Transcript: Episode #113

Virtual Teams That Thrive

Speaker 0 00:00:04 Make it right. The manufacturing podcast,
Speaker 1 00:00:09 Ella Fitzgerald sang summertime, and the living is easy. But for those of us working from home, staying focused, isn’t easy, especially when family members are off school and the neighbors are out and about. And the great outdoors is calling I’m Janet Eastman. Welcome to make it right. The podcast for manufacturing leaders. And this week, my guest has deep roots in manufacturing. Pete Winiarski is the CEO of Win Enterprises, LLC. And his business helps companies transform for success and growth. And when COVID-19 hit North America, when enterprises was quick off the Mark to write and publish a book called virtual teams that thrive, it’s a book that provides business leaders and their teams with easy to implement approaches to working remotely. Pete is also an author of the international bestselling book act. Now a daily action log for achieving your goals. In 90 days, he put that one out back in 2012. So he’s an author, he’s a speaker, he’s a business owner he’s regularly on Facebook sharing ideas. He also has his own podcast called business results radio, and somehow he’s managed to squeeze in some time so he can be on make it right. So Pete, I’m delighted to have you here. Thanks for coming in,
Speaker 2 00:01:27 Janet. Thank you so much. And I’m chuckling right here, along with you because it does sound a little silly way when you layer it all in like my goodness. Do I sleep ever?
Speaker 1 00:01:37 Yeah, well you seem to be going at it and, or you just get good results in, in your maximum amount of time. Maybe that’s how you do it. But yeah. So your career Pete is, is deeply rooted in manufacturing. Can you share like a 32nd, 62nd CV of where you’ve been and then what, when enterprises is all about,
Speaker 2 00:01:58 Of course, yeah, it started right place at the right time. The Wiremold company was my first 10 years of my career. And of course Wiremold became known for its lean production system, the Wiremold production system, uh, fashioned after Toyota. And we had people visiting us from all over the world to see how we were doing what we were doing. So this is that that’s in my DNA from there. I was at Danner, her, uh, which is another very well known manufacturing company. I was at McKinsey consulting and George group consulting. And so what wind enterprises did is I grabbed and pulled principles about business transformation, getting results in your operations is how it started. And then it evolved into really thinking about what are those strategic issues and what if you’re the business leader, can you do to get results that stick and not sustain? Hmm.
Speaker 1 00:02:57 And so I guess come March of this year, suddenly the world was turned upside down. I’m sure that your clients were like, what is happening. So is that what prompted you to write virtual teams that
Speaker 2 00:03:11 It really is? We did not at all have our strategic plan laid out from, you know, six or 12 months ago that said, let’s do a book about virtual teams that just was not on the radar. And, um, we had some things that we were planning to launch in March. Um, you know, that were your webinars and video based programs around you’re really driving your profit and your performance. And, uh, of course Colvin hit and we’re like, well, this is the worst time to launch anything right now. So let’s, let’s take a breath and look at what’s going on and ask when we started asking your clients that we had, that we were hitting the pause button on either because they initiated or we did because everybody was not traveling all of a sudden, and the challenges all had to do with, we’ve got to go virtual, we’ve got to take a whole bunch of people virtual on our teams that have never worked virtual before.
Speaker 2 00:04:10 What do we do? How do we do it? And that was the light bulb. So we, it came from, how can we support? How can we help? How can we serve and answer this problem? Um, and again, it didn’t plan as a book, Janet, but it started as let’s shoot a video, let’s create some exercises, let’s design a workshop around it. And over the next two weeks as we started rolling, it’s suddenly we had well over a hundred pages of content. And that’s when we said, well, maybe we should turn this into a book. And that’s not such a crazy conclusion, Janet, because we’ve done a bunch of books before. And we’ve some we’ve published with other publishers and some we’ve done ourselves. And so that’s a comfort zone for us. Um, and we decided let’s get it out there. And certainly book form is one way that people can consume this.
