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ACE Blog

Because the mission of ACE is to foster 'Success through Collaboration', the Membership is resolved to promote internal communication and to enable interchange. One effective means to accomplish these objectives is through Blog activity to broaden the audience for thoughts, activities, and successes. 

This forum enables the members to share expertise and learning regarding topics of interest to the consultant community or to call attention to key work and current activities. However, areas of focus and expertise are better displayed in the Member Directory.

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  • September 08, 2021 2:57 PM | Carrie Green (Yardley) (Administrator)


  • August 22, 2021 6:08 PM | Hillary Lister


    Businesses must be prepared for new regulatory requirements, but it can be difficult to stay up-to-date with constant developments. Change comes from many directions, including municipal ordinances, agency rulemaking, federal and state legislation.

    Maine legislators enacted over 500 bills in 2021, with over 400 new pieces of legislation going in effect this October. Rates of regulatory change reached new levels in response to COVID, with rapid modification of municipal policies, legislation, executive orders and department rules. 

    Preparation is Key

    Business viability increasingly depends on whether one is able to effectively adapt to rapidly evolving regulatory requirements.

    Regulations can determine business practices by restricting scope and scale of operations, locations, distribution, packaging, technology, and marketing, expanding recordkeeping, reporting, employment, or licensing standards, mandating updated health and safety practices, and creating penalties for failure to comply with new requirements.

    Uncertainty resulting from rapid change has created significant challenges for small businesses and organizations seeking to maintain balance in constantly shifting regulatory terrain. 

    The first notice many businesses receive of regulatory change comes upon renewing a state or municipal license, with  updated applications listing new reporting requirements, fees, or limitations on operations. With deadlines to meet and little advance planning, businesses must rush when determining how to maintain day-to-day operations. It can take many months to implement changes necessary to maintain compliance.

    Understand Media Limitations

    An increasing number of business owners depend on social media for information on regulatory changes. The telephone-game effect of social media communications can promote a collective misunderstanding of how law-making processes work and of how regulations are implemented. Important details of policy changes are lost in one-line postings.

    Social media portrayals of 2018 federal legislation to revise the classification of hemp drove a gold-rush mentality that resulted in thousands of people investing in large-scale hemp and CBD-production and processing businesses. Most of the new businesses became untenable within a year due to restrictions on the marketing, licensing, and distribution, resulting from federal and state agency rule-making. These mistakes could have been avoided if professional guidance had been obtained prior to making costly business decisions.

    Newspapers, radio, and tv are similarly limited in their ability to provide comprehensive information on regulatory changes. Unless there is an organization with a PR budget promoting or opposing a specific policy change, legislation and rulemaking are rarely featured in mainstream news. Hundreds of regulatory changes each year are adopted while receiving no media coverage, though industry-specific news sources can provide more in-depth coverage of policy changes. 

    Monitor Regulatory Processes

    Business owners are responsible for staying up-to-date on regulations impacting their operations. Monitoring policy developments affecting your business is key to being prepared.

    Most legislative committees and State agencies maintain email lists for interested parties. It is worthwhile to subscribe to lists of committees and agencies developing policies that may impact your business. Department websites (DACF, DAFS, DEP, DOT, DHHS, OSHA, DOE, EPA, FDA, etc.) provide information on agency rule-making processes, though finding specific information can take significant digging and frequent monitoring of the sites for updates. Maine legislativecommittee and agency rulemaking calendars and mailing-lists can be found at

    Think Local

    Municipal ordinance changes can impact day-to-day operations of a business at least as much as federal and state policy revisions. Monitoring calendars and websites of any localities where you are operating can help you stay informed of hearings, committee meetings, and ordinances, though accessibility and timeliness of posted content varies between municipalities.

    Participate in Professional Associations

    Many professional and industry associations provide advocacy on legislation and rulemaking impacting members and valuable updates through newsletters, networking, and workshops. By joining and participating, you can draw organizational attention to concerns about proposed regulations impacting your business that may otherwise go unnoticed.

    Obtain Guidance

    While most large businesses invest in regulatory compliance services and expertise necessary to keep up with evolving government policies, many small businesses are unprepared for new regulatory requirements. The cost of attempting to comply at the last minute with unexpected regulations can be significantly more than the cost of obtaining professional guidance prior to making major business decisions.

    The work necessary to be prepared for regulatory change is time-consuming, but essential for long-term business viability. A regulatory compliance expert knowledgable in local, state, and federal regulatory structures can review current business practices and help you develop a plan to successfully adapt to changing regulations.

