“Planned spontaneity?”

An oxymoron, yes, but one of the things that we’re missing most in our teams at the moment.

When we were going to the office every day and spending time in the same physical spaces as our colleagues, it was fairly easy to call a quick huddle, take a coffee break with the team, or step outside for a cigarette with someone. At very least, you could swivel your chair around and ask your colleague behind you a quick question.

In the virtual and hybrid world we’ve lived in for the past 18 months – and in which we’re likely to stay in the future – most people have not done well enough to replace these informal and spontaneous connecting times.

So, this is where my Tuesday Tip comes in: plan the spontaneous connection moments, rather than just hoping they’ll happen.

The best way to do this is chat to your team about what value came from those connection moments, and then schedule and plan sessions to deliver this value. It could be relationship building, connection, collaboration, learning, mentoring, networking, creativity, innovation or anything else.

By the way, if you’re using these issues as an excuse to get people back to the office, so that people can occasionally and randomly bump into each other, you haven’t really thought it through either. You can plan and schedule face to face time much better than we used to before Lockdown and get more than we used to just by chance.

It’s quite simple really: agree on the specific outcomes you’d like from some time together as a team, then get someone to specifically design activities that ensure you achieve these outcomes, and then schedule time to make it happen. It’s as easy as that. The trick is to actually do it!

Give it a go. I am sure you won’t regret it.

Author of today’s tip, Graeme Codrington, is an internationally recognized futurist, specializing in the future of work. He helps organizations understand the forces that will shape our lives in the next ten years, and how we can respond in order to confidently stay ahead of change.

For the past two decades,  Graeme has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands, travelling to over 80 countries in total, and speaking to around 100,000 people every year. He is the author of 5 best-selling books, and on faculty at 5 top global business schools.

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