1. The fewer shared values a group has the more rules they need. Conversely, the more clarity a team has of their shared values, the fewer rules are needed. (Has your team identified and consistently reinforced shared values?)
  2. Remember: High-achieving professionals are easily insulted by rules. They expect people to bring their best because they can – not because they’re told to do so.
  3. Start with the assumption that people can be trusted to work effectively in a remote setting. (If you can’t trust them, why are they on your team?)
  4. Trust between people is forged by more than being credible and reliable; it requires feeling humanly connected to one another. Therefore, the personal chat at the beginning of a meeting (i.e. personal stories and inquiries that communicate we care about each other) is not small talk. It is, instead, a here’s-why-we-can-connect-to-one-another, talk.
  5. If you’re conferencing with a colleague who is multi-tasking, consider it isn’t them that is being unprofessional – it’s you or the agenda that needs improvement. (Translation: Make discussions relevant to participants in the meeting.)
  6. Not every agenda item can be relevant to everyone. When an agenda topic only pertains to a few people, give permission to the others to multi-task. Then, upon concluding the conversation, notify everyone when you’re transitioning to a new topic. (Translation: Get real. Be 2020: Don’t make people pretend to be engaged if they can’t give or receive value.)
  7. Insist on everyone having their cameras on. If people complain, kindly remind them of the corporate policy that wearing bags over their heads in face-to-face meetings isn’t allowed, so neither is keeping their camera off in virtual meetings. Bottom line: Visual cues (i.e. facial expressions) cannot be sacrificed if a team is going to communicate effectively.
  8. Forbid the I’m-on-mute-but-pretending-to-participate game. (It’s an insult to all of us, isn’t it?) Establish that muting your microphone is okay when the following steps are taken: You must look directly into the camera (communicating to everyone that you’re still fully engaged) or you must turn off your camera. This latter act informs everyone that you’ve got a higher priority focus for the moment. (That’s not a bad thing. We trust them, remember. And they can be called back into the discussion when the agenda topic changes.) Worth adding: If you are called upon and you haven’t been paying attention, just say so and skip the excuses everyone recognizes. Then, offer to have your paycheck deducted to compensate for wasting the salaries the company is paying everyone else in the meeting.
  9. If we’re going to text comments to each other off-line (like we used to pass notes to classmates in grade school), let’s declare that our words will only be productive. To sabotage a teammate while they’re trying to contribute is to degrade ourselves.
  10. Remember rule #1.
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