discovering one of the greatest inventions on earth. The next time you plan a meeting with your team, take a good look at the above tips and challenge yourself to a “Steve Jobs” meeting and watch and see what great and successful things will come from it. Remember this, “Greatness and True Quality Never go on sale”.

Featured photo credit: Having Meetings Like Steve Jobs via imcreator.com

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Published on September 21, 2021

How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

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How Remote Work Affects Your Productivity And Wellbeing (Backed By Data)

The internet is flooded with articles about remote work and its benefits or drawbacks. But in reality, the remote work experience is so subjective that it’s impossible to draw general conclusions and issue one-size-fits-all advice about it. However, one thing that’s universal and rock-solid is data. Data-backed findings and research about remote work productivity give us a clear picture of how our workdays have changed and how work from home affects us—because data doesn’t lie.

In this article, we’ll look at three decisive findings from a recent data study and two survey reports concerning remote work productivity and worker well-being.

1. We Take Less Frequent Breaks

Your home can be a peaceful or a distracting place depending on your living and family conditions. While some of us might find it hard to focus amidst the sounds of our everyday life, other people will tell you that the peace and quiet while working from home (WFH) is a major productivity booster. Then there are those who find it hard to take proper breaks at home and switch off at the end of the workday.

But what does data say about remote work productivity? Do we work more or less in a remote setting?

Let’s take a step back to pre-pandemic times (2014, to be exact) when a time tracking application called DeskTime discovered that 10% of most productive people work for 52 minutes and then take a break for 17 minutes.

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Recently, the same time tracking app repeated that study to reveal working and breaking patterns during the pandemic. They found that remote work has caused an increase in time worked, with the most productive people now working for 112 minutes and breaking for 26 minutes.[1]

Now, this may seem rather innocent at first—so what if we work for extended periods of time as long as we also take longer breaks? But let’s take a closer look at this proportion.

While breaks have become only nine minutes longer, work sprints have more than doubled. That’s nearly two hours of work, meaning that the most hard-working people only take three to four breaks per 8-hour workday. This discovery makes us question if working from home (WFH) really is as good a thing for our well-being as we thought it was. In addition, in the WFH format, breaks are no longer a treat but rather a time to squeeze in a chore or help children with schoolwork.

Online meetings are among the main reasons for less frequent breaks. Pre-pandemic meetings meant going to another room, stretching your legs, and giving your eyes a rest from the computer. In a remote setting, all meetings happen on screen, sometimes back-to-back, which could be one of the main factors explaining the longer work hours recorded.

2. We Face a Higher Risk of Burnout

At first, many were optimistic about remote work’s benefits in terms of work-life balance as we save time on commuting and have more time to spend with family—at least in theory. But for many people, this was quickly counterbalanced by a struggle to separate their work and personal lives. Buffer’s 2021 survey for the State of Remote Work report found that the biggest struggle of remote workers is not being able to unplug, with collaboration difficulties and loneliness sharing second place.[2]

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Buffer’s respondents were also asked if they are working more or less since their shift to remote work, and 45 percent admitted to working more. Forty-two percent said they are working the same amount, while 13 percent responded that they are working less.

Longer work hours and fewer quality breaks can dramatically affect our health, as long-term sitting and computer use can cause eye strain, mental fatigue, and other issues. These, in turn, can lead to more severe consequences, such as burnout and heart disease.

Let’s have a closer look at the connection between burnout and remote work.

McKinsey’s report about the Future of work states that 49% of people say they’re feeling some symptoms of burnout.[3] And that may be an understatement since employees experiencing burnout are less likely to respond to survey requests and may have even left the workforce.

From the viewpoint of the employer, remote workers may seem like they are more productive and working longer hours. However, managers must be aware of the risks associated with increased employee anxiety. Otherwise, the productivity gains won’t be long-lasting. It’s no secret that prolonged anxiety can reduce job satisfaction, decrease work performance, and negatively affect interpersonal relationships with colleagues.[4]

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3. Despite everything, We Love Remote Work

An overwhelming majority—97 percent—of Buffer report’s survey respondents say they would like to continue working remotely to some extent. The two main benefits mentioned by the respondents are the ability to have a flexible schedule and the flexibility to work from anywhere.

McKinsey’s report found that more than half of employees would like their workplace to adopt a more flexible hybrid virtual-working model, with some days of work on-premises and some days working remotely. To be more exact, more than half of employees report that they would like at least three work-from-home days a week once the pandemic is over.

Companies will increasingly be forced to find ways to satisfy these workforce demands while implementing policies to minimize the risks associated with overworking and burnout. Smart companies will embrace this new trend and realize that adopting hybrid models can also be a win for them—for example, for accessing talent in different locations and at a lower cost.

Remote Work: Blessing or Plight?

Understandably, workers worldwide are tempted to keep the good work-life aspects that have come out of the pandemic—professional flexibility, fewer commutes, and extra time with family. But with the once strict boundaries between work and life fading, we must remain cautious. We try to squeeze in house chores during breaks. We do online meetings from the kitchen or the same couch we watch TV shows from, and many of us report difficulties switching off after work.

So, how do we keep our private and professional lives from hopelessly blending together?

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The answer is that we try to replicate the physical and virtual boundaries that come naturally in an office setting. This doesn’t only mean having a dedicated workspace but also tracking your work time and stopping when your working hours are finished. In addition, it means working breaks into your schedule because watercooler chats don’t just naturally happen at home.

If necessary, we need to introduce new rituals that resemble a normal office day—for example, going for a walk around the block in the morning to simulate “arriving at work.” Remote work is here to stay. If we want to enjoy the advantages it offers, then we need to learn how to cope with the personal challenges that come with it.

Learn how to stay productive while working remotely with these tips: How to Work From Home: 10 Tips to Stay Productive

Featured photo credit: Jenny Ueberberg via unsplash.com

Reference

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