I gave my team a benefit that I hoped would make their lives a little more relaxed, what I didn’t know was that it would change the fundamental operations of my business and increase our productivity tenfold.
We use a VA service called, Magic. I told my team they each had a certain number of hours allocated to have Magic do whatever they needed, personally or professionally. Since my team came from a VA background, I figured it was a no-brainer.
They were grateful but not engaged.
It was probably because their experience was on the receiving end; taking instructions, rather than giving them.
When I invited Magic to join our team Slack channel, everything changed.
Team members posted their requests in the channel, Magic responded, shit got done. It was all stuff my team can certainly do, but any of these tasks were better left to someone else, who could do them faster and more cost efficiently.
Once the process became transparent, other team members started to request things from Magic.
First, It was a visual illustration of what tasks could be outsourced and how to ask for it in the clearest possible manner.
But the game changer for us, was that the requests allowed every team member to see what projects other team members were working on and where they were in the process at any given time, based entirely on what they were asking Magic to do.
We’re a 100 percent remote team. So I can’t run down to Courtney’s office to see where the new course syllabus is, but I can look to see what she’s asked Magic to help with its proofreading and I find my answer, without annoying Courtney (who went to West Point and does not like to be annoyed).
It’s a big, fluid, virtual notice board in the virtual breakroom that allows everyone to see everything.
My team had to learn how to ask, and what to ask, to see what was possible, that was the first step. Now, after just two weeks of the system in place, we have broken our bottleneck, and everyone is free to pursue the projects that inspire them, not get frustrated with the prospect of handling too many things they’d rather not.
So we’ve hacked an external communication system (Magic) with our internal process (Slack) and now communication is a transparent team experience and project management just got a whole lot smoother.