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“Win the day!”

“Win the day!”

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A couple of years ago, my son was struggling in high school. Things weren’t going his way, or at least as he expected. I wanted to encourage him in a way that was simple, repeatable. and relatable. He played football, and we’d often spoken about how his coaches emphasized that winning the game starts with winning the play. One play at a time. So, I adapted it – focusing instead on the day.

I started texting him, “Win the Day!” every morning, and it resonated. He says it’s become a thing for him and his friends.

Winning the day is not so much an outcome as it is about suiting up and showing up each day with a presence to move forward despite the circumstances. It’s about heart and commitment. And the character to do the next right thing despite predictability and even vulnerability.

We are facing similar challenges in our work, trying to stay focused and positive with a barrage of news, often bad and some tragic. More than ever we must win the day with our colleagues and teams.

Moving fast is critical to winning the day.

A good friend of mine is a Property Management SVP with a health care commercial real estate company. Like many, her team had to move fast to a remote-work environment, a first for her company. Realigning to realities of the “COVID Economy,” they adopted technology the company had never or rarely used before including Zoom, Smartsheet (a project management platform), Survey Monkey, and Slack (a messaging tool).

The emphasis was on simplicity and agility. The new tools were launched within days, and they found creative ways to adapt the technology to their operating requirements, and to support employees in the current environment.

Stay in touch, work smarter, and live the company values.

The company initiated a multi-faceted approach with a primary focus on three areas: communication, productivity, and culture.

Communication

They immediately initiated a daily all-hands huddle using Zoom, emphasizing personal wellbeing, issues encountered, opportunities and developments, with “lots of screen sharing.” They also hold weekly 1:1 meetings and town halls for company updates. Teams were asked to appear live on their video conferences to enhance the sense of presence, personalization, and collegiality. To gather feedback and suggestions from the team, anonymously, they use Survey Monkey.

Productivity

The team adopted Smartsheet and re-purposed the software-provided COVID-19 template, turning it into an efficient portal for all things crisis-related. They also created an online dashboard for summary updates and for housing the most important information including resources, projects, invoices, reports, legal opinions and articles, and news links.

Culture

Company leadership made workforce safety and health a priority. They put a buddy system in place to provide a safe outlet for discussing issues, unencumbered by the limitations often imposed by reporting relationships and peer dynamics.

The team also needed water cooler talk. Slack was implemented to allow for informal team communication. Multiple channels were created for things like celebrating daily victories and providing educational links for kids. The team has fun too, exchanging humorous memes, jokes, and stories. There’s an agreement about judgement – no one is viewed as “goofing off on Slack.”

“The crisis has bonded them.”

Results to date? The team is closer than ever. My friend estimates that productivity has increased by 20% over pre-COVID levels. She attributes this to their speed in leveraging technology to enhance communications, improve efficiency, and enable shared values at work. This empowers their team to win every day.

I have texted “Win the day!” to my son every morning for the past two years. Its daily encouragement is a reminder for him and for me. During this pandemic I hope we all find ways to win the day.

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