Bill Gates says, “I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other...” At the Veterans Affairs Innovation Initiative (VAi2), how we communicate within our team drives success. VAi2 is a flat organization – instead of a rigid, hierarchical one – comprised of an adaptable team. It is not uncommon for staff, including leadership, to share and trade duties in this high velocity environment.
The VAi2 team uses three open communication pathways to make it all work on a daily, weekly, and as needed basis:
- Daily Scrum: Adapting a concept from the “agile” method of software development, our team convenes every morning for 30 minutes to conduct an all hands check-in called “scrum.” This round-robin sequence is designed to give everybody on the team an opportunity to say what they accomplished yesterday, what they plan to accomplish today, and what they need help with from other members on the team. The Director of VAi2 leads the conversation and keeps our team on the same page.
- Weekly Sync: Every Monday, the VAi2 team gathers for a roundtable discussion called “sync” for an in-depth 90-minute staff meeting about the week’s priorities or future upcoming objectives across the VAi2 program areas.
- ‘Face-time’: Not the Apple widget, but rather actual in-person time with our Director outside these team meetings provide critical opportunities to obtain support, guidance, or on-the-fly problem solving whenever necessary. The team has access to the Director’s online calendar and can schedule time to meet with him, or he will drop in for opportunities to engage VAi2 staff when opportunities – or crises – arise.
These three methods help generate success within our organization because open communication – with deliberate structure where possible – is effective. Has your team found other ways to create open communications?
(Image via STILLFX / Shutterstock.com)