    About the Author

    Hillary Lister is a solo practitioner providing professional guidance for small businesses and organizations seeking to effectively navigate Maine's changing regulatory landscape.

    Hillary can be reached at

  • August 09, 2021 4:06 PM | Tove Rasmussen

    To be released soon.

  • July 26, 2021 4:45 PM | Lisa Whited

    Times have changed.  

    Since COVID-19 caused a mass exodus from offices in March 2020, 47% of employees who have been working from home would rather quit than go back to the office full time. However, many employers want their people back in the office – and many bosses want them there five days a week. In what could be a rude awakening for company leaders, 94% of employees say they would like to work remotely 1 to 4 days a week.

    Employees’ resistance to returning to the office is not surprising. People proved that they could be productive while working remotely; money is no longer the only compensation employees expect from employers. They want choice of when and where to work.

    And there are good reasons to change with the times.

    Employees experienced improved productivity while working from home. Prior to the lockdown, primary complaints about the office were 1) noise, 2) constant interruptions and 3) no quiet places to focus to escape distractions. Working from home gave people the peaceful, productive spaces they craved. Of course, not all home working situations are equal – home-schooling parents and employees with roommates did not have quite the same experience.

    Approximately 40% of jobs can be accomplished remotely at least some of the time. Leesman, an organization which measures workspace performance globally, has one of the largest databases on workplace effectiveness and workspace performance. Leesman has data showing that employees ranked their productivity while working at home at 83% whereas they ranked productivity while working in an office at 64% (pre-Covid).

    Most employees indicate they want to spend some time in the shared office – socializing, collaborating, and connecting with colleagues. They believe that the office can better support activities that require learning and brainstorming. The results of a recent client survey showed that 60% of respondents would use the shared office for collaboration and 72% would use their home office for heads-down work. When in the office, 53% indicated they also needed places to focus and do independent work.

    Bricks and mortar aren't all they are cracked up to be.

    Here are some known facts about office space:

    • Before COVID-19 workstations and desks were empty 40% to 60% of the time.
    • Private offices were empty 73% of the time.
    • Commercial buildings contribute 39% to carbon emissions.

    Office spaces are often vacant because many of the tasks performed by knowledge workers allow people to be mobile – they are in meetings, off site with clients, sitting in spaces with colleagues talking and brainstorming, or sitting in a quiet area (when they found one!) using their laptop. Employees no longer need to be tethered to one place in an office and they often welcomed that ability to roam. Employees were instinctively finding their own means of escape, not from work, but from working conditions.

    A possible solution: shared space.

    What do new work habits and empty spaces mean for the role of the office in the future? If employees can embrace the idea of sharing workspaces with other people, then there is a world of possibilities for businesses. Let’s pause right here – because this one idea of sharing desks often opens a tsunami of objections.

    We share many things in our day-to-day lives. We share bus, train, and plane seats. We share library books, church pews, restaurant tables and shopping carts. In our homes if we live with others, we share kitchens, bathrooms and living rooms. In our offices we share meeting rooms, lunchrooms, and restrooms. There are four things we never share: our toothbrush, our bed pillow, our cellphone, and our desk.

    Once we recognize that we do not need to have a workstation assigned to us, and if we are provided a variety of spaces to choose to work from (including private focus rooms in the office, window seats, sit/stand desks, library zones, lounge areas, and home offices) then we can reimagine a workplace that has a smaller footprint, and allows us to better connect and collaborate with colleagues.

    Having a desk assigned to you in 2021 is not sustainable. It is as crazy as expecting the supermarket to provide you a shopping cart with your name on it for your use only. I hear the cries of, “What about the photos of my family?” and “I want to personalize my surroundings!”

    Your family and friends matter, of course, but how about putting their photos on your screensaver? You want to express your personality? Awesome – create a personality wall that includes images and information about all of your coworkers in a space where more can view it (this expression can be physical, and it can be digital).

    We know that 80% of people worldwide are not engaged in their work (Gallup Poll). Research shows that connection to purpose is an intrinsic human motivator. It may not be glaringly apparent where you are employed, but you are part of a company that is working hard to make a difference for others. The vision and mission of the organization that you are devoting your waking hours to should inspire you and make you feel like you are contributing to that goal. This is why installing story walls in an office is such a great way to provide a visual reminder for anyone in the space. Story walls are not “brag” walls to attract clients and customers; they are creative expressions of how the company is making a difference with its work – illustrating the organizational values and purpose – and exist solely to inspire employees.