Speaker 1 00:05:06 I was actually really surprised at some of the simple details that you provide in here, because what it ends up being, I mean, you say a book and people go, okay, it’s a book, but you know what, it’s really honestly, it’s a, it’s a how to guide, like all of a sudden you’re thrown into this world and you’re like, Oh my, like, what do I have to be thinking about? And you pick up virtual teams that thrive and you go through it and explain, it really does explain to you why you need to do this, why you’re doing this, because I’m sure that when there, there were people going through this process going, I can’t, this isn’t going to last this long, so I don’t need really need to do this. Why am I doing this? And all of a sudden, Oh my God, I have to do this. But you provide all these really simple steps right down to equipment that you’d want in this book. It’s, it’s quite an excellent how to guy.
Speaker 2 00:05:55 Well, thank you. Yeah, yeah, go ahead. It just evolved that way. It was, what do people need? What do they need to know? Um, and you know, if you are all of a sudden finding yourself as an individual stuck at home, what’s your current reality? And your current reality is probably one where you’ve got, you know, I remember at that point in time, kids were still in school. So you’ve got your spouses who are working kids who were trying to do their, their work. You’re trying to fire up and get Microsoft teams or zoom to work on your computer for the first time ever. And there’s, you can just imagine the stress and maybe the noise as the dog is barking because Amazon just delivered something to you. It was just chaos, absolute chaos. And so, um, we created this framework, Janet, the five P’s of effective virtual teams as an organizing framework to try to cut through that chaos.
Speaker 2 00:06:57 So let’s talk about the piece. What are they? So the first one is physical space. It’s the idea of you have your place to carve out and call your own, and then you want to outfit it and equip it in a way that is comfortable for you to work. So this is with ergonomics in mind with the equipment that you might need to have in mind. Um, and you know, hopefully a room with a door in mind so that you can keep yourself separate from the distractions, which by the way you want the rest of the people in your, your home that you share to be doing the same thing. So everyone has the equivalent of their morning commute, of course, in their socks. It doesn’t matter. It could be 10 steps, but at least they’re getting out of everyone trying to work in the kitchen, which is unfortunately what a lot of people will do.
Speaker 2 00:07:55 And that type of an environment works if you’re at home for a day here and there, but not when you’re going to be at home for months on end or weeks on end. So that’s your physical space. Let me just round out the rest of the five and then you could pepper me with other specifics. So P number two is productivity behaviors. How we do what we do to be as productive as we can. P number three is your processes, but now adapted for the virtual world because a business still has to run. You still have things that you’re are accountable to deliver report that you have to provide, um, updates, et cetera. How do you now do that in a way that you don’t get lost in being in zoom calls all day long, P number four is your performance investment now, and this really means don’t wait until some other time after the pandemic or after your call back or after virtual teams, isn’t a thing any longer, get going now, figuring out what you as a business need to do, how you can support your team or even your personal development type of investment in terms of time and effort to just improve your situation.
Speaker 2 00:09:19 And then P number five, which I think is perhaps the most important is your peace of mind mastery. This is chaotic. You are going crazy at some level. There’s even a thing called COVID brain that I just read an article about Janet, that talks about, you know, we as human or human brain seeks data and information and patterns of a situation that’s happened before, so that you can recognize that and learn from it. As you apply to your current problem solving no one on the planet right now has seen a pandemic like this before. So there’s actual scientific evidence that we are getting tired. We are going a little crazy or our brains are overtaxing because we don’t have a frame of reference for this. So developing methods and skills behind keeping yourself grounded and calm and breaking up your day so that it’s not just work, work, work, work, work, and then you go to bed and wake up the next day and do it again.
