Guided Insights

Virtual Strategic Planning: The Silver Lining

When news of Covid hit about eight months ago (or was it eight years ago?) many of us thought we’d be back to “normal” within a few months. Workers would be returning to offices, groups could meet again in person, and conferences and events scheduled for 2021 could go on as planned. But of course, we were …

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How Inclusion and Integrity Foster More Productive Conversations, Reduce Bias in a Virtual World

This is the second in a two-part series about healthy virtual conversations, where we discuss the four discussion disciplines: Integrity, Courtesy, Inclusion and Translation. By Nancy Settle-Murphy and Kate Pugh Until several months ago, this global Sales and Marketing group was regarded as a model of a truly high-performing hybrid team, the kind others aspired …

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To Manage Difficult Behavior in Virtual Meetings, Be Diplomatic Yet Assertive

The person who comes unprepared to every meeting and asks you to catch them up while others wait “We’re just about to dive into a conversation related to the prework I sent out last week. For anyone who didn’t have a chance to read it, I have copies here (or have pasted the URL here, …

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Healthy Conversations Can Bring Virtual Teams Back To Life

“Look, we need to let people know ASAP when and how we can expect to return to the office. Your team is already 10 days late giving us your recommendations. You’d better figure out why you haven’t been able to move forward. Have your proposed options on my desk by Monday. Drop everything else until …

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What Have You Learned About Your Culture During the Covid Crisis?

What have you learned about your organization’s culture over the last few months that may not have been obvious before? What policies or behaviors have shined a light on the values and beliefs of your leadership team? How do employees feel about working for your organization today, compared to the time before Covid? These are …

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Virtual Meetings: Why Bother Showing Up If You’re Not Really Present?

You’re trying to pay attention to your third video meeting in a row, where your colleague is making an impassioned case for getting the team much-needed resources. Despite the fact that you’re desperate for this request to be approved, you’re struggling to focus. In part, it’s because you didn’t bother to review the documents she sent so …

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Ghosting Can Come Back to Haunt You – Here’s Why, and How to Avoid It

A client who’s raved about my work for years has unceremoniously stopped answering my emails. A prospective client who has promised to move forward with my proposal has suddenly cut off all communication. A colleague I’ve known for years seems to have fallen off the face of the earth. Yup, I’ve been ghosted, and I’ll …

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Unconscious Bias: Just Because You Can’t See It, Others (Almost Certainly) Can

There we were. A roomful of mostly white adults from my upper middle-class, fairly liberal Massachusetts town, gathered together in our earnest desire to discover how to be better allies to people of color. Tensions grew as the facilitators led us into uncomfortable conversations designed to help us uncover our hidden biases, layer by layer. …

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Why Conversations Sometimes Feel Impossible and How to Bring Them Back

The kids in our high school were shattered when news spread last month that a popular senior took his own life.  Everyday life for these kids screeched to a halt as they struggled to process how such a tragedy could have happened to one of their own. This was the first time many experienced the …

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Instantly Improve Your Team Communications by Overturning 9 Dangerous Myths

We’ve all indulged in magical thinking. Why else would so many people rush to buy tickets when the Powerball jackpot swells to $400M, even though their chances of winning are dramatically slimmer? How many people believe that if they lose that last 5 pounds, the person of their dreams will magically sweep them off their …

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Ten must-know email tips for teams to make an impact and get results

By Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights and Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts, Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts & Associates Are you having trouble keeping up with the fusillade of emails your team members churn out each day? Are you wondering why team members don’t respond to your messages or if they even read them? Email is the cornerstone of communications for most …

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Mobilize Global Virtual Teams by Avoiding 8 Common Landmines

Imagine you’re heading a new global team responsible for a major company initiative. The 25 team members represent 10 countries and five continents. You need to get this team moving quickly, and you must rely on a combination of asynchronous and synchronous communication methods. Even the most seasoned international business professionals may fall into some …

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Building Relationships, One Conversation at a Time

Can you build a trusting relationship when you’ve never had an actual conversation? (And no, IM, email, text, Twitter and blog “conversations” don’t count!) While it may be possible, it’s pretty unlikely. Most business conversations tend to focus on tasks and priorities, whether to review the progress of a current project, delegate actions or make …