    Less space translates to lower cost and a smaller carbon footprint.

    Remote work can result in significant overhead savings for businesses. A global insurance company recently determined that it could save 82% of its real estate expense by embracing hybrid work and downsizing its real estate portfolio. As commercial buildings contribute so much to carbon emissions, both in their construction and in their operation, using less space can also be good for the planet.

    Imagine this: an office that is beautiful, one-half to two-thirds the size of its previous version, and where people leave the space at the end of the day feeling more energized and engaged than when they arrived. Envision a business that exceeds profitability projections, has its highest retention and engagement numbers, and contributes to achieving a net zero outcome.

    That stuffed bear collection on your office bookcase? Sorry, that needs to go. Not only is it collecting dust, but wouldn’t a little kid somewhere in the world benefit from having a lovable stuffy?

    Rethinking the purpose of the office can engage employees, build community, and improve your bottom line. Now is the time to create the world of work that is better for the planet and great for people.

    #   #   #

    Lisa Whited is founder and chief transformation officer of Workplace Transformation Facilitation based in Portland, Maine. She is also a senior associate for Advanced Workplace Associates, a global workplace change management consultancy, based in the UK. Lisa’s first book, “Work Better. Save the Planet will be published in the summer of 2021.

    Find links to Lisa’s presentationsBuild Community and Drive Innovation with Remote Work” (Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce Growth Basics for Business, June 2020). “Is the Hybrid Work Model a Sustainable Model?” (WorkInSync, July 2021).   Check back for a link to her ACE presentation last month.

    Lisa will participate in a panel on The Modern Workplace August 25, 2021 at the MaineBiz Small Business Forum.

  • May 17, 2021 1:06 PM | Carrie Green (Yardley) (Administrator)

    coming soon.

  • February 24, 2021 3:49 PM | Carrie Green (Yardley) (Administrator)

    In the age of virtual meetings, no one seems to think twice about hitting the record button. When a recording captures a prepared presentation, though, it is important to respect the author/presenter’s copyright in the material.

    What is a copyright?  A copyright is a legal right granting the creator of an original work exclusive rights for its use and distribution.  Note the plural: a copyright is not a single right; it is a bundle of rights.  The owner of the copyright has the rights to:  

    Copy the work

    Distribute the work

    Display the work

    Perform the work; and

    Adapt the work.

    These rights are independent.  If an author gives someone the right to copy a long passage from a book, that does not mean that the author has granted them right to distribute the copy, to read it aloud to an audience, to set it to music, or to hang it on a wall.  Each of these would require separate permission from the author.

    What is a Creator?  

    Every time an original work takes on a new form, the person transforming the work becomes a creator for purposes of copyright. A performance is considered a new “original” work, even though it is derived from the work of another author. The same is true of a recording of the performance.  The performance and the recording are both considered “derivative works,” a term of art in copyright law.  The original author controls who can make derivative works.

    Therefore, authors are creators, presenters are creators, and recorders are creators.  They have copyrights as follows:

    The author of the speech has copyright in the speech.
    The presenter has copyright in the performance.

    The recorder has copyright in the recording.

    What does this mean to creators of derivative works, such as presenters and recorders?

    Practically speaking, the author of the presentation must agree that the presenter can perform it.  The author and the presenter must agree to record.  The distributor (often the organizer) must have permission from the author, presenter, and recorder to distribute.  

    Internet Realities. 

    Content can now be captured, edited, and distributed with a few keystrokes.   New content is always in demand. There’s a lot of unlicensed content floating around the internet, being linked, copied and pasted with reckless abandon.  

    We won’t explore the ins and outs of working with highly compensated speakers – they have agents for that.  However, it is not that difficult to stay on the right side of copyright law if you are an organizer, nor is it particularly difficult to exercise reasonable control over your content if you are an author or presenter. 

    Real World Advice.

    Remember that once content hits the internet, it is very hard to get the genie back in the bottle, and this is where you need to focus.   The last thing presenters and organizers want is viral infamy, so it is in everyone's interest to agree what content will be uploaded, and how it will look before clicking “Post.”