Speaker 1 00:10:28 I think the, um, I’ve been working from home for the last couple of years. So, um, adjusting to, to COVID-19 was not a big adjustment for me, except for the fact that there were a lot of people, all of a sudden around, you know, like the neighborhood’s usually pretty quiet. It wasn’t so quiet anymore. Um, the physical space thing I think is really, really important. And you get into a Headspace when you hit that workspace. Don’t you like if you walk into the office and you, you close your door, you sit down in your cubicle or whatever, there’s a Headspace, you hit and you go, okay, I’m officially at work. Now let’s go. That’s right. And you have to create that in your own home. Like you said, while everybody else is doing that. That’s why that physical space for every individual cannot be shared. It has to be different for each one.
Speaker 2 00:11:20 That’s correct. And you know, you just mentioned how, even in your neighborhood where all of a sudden, wow, there’s people all over the place where there weren’t before. Well, that impacts your physical space in that your entire street is now all drawing from the same signal, the same bandwidth, right? So on our street, our Comcast cable line comes up to the front of the house and then it comes into the house and then it’s distributed as a wifi signal. And I’ve, I work from home as do quite frequently, you know, over the past number of years, I’ve had this office space here. I will spend a couple days at a time here. Maybe I’m flying to a client. Maybe I am going to the office, but it’s certainly not uncommon for me to work from home and the performance of the equipment in the wifi speed and the ability to be on a zoom call without any glitches or delays definitely had a step down, meaning meaning worse or backwards. Once everyone on the street was doing the same thing.
Speaker 1 00:12:29 Yeah. I couldn’t do anything after five o’clock, three 30 to five 30, somewhere around there. You could tell that the kids had stopped doing their schoolwork and then they were playing video games or doing whatever. And the bandwidth suck was just like, Oh my goodness, I can’t do anything between three 30 and five 30. So yeah, it is quite surprising. Um, talk to me again about the fifth P
Speaker 2 00:12:55 Peace of mind mastery. So let’s, let’s recognize that we as human beings are not machines, you know, it starts there and if we have a certain task and job to do, and we put our head down and we just grind it out, grind it out, grind it out without giving ourselves any breaks at all, then it may work. Okay. In the short term, we may even push through and get some things done with Herculean effort and celebrate, wow, what a great result, good work, but then burnout. And that’s, that’s the risk here. And the risks are higher because the level of work that we’re doing is almost invisible because it’s so easy. Our commute is 10 steps in our socks, right? It’s not, you know, 30 minutes in the car. And I think the, in the U S anyways, I think the national average of a commute time one way is now greater than 30 minutes.
Speaker 2 00:13:55 So you don’t have that. You were just on your, on, on, on, and it’s easy to have. And when you open up your calendar, you realize, wow, all these people scheduled meeting requests with me, and there’s no space. And so you have to take control and put some space in there. A few of the elements that I really encourage people to do is one, make sure you’re getting some exercise. Now, if that means go for the walk beforehand, do it. If that means, take a break in the middle of the day, do it, or after dinner, whatever it might be. Get some exercise, secondly, get outside. So I happen to like exercising outside, and now I get a two for one. Um, the other thing is, is your community called your family? You know, don’t forget about them. You know, it’s easy to say, Oh yeah, your dad’s tucked away in his office all day long.
Speaker 2 00:14:45 I haven’t, I haven’t seen him. And, you know, I have to admit, there have been times they’re and I, I still remind myself of this and we’ll catch myself where I’ll go on two or three straight days. And I’m like, what have I just done? I didn’t get any exercise. I, you know, I woke up cause we were pushing hard on something. Janet was definitely like that. When we were writing the book, there were pieces of time. I was like, Oh my goodness, I am violating everything I’m writing about. I just spent three days in my office and then we stepped back and correct it. Um, so things like exercising and making sure to have some family time and get outside. There’s some magical thing about being out in nature that helps with your creativity, right? So there’s, there’s data behind while this is a good idea, meditating. It was something that I am absolutely practicing on at least Monday through Friday in the morning, as a way to get grounded and just make sure that I’m not in this constant brain, always on overdrive mode, because that’s where it gets dangerous from a productivity standpoint, burnout standpoint, and even health standpoint.
