• André

The Decentralisation Effect: How to Maintain Engagement

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, LinkedIn and Slack. What do these platforms all have in common? They have the power to keep us connected.

They are all tools that have been designed to solve a problem and create value and efficiencies.

Ironically, as much as they allow us to stay connected, there is growing global sentiment that they are largely responsible for a growing social disconnection.

A former Facebook executive expressed “tremendous guilt” in his contribution, stating that the social network has scoured “the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other.”

So are they friend or foe?

Relating this to the workforce, the implications for organisations into their increasingly decentralised future, are that they will be exposed to the same challenges of social disconnection.

Maintaining connection in a decentralised workforce in the absence of physical proximity requires a few key staple elements to be in place.

If the overarching goal for business leaders is to stay connected with their talent, maintain their loyalty and unleash their potential, they must piece together the puzzle delicately.

At the heart of it is communication – getting in a related space in all forms but the physical. It is not by chance that the common denominator of effective teams, leadership, behaviour, engagement, and connection is communication.

It is also not by chance that communication in its most primal form is possible by all the senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste.

Managing performance, or what we like to call checking in, is not something that should be used to illicit fear or be the intimidating proposition it appears to be for so many on the receiving end.

For decentralised organisations, themes that continue to stand the test of time and apply across contexts for maintaining high standards of overall performance include the following:

  • A clear, shared understanding of group objectives through defined and actionable components. What does success look like? Clearly defined roles and responsibilities at an individual level enable people to see how they are tracking and provides milestones for which to aim and re-evaluate.

  • A communication imperative and mantra for dispersed teams. Regularity, accessibility and transparency are essential. This spans all forms of communication, whether or not it is conversational or informative.

  • It is important in this regard to also use the appropriate mediums to maintain the humanity component. Where possible, organisations should encourage verbal communication and purposeful face-to-face opportunities to strengthen connection. This is often best achieved through mass company events, depending on the size of your organisation.

Tying this all this together is a flexibility component that is required in adapting to decentralised environments. Without it, you will soon find yourself banging your head against the proverbial brick wall.

After all, flexibility is the premise for a decentralised workforce.

When you allow your teams flexibility, they become more empowered to manage themselves and deliver under the guidelines of measurable responsibilities and effective communication.

*How will you stay connected?

Tags: Communication, Decentralisation, Self-managed Teams, Flexibility