– DIGITAL COLLABORATION & REMOTE GUIDE
It’s no surprise that the fifth key to a successful, digital, remote, collaboration is found in the superior use of tools. Here we work with our clients to explore the capacity to meaningfully select, effectively engage, and intentionally outgrow your toolsets, pulling forward learnings and bolstering a sense-and-respond ecosystem.
Tools are fulcrum mechanisms we leverage to decrease the amount of effort or increase the amount of power with which we get a job done. Selecting the “right tool for the right job” is a skill of discernment (one we’re rapidly losing to algorithms and AI, by the way). When the task is simple, the choice is simple. When the task is complex, the compounding tool options are overwhelming. This speaks to the specificity with which you set objectives (key 2).
What’s most important becomes clarity around ‘what is the objective to accomplish?’ The legwork for selecting the right tool is not found in an exhaustive tool comparison, but in alignment of purpose.
The spirit of successful remote teaming gains fuel by being nimble: keenly aware and tuned into the very next objective. The principles and behaviors detailed in key 1 sets the stage for leveraging tools. Tools are not meant to hinder. If the ‘tool’ you’re tethered to hinders the work you’re doing, it’s not a tool; adaptation will naturally ensue, levelling outcomes to the tool’s (dys)functionality, effectively rendering the team’s ingenuity wasted.
“Coping with” your technological limitations isn’t a game plan for success, nor a measure of your grit, it’s a fault line in your foundation. That’s why the way we think about and use tools as a digital remote team is KEY for greater success.
While the actual tool is subordinate to
we’ll link you to some we’ve successfully experimented with.
The interdependence of the previous keys help us see it’s not the tool that makes digital remote collaboration work, it’s the best use of tools, given the effect of establishing the other four keys.
Principles shape behaviors and attitudes that enable early adoption and experimentation. We encourage team members to embody an agnostic relationship with tools. The rigidity associated with a conditioned attachment to a particular tool perversely leads to the tool becoming the job. We lose the forest for the trees. An easy example is traditional project management. Any seasoned practitioner can attest to the ratio of time spent adding value vs updating the Gantt chart. Another timely example, spending 15 minutes getting the teleconference platform to work for a 20 minute call.
Products marketed as tools can be distractions. Be careful when seeking to outsource your thinking, communication and collaboration to a device. When the sincere, serious work of the first four keys takes root, you’ll have created the conditions for exponentially effective tool use. To demonstrate an inherent danger in ‘outsourcing’ with a tool, consider the progression from an in-person, face to face conversation … to telephone conversation (as rare as it has become) … to email. In- person, there is a rich exchange of energy, presence, non-verbal communication. By phone we lose that data, but still retain the pauses, intonation, pace, and exchange. Email or text cuts the mosaic of sensory data straight out of the equation, paling in comparison to the potential of the ‘living’ communication the language was built with.
Think carefully about what is needed, and what will erode with the use of a tool. Will the leverage you gain outstrip that cost? The way tools have pervaded both skills and thinking cautioning us to keep a watchful eye on the end despite the means, and not to confuse the two.
Prioritizing the needed outcomes lends clarity to precisely where we’re trying to get to, naturally surfacing the obstacles in the terrain before us. The immediacy of limiting our focus to exactly what’s next gives a kind of surgical assessment of the leverage needed to simplify or amplify our efforts.
The hallmark freedom and corresponding responsibility of autonomous teams creates flexibility to reach for what is needed vs. what we’re (emotionally, technically or capably) bound to. One of the most exciting developments of our time is access to a limitless network of ever-evolving widgets and apps, as well as countless time honored methods, and experienced people all at our fingertips.
The drumbeat pulses a dimension of time into our tool selection, fortifying growth and learning with the built-in support for failing forward and learning fast. If the tool you and your team leverage as a means to accomplishing the end performed as needed, great: Success, good selection, now you know. If not- the boundaries of your objective and the constraint of the drumbeat will help you assess whether or not to continue. If the tool did not simplify or amplify your effort as needed, then you put that tool down and go on with the job because at a certain point (the drumbeat will tell you), adhering to a failing endeavor is watering dead plants. Given a laser focus on collaborating in time to accomplish a valued objective, the alignment that comes from these decisions is a whet that will sharpen your performance rendering your competitors obsolete.
This digital age is shaping technology tools that as predicted, are beginning to shape us. The speed and volume of calculable data are nearly beyond human comprehension. Faster than you know, the technological tools in play will call into question the very nature of humanity. We have to understand how tools are shaping us, and how to contribute our humanity into that shaping in a time of hyper change. The hearts and minds of your team is the most invincible tool you have.