The world’s best tool for remote leadership
Yesterday, I gave a presentation in the Netherlands for a group of HR managers from some big multinationals. The subject I spoke about was ‘leadership and organisation for distributed teams’. Here’s a link to the slideshare presentation.
One of the questions that the group had was how to lead a remote team. How do you create engagement, alignment with the longer term goals and vision, how do you create team spirit. The key I found for this is the one page strategic plan from Gazelles. In this plan, you create a full plan that covers long term objectives (mission, BHAG in 25 years, values) into quarterly action plans. By creating this plan together as a team (in a conference call involving everyone, remote and local), you go through the fundamentals. We do this every year for the year planning. Every quarter we go through alignment on the quarterly and yearly goals. Each week, we do a one hour call to discuss progress on our quarterly goals (everyone has a weekly plan with clear deliverables for the week). And each day we talk for 5-10 minutes to align on the weekly progress. The most important question in the daily is ‘are you stuck’ > by discussing this, nobody will say by the end of the week ‘I didn’t complete my week plan because blah blah blah’. Stucks are removed right away every day.
To support our quarterly and weekly planning, we have created a shared google sheet. In that, we have a kpi dashboard showing operational metrics; and we have company rocks for the quarter. Those are then translated to individual accountability plans for each manager. My own plan is my roadmap all through the day; I look at it to see what I need to focus on from moment to moment. If you’re interested, I can share the google sheet as an empty template with you, just drop me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
One objection I heard from the group is ‘how do you deal with the resistance on having so many meetings’. That’s a tough one. I don’t like meetings myself. I prefer to do no meetings at all and just get my stuff done. But I have learned that if I don’t align with the others, people get stuck and work on stuff that doesn’t matter or do things that someone else already did. I can’t imagine living without that alignment anymore. Especially since I don’t see my colleagues around the office. The only talk time I have is my scheduled weekly and daily calls.
To get a deeper understanding of the one page plan and the rockefeller habits method, I highly recommend Verne Harnish’ book.
I will share some more insights on organisation in my next post. If you want to stay up to date on remote team management, click here to receive regular tips and best practices.