High level view

What can’t be seen at (remote) naked eye

Call To Details — Dec 2020

Working from home may be a new trend that many of us dreamed of without knowing exactly what it means in terms of productivity or how to maintain healthy work habits. This is a huge challenge when talking about professional services performed by large teams for long periods.


The pandemic situation brings to us an opportunity to rethink our way of working, finding alternative methods to communicate and collaborate, reducing the waste on commuting time and some excesses on-office chatting.

Many concerns around working from home indefinitely are related with long-term impact on creativity, innovation, client engagement, quality, and most important on client’s inhibition to perceive the “details” that maters – acting as a real threat to project acceptance and closing.

This article is not intended to impose recipes or even to establish rules of how to survive on this new paradigm (even as transitory) – but share some ideas that can help to be better prepared to involve others, to better see what can’t be seen alone, at home.

"The devil is in the details” sounds cliché, but in this case, a wise one!  Small details can influence everything. Certain people (ours and client's) are pivotal in specific moments because of their attention to details. The impact of keep them silent is very serious!

We may think that blurred video calls and distorted voices are the main reason why some introvert people tend to stay apart… but this is not the major factor. Accepting their silence is.

Like in face-to-face gatherings, some people tend to dominate remote meetings and surely monopolize discussions, flattering diversity. Many of us are not used to intervene in monologue sequences, as many virtual meetings tend to be. Numbness is real and causes a great loss perspective and attention to details.

The challenge is how to turn everyone better listeners and capable to synthesize ideas in virtual interactions, where alternative communication capabilities aren’t easily accessible – like express ideas in a whiteboard.

To adapt to this new reality, what if we try simple behaviour changes in every virtual meeting, maybe things become different. For example, what if "Each person had to intervene at least a couple of times” or “To speak again, each person had to wait for, at least, two other people to speak". These are two small examples of how to push people to participate in a meeting or workshop.

But… how to step up to the next level? This is where something I heard some months ago comes in – Liberating Structures  – exhibiting a very inspiring mantra: “Include and unleashing everyone”.

“When people feel included and engaged, do a better job and as teams produce much better results. Best ideas often come from unexpected sources!” can be read from their website, presenting a structured way to embrace the challenge of participation.

“More conventional structures (presentations, status reports, open discussions, brainstorming) are too inhibiting, loose and disorganized to creatively engage people in shaping their perspective. They frequently generate feelings of frustration and exclusion, failing to provide space for different ideas”.

The concept offers an alternative way to approach how people work together. It provides a menu of thirty-three Liberating Structures to replace or complement conventional practices.

This may help everyone’s listening and participate more often in meetings and look for diversity. More perspective and attention to details will arise for sure.

Be aware of what cannot be seen at the "remote naked eye" and blurs the client's perception of delivered value. Don't forget that clients are experiencing the same adaptation challenges as we do.