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Seven Attributes of an Exceptional Virtual Collaborator

Just because someone works virtually doesn’t mean that person really has what it takes to collaborate successfully. In fact, many who work remotely are poorly suited to make the connections they really need to thrive. In this edition of Communiqué, we look at characteristics that make for a successful virtual collaborator, and those that may …

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To speed decision-making, get rid of the noise

To be, or not to be? Not all decisions are as profound as Hamlet’s, but some team decisions can be real game-changers. Making tough decisions can stress out members of any team, but when you’re working as a geographically-dispersed team, the decision-making process can be especially draining. Why?  Simply put, the decision-making process for virtual …

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Overcoming Time and Distance to Stay Connected, Engaged and Energized

In a world where what was blindly fast is now excruciatingly slow, what was private is now all-too-public, and where meaningful discussions have given way to a stream of 280-character exchanges, a feeling of disconnection has become rampant across the workplace. Despite the proliferation of devices that tether us to others at any time, from …

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Successful Virtual Collaboration Takes a Lot More Than Just the Right Tools

Your organization has finally gotten wise to the fact that employees need more than just email, a smart phone and a group website to work with their colleagues across the world, or even just down the hall. IT has just unveiled an array of exciting new collaboration tools with great fanfare, complete with training and …

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How to Tilt the Work-Life Balance in your Favor in a 24×7 World

Is achieving “work-life balance” really possible in an always-on, constantly connected world? When telecommuting and flextime were introduced, the thinking was that busy professionals could adjust their working hours to accommodate other important aspects of their lives. (“It’s great – I can coach my kids’ soccer games and then hop onto my late-night con calls.”) …

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6 Essential Guidelines for Making Better Decisions, Virtually

Let’s face it. We’ve all made some pretty poor decisions. Sometimes it’s because we feel we have to keep moving, in any direction. Other times we just don’t want to have to think too hard, so we make the choice that requires the least scrutiny. When we make a bad decision that has fairly minor …

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You’d Be a Great (Virtual) Communicator If Only You Could Just Be Quiet

Quick: What’s the #1 skill successful virtual leaders must have, which is usually hardest for them to cultivate? If you said “listening,” you’d be right. Why it’s so important is pretty obvious. Virtual leaders must learn to listen for and interpret an enormous amount of information, within seconds, without benefit of body language or eye …

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From Bland and Boring to Captivating and Compelling

  Even the most experienced team leaders can make us weep with boredom. They torture us with their monotone narrations of 10-Mb slide decks. They regale us with irrelevant minutiae, while sidestepping the really important stuff. Their meetings are more like monologues, with everyone else listening from the sidelines. And for the most part, they …

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How a Simple Storyboard Helps Command Attention and Get Results (Virtually)

Picture this: You’ve put hours of work into finalizing your recommendations for next week’s executive team meeting where the fate of your project (and perhaps your job!) will be determined. You have no more than 60 minutes to present and discuss some radical ideas about how to reallocate project resources. You’re convinced that you’ve developed …

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Nine Hidden Assumptions That Can Kill (Virtual) Collaboration

Manager: “Look, I know I said you could work from wherever you wanted, as long as you got the job done. And yes, I appreciate that you’ve arranged your entire schedule accordingly. Of course, you’re doing a great job! (Well, at least I think you are.) It’s just that the leadership around here believes that …

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Brainstorming across borders: How to stimulate creative thinking from afar

Q: A marketing manager tell us: We’re under tremendous pressure to churn out hundreds of deliverables each month. But at the same time we’re asked to come up with some really “out-of-the-box” thinking. Productive brainstorming sessions take time, something we have precious little of. And even if we had the time, our team is far-flung, …

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Nine Hidden Assumptions That Can Kill (Virtual) Collaboration

Manager: “Look, I know I said you could work from wherever you wanted, as long as you got the job done. And yes, I appreciate that you’ve arranged your entire schedule accordingly. Of course, you’re doing a great job! (Well, at least I think you are.) It’s just that the leadership around here believes that …

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Speaking the Truth Not Always Easy in a Virtual World

If I ask you if these pants make me look fat, your face seems to say that I look like a whale, despite your verbal assurance that I look just fine. I really can’t tell if you are trying to spare my feelings or avoid my wrath, or whether I really do look pretty svelte. …

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