    • Talk about the issues up front.  At most local business presentations, the speech's author is also the presenter.  The organizer and the presenter should always have a candid conversation about how the content will be used.  Most speakers will agree to recording, but increasingly they want to know where it will be posted, and how it might be edited.  They may want to know if the organizer intends to charge for access, or if access is limited, who it will be limited to. 
    • Be proactive.  Presenters: If you show slides, brand them.  If you provide downloadable material, brand it.  If you present from a remote location, brand your background.  Organizers:  Think about co-branding.
    • Write it down.  Many organizers have a standard presenter contract. It should cover recording and distribution rights, revenue sharing, co-branding requirements, etc.  Frequent presenters should have their own standard agreement.  If your primary motivation is to get your name in front of new audiences, and not money, your contract can be straightforward and unintimidating.  Think about how you want audiences to see you and make sure you retain reasonable control. 
    • Be flexible.  Both creating the presentation and getting it ready for distribution are hard work.  Appreciate the contributions of your better half.  Do not automatically reject requests because they are not your usual deal.  You might pick up some ideas you’ve never thought of.  A mentor once told me that “every deal is an opportunity to review your forms.”   
    • Content is valuable.  Presenters should ask for copies of the recording for a copy of the recording, and for permission to recycle it as a derivative work for your own purposes.

  • February 08, 2021 1:31 PM | Rick Pollak

    How to Eliminate Zoom Gloom

    Virtual meetings don’t have to be boring. Concise and compelling content is what captures and keeps the attention of a remote audience. This blog post will show you successful strategies to run virtual meetings that leave the participants energized instead of exhausted.

    Two of the major causes of Zoom gloom are:

    1. Lack of direction
    2. Content overload

    Here’s how you can improve both the management and presentation content of your remote video meetings.

    A Made in Maine Success Story

    Marty Grohman and Adelaide Taylor at the Environmental & Energy Technology Council of Maine (E2Tech) have successfully pivoted from in-person meetings to virtual events. Their expertise in hosting live events with multiple panelists and Q & A sessions helps them plan virtual meetings that keep their audience engaged.  

    E2Tech meetings have multiple speakers in multiple locations. To avoid communications glitches, they plan practice rounds with each speaker using the setup they’ll be using during the meeting. The speakers also rehearse sharing their slides to prevent surprises the day of the event.

    Marty and Adelaide also coach their speakers on how to become effective remote presenters. They make sure presenters have their webcam at eye level, their phones muted, and their pets and kids far away from the camera and microphone.

    Their advance direction results in virtual sessions that replicate the “buzz in the room” of their live events.

    How to Declutter Your Virtual Presentations

    Direction isn’t enough to cure boring presentations. The secret to giving an interesting virtual talk is to distill everything you want to say into just what needs to be said. Cutting the information clutter and making your point quickly and concisely will engage your audience more effectively than asking poll questions or asking for “thumbs up” emojis. 

    Your slides need to be visually appealing and easy to understand. Putting only one idea on a slide is a good way to keep your audience engaged. Showing a barrage of boring bullet points on a single slide will tempt your remote audience to check their e-mail or head to the fridge. Once you lose their attention, you’ll have a hard time getting it back.

    When I’m coaching speakers for TEDx talks or business presentations, I ask them to define their big idea and call to action (CTA). Here are two questions to ask yourself or your speakers to help structure a compelling talk:

    1. If you just had one thing to tell the audience, what would it be?
    2. When you finish your presentation, the audience will (fill in the blank)

    Once you’ve determined your big idea and CTA, the next step is to work the three “cons” into your presentation.

    Connection, Context, and Contrast

    Here’s how to use connection, context, and contrast (the three “cons”) to develop a presentation that makes your audience care, remember, and act.

    Connection is an effective way to give your audience a reason to care. When you explain “what’s in it for me” from their point of view, you’re letting them know you understand and care about their situation. When your material focuses on the audience instead of yourself, you’ll build trust and get them to remember and care about your big idea.

    Context is a powerful tool that helps your audience understand your big idea. Using analogies and metaphors that reference a concept familiar to the audience are a good way to explain your material. When Steve Jobs announced the Apple iPod, he didn’t mention the size of the unit or the number of gigabytes in the hard drive. Saying “a thousand songs in your pocket” was a successful use of context to explain his big idea and get people excited enough to follow his CTA to buy the music player.

    Contrast and context are a dynamic duo. Once you’ve established context, you can use contrast to differentiate your solution from the status quo. The stronger the contrast you show between before and after, or with and without, the higher the probability the audience will follow your call to action. If your contrast isn’t compelling, chances are they won’t act on your big idea. Presentation materials (slides and stories) that effectively contrast your big idea with the status quo will help convince the audience that following your CTA will help them achieve their goals.