Speaker 1 00:16:00 I think that daily commute, when you’re, you’re doing that 30 minute drive to and from work, that’s where you, you know, you shut the door on work and then, or home, whichever way you’re going. And you’ve got this kind of, maybe it’s almost like your meditation space, you know, like you’re using because you’re not really, you don’t have to think about anything if you don’t want to, and you can just enjoy the drive. And now we, we lack that. So, um, you have to build your day in a way that gives you those, those little breathing spaces, right?
Speaker 2 00:16:33 Yeah, that’s correct. And I was just, we did a workshop on virtual teams for our client and in the feedback session afterwards, where we were checking in on what worked for you, how, you know, what was the biggest impact? What are some of the takeaways? Here’s what we heard around this topic. We heard, man. I didn’t realize how powerful my commute home was for just that, that decompression. And this is where I would process in my brain. What are all of the things that I have to do or went well or didn’t go well, and that’s gone. Like I don’t have that 30 minutes any longer. And so what, what this person recognized after the workshop is they have to put it in themselves. So it’s about scheduling, like blocking time on your calendar. It’s a meeting with you, it’s your own meeting and you keep it as sacred as you would. One of the other ones, by the way, some of the other releases rock and roll baby, that can be cracked.
Speaker 1 00:17:37 That’s right.
Speaker 2 00:17:39 You know, as a release and then you get home and, you know, because you, you just did that. You just sang at the top of your lungs for three minutes. You can now get out of the car. And the is dissipated somewhat.
Speaker 1 00:17:52 I’m wondering like, presumably there will be a certain, uh, whatever normalicy is that we will go back to. So these, these five PS that you talk about, are they going to apply to people that are at workstations on a factory floor? Or how do you think this, this whole, you know, COVID-19 world is going to roll out in the future for us? And what impact is it going to have?
Speaker 2 00:18:19 Yeah. I love this question, Janet, because the answer is, yes, it does impact even the people who have a job where they go to a location and they’re at their station on a daily basis, you know, production workers who are touching product and turning it into something else, you know, converting. Yes, it’s true. They are at work. They are not at home yet. Here’s how it applies. First of all, members of their team, their extended team, their company are likely to be virtual sometimes, maybe not a hundred percent, but certainly in the old days, everyone’s at job at the job site all the time. So if, if you have a question about the schedule, you page, the scheduler, you have a little team huddle, five people in a circle for five minutes and you resolve the issues and the questions and you’ll, Hey, here’s a quality problem.
Speaker 2 00:19:18 This looks defective. Okay. Let’s contact the supplier and you have all of these discussions live on the fly. Those don’t happen any longer. So you might have a production worker. Who’s, you know, they’re assembling product as always. And they come across this quality issue, that key resource isn’t onsite at this moment potentially. Right? And so now there’s an extra layer of infrastructure and complexity to get in touch with this person who’s virtual. Who’s not onsite. So that’s just illustrating that even though any one person may be onsite or virtual, the reality is the team is not going to be the same intact onsite in person team, as it was before, there will continue to be some level of virtual extended into the future. For who knows how long
Speaker 1 00:20:17 That’s Pete Winiarski, he’s written a book called Virtual Teams That Thrive that clearly defines a path to help leaders and their teams adjust to successfully work and engage outside of the business location. As he just said, working virtually is here indefinitely. So early adaptation is key to your company’s success. Peter has worked in the manufacturing industry and as a consultant throughout his career and the guidance he provides is valuable. He’ll join me again
Speaker 3 00:20:48 Next week. When we talk about how to engage virtually with your shop floor and your customers, I hope you’ll join us. Then you can follow, make it right on Twitter and LinkedIn. And we’d be delighted if you would subscribe and share this podcast with your friends and colleagues through iTunes, Google play, Stitcher, Spotify, and YouTube, the make it right. Podcast is brought to you by Kevin Snook. He’s a leadership advisor and author of the bestselling book, make it right. Five steps to align your manufacturing business from the front line to the bottom line until next time on Janet Eastman. Thanks for listening to Make It Right.