    Are you using all three “cons” when you’re presenting? Are the speakers in the meetings you’re running connecting with the audience and using context and contrast to explain their big idea?

    Your Call to Action

    There’s a lot you can do to eliminate Zoom gloom. Using the strategies in this blog post will help you run virtual meetings that engage your participants. If you provide direction and help speakers declutter their content, you’ll end up with a smooth-running virtual meeting with clear, concise, and convincing presentations.

    Rick Pollak is the founder of Presentation Medic, a consulting company specializing in curing boring virtual presentations. He coaches speakers for TEDx talks, executive presentations, and technical workshops. Rick is a member of ACE, and president of ACE’s sister organization, Boston-based Society of Professional Consultants. He can be reached at

  • December 28, 2020 2:16 PM | Tom Renehan

    Why is it important for the leaders and managers in any organization to use coaching as part of their leadership style? There are a growing number of organizational leaders who recognize the importance of coaching in their companies. They see that effective coaching by leaders at all levels will empower, engage and develop employees. According to a 2016 survey by the Human Capital Institute the business case for a strong coaching culture is higher employee engagement and higher revenues.

    What Will Prohibit a Coaching Culture?

    Many will tell you that they do not have the time to be a coach. The red flag here is your managers are telling you they do not have the time for the people for whom they are responsible. If managers do not have time for employees, they (employees) know and feel it which can lead to a disengaged team. Another reason is the lack of accountability. If the leaders of an organization want a coaching culture they need to:

        Develop the skills themselves.

      Provide professional development for all leaders to learn coaching skills.

      Hold all accountable to use the skills (hint, put it on their personal     development plan).

    In other words, one just cannot say we want a coaching culture and expect it to happen. Finally, some leaders or managers will not be able to add coaching skills to their leadership style. Effective leaders would take appropriate action as their company permits for these non-responding individuals.

    What Are Coaching Skills?

    The International Coaching Federation (ICF) has identified eleven skills to be an effective coach. Some top skills are, establishing trust, asking powerful questions, being open, flexible and confidant and practice active listening.

    For the leaders and associates establishing trust will be the foundation for a solid coach/coachee relationship. Leaders build trust by being honest and supportive, show the team that you genuinely care about them and by being competent. This will promote open communication and constructive feedback for both.

    A leader who is asking powerful questions is helping associates discover their own insights. Asking open ended questions to get the other party to speak and being comfortable with dead air (allow time for responses) are both good practices for effective questioning. Powerful questions are simple but meaningful and should always have a purpose. Michael Bungay Stanier author of The Coaching Habit focuses on seven questions leaders can use to help their teams.

    The Kickstart Question: What’s on your mind?

    The Awe Question: And what else?

    The Focus Question: What’s the real challenge here for you?

    The Foundation Question: What do you want?

    The Lazy Question: How can I help?

    The Strategic Question: If you’re saying “yes” to this, to what are you saying “no”?

    The Learning Question: What was most useful for you?

    A leader who is open and flexible is showing employees that their way is not the only way. In other words, these leaders are receptive to other thoughts and ideas and they do not have to have all the answers.

    Great listening skills are essential for a coach! Many of us have learned that active listening is making eye contact, nodding and appropriate responses show you are engaged in the conversation. In addition, great listeners will ask clarifying questions to promote understanding. This will create a deeper conversation and result in the associates feeling that they have been heard.

    Coaching Culture Conclusion.

    Implementing a coaching culture, like any cultural change, will take time. The senior leaders must invest in the employee’s development with the appropriate training. All stakeholders must be held accountable. Senior leaders need to walk the talk and become coaches themselves, all leaders in the organization need to be held accountable to practice the coaching skills they have learned and employees must own the coaching the receive.

    Over time in your organization, you will see that the leaders will understand the difference between coaching, which will empower people to find their way and directing, which will require specific actions.

    Tom Renehan, of Tom Renehan Coaching and Leadership Development, is a Certified Professional Coach working with individuals and groups to improve their leadership skills. He is also certified in Leadership Effectiveness 360, an assessment that measures 22 leadership behaviors. He can be reached at  He is based in Yarmouth, Maine.

  • December 14, 2020 11:46 AM | Francis Eberle

    What’s happened to creativity?

    A client asked me, “Our team has settled into the routine using video for meetings, although everyone seems to be either tired or a little irritable. They are productive, but what can I do to get their creativity back?”

    Productivity is good, isn’t it? Some studies have shown that video meetings can be more productive than face-to-face meetings.  Virtual work skills – managing media-based interactions, establishing communication norms, building social rapport, and demonstrating cooperation – enhance trust within teams and increase performance.

    Where’s the disconnect?   Work gets done, but the team lacks energy or creativity. Team members are not engaged.

    The root of the problem.

    Two factors are at play.  First, the human connection is missing.  Video meetings jump right into the task without socializing. There are no greetings, chit chat, physical taps to say “Hi,” or side conversations before and after the meetings.  There’s sensory deprivation:  no smell of coffee, perfume or even body odor.
    Second, the physical environment never changes.  Those quirky human interactions, and “time away” from our work areas create mental space to clear the mind.  Creativity jumps into that space.

    Productivity isn’t everything.

    Creativity is important.  Today’s challenges are both complicated and complex.  Technical challenges are complicated, but their solutions are linear.  Complex challenges are multidimensional; they are messy, unstable, unpredictable, and ill-defined. They require strategic and innovative thinking, and the solutions cannot be found in a straight line, requiring multiple people or organizations.   They require creativity.

    Connected leadership is a term I use to describe sharing and engaging others as leaders.  Connected leadership facilitates innovation, creativity, and develops new interactions and wide-ranging ideas.  Diverse teams are better teams.  As a leader knowing when to step up and when to step back and let others lead begins to allow for more thinking from others. 

    Several recent studies by Google3, ADP, and Gallup have found that when people in teams are engaged, they are more productive, more creative, and happier.

    Hacks to promote creativity and engagement.

    Thinking differently builds resilience, flexibility, learn and be creative; these are all good for business.  These skills of the future can be developed.  

    Preparing agendas for different types of interaction requires different planning. Mix up meetings so not all have the same level or kind of interaction. Interactive meetings are more inclusive and engaging for all members of a team.  And that encourages creativity.

    Here are some things you can do to promote creativity on your team in video meetings. 

    1.      Simplify the Number of Digital Tools. Stick with one or two platforms to minimize glitches.   Learn them well.   Resist the allure of new technology; your team members will thank you if they do not have to learn a new platform every few months. 

    2.      Individual AND Group Brainstorming.  Group brainstorming is over-rated.  Individuals can be more effective than groups in generating new idea, if you give them time to think. Have your team members brainstorm individually before a meeting and bring their ideas to the meeting.  Start with the full list of ideas, brainstorm some more, then prioritize them.  Seek contribution from all of the members of the team.

    3.      Create Opportunities to Connect.  Remember you are working with humans, and humans need to connect. Design a variety of groupings, breakouts, of people.  Let them be together for enough time to express their ideas and to chat.  Bring them back, discuss the ideas.  Send the ideas back to the groups. Mix them up to discuss if time allows.  

    4.      Encourage Transition Space. Provide transition time between meetings. End them early.  Don’t meet on Fridays.  Take lunch breaks away from screens.  Encourage team members to make a clean break from the work day.  Rather than respond to email, suggest that they “commute” back to personal time by doing what they need to distinguish personal time from work: cooking, spending time with family, yoga.  Let them know it’s fine to take a walk around or go outside and walk if time allows. They shouldn’t feel compelled to stay glued to their screens; they can stand up and walk away from their workspaces when they feel stale.

    5.      Loosen up. The possibilities are endless:  costumes, screen shots of silly faces, stories of embarrassing moments of video calls.  I saw a photo of a leader wearing h a funny hat and expression; it became a team meme – with stickers.

    6.      Adjust Timelines.  Spread sessions over several days so the team can think about the task between sessions. Rather than strive for 100% productivity, understand that some tasks take longer without face-to-face communication.

    7.      Diverge and Converge.  Zooming in and out is great for planning and thinking about strategy or goals.  Zoom out for a couple of sessions.  Ask “What else?” at least three times. Then rank the ideas for as a way to solve the problem.  Take the top three and zoom in.  Focus on each idea and explore it in depth.  If one seems best, zoom out again to predict the larger implications of the idea to the company, customers, and partners.

    For more about creativity and team dynamics contact

    Read more about connected leadership in my new book:  Connected Leadership, engaging your workforce to lead themselves. Aloha Publishers.

    Further reading:

    Dulhigg, Charles and Graham, James. “What Google Learned From Its Quest to Build the Perfect Team,” NewTimes Company, 2016.

    Ferrazzi, Keith. (2014). Getting Virtual Teams Right. Harvard Business Review. December.

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