3 Rules for Leading Remote Teams with Agility and Purpose

As is true for just about everyone these days, the past several weeks have been a time of rapid transitions, brainstorming, problem solving, reflections – and an unprecedented volume of video conferences. The other day, I was struck by a realization that I wanted to share.

Most of the calls and emails I’m on with new customers these days start out with one core need: how fast can we get our call center teams moved off-site and set up to work from home? But often – very often – the conversations tend to morph into a broader worry. Senior leaders aren’t just concerned with the multiple, serious factors involved in managing remote inbound customer care teams.

No, they’re noticing that they, themselves, are feeling disconnected from their teams. They, themselves, miss the way things worked before this coronavirus came along. There is the desire to use technology and new processes in order to reclaim the engagement and the momentum.

When I came across this very thoughtful Forbes piece by David Nour, I thought it did a great job of outlining the long-term payoffs, as well as the necessary processes, for leading highly effective, remote teams, at every level of the organization.

Nour cites 3 critical steps that remote team leaders need to take if they want to truly maintain – and build on – an engaged team that delivers to its full potential: Lead Purpose-Led Briefings; Capture a Clear Vision and the Path to Get There; and always Lead with a Narrative.

If you’d like to learn more about how Skybridge Americas can help you figure out ways to transition your inbound customer care operation to remote teams of at-home agents, please reach out. We would love to talk!

Leading Remote Teams With Agile Alignment

By David Nour

How to visually engage a capable yet distracted and quietly disillusioned remote team.

For many remote team leaders, amid all the uncertainty, one organizational attribute is abundantly apparent – many have incredibly capable teams. The critical task for leaders will be to uncover how to harness their full potential when the team is distracted due to the blurring lines between their professional roles and personal obligations.

With enduring shelter-at-home government orders, the kids are not going back to a physical school anytime soon, making every parent’s role as a teacher, disciplinarian, and the headmaster all in one more encompassing than the day before. More restaurants are closing, making all of us experimental chefs. Safe recreation options other than digital streaming are limited, with the bonus of now becoming IT/Cable/Fiber/Wi-Fi tech support. Oh yeah, the chores must also go on.

We’re all participating in countless online daily meetings and webinars from various zoned off corners of the house in makeshift offices. We’re taking shifts with our working spouses at times less likely for our personal space to be invaded by the screaming kids and the barking dogs while struggling to maintain a fleeting sense of normalcy in our work. As the crisis endures for the foreseeable future, and none of us can walk down the hall to ask a colleague, clarify that vital initiative by our managers, and continue to face multi-faceted uncertainty, we’re ripe to feel like we’re working in a petri dish. Not the virus one, but one of diminishing leadership, increasingly overbearing micromanagement of the seemingly mundane tasks, and the need for headlamps to navigate the darkness of organizational ambiguity and next steps.

Here is the icing on the cake: most corporate strategies became obsolete when the global economy shut down last month!

There is no playbook for our current market dynamics, and the CO19 virus is an impetus to reimagine, reinvent, and reinvigorate the next version of your business model. I’ve long believed that a strong economy masks a significant number of organizational flaws and leadership shortcomings. What was a luxury just a couple of weeks ago, has suddenly become a necessity.

Remote team leaders need mission-critical strategy alignment, so they can more effectively delegate, improve team productivity, and mitigate risk (e.g., stop misalignment from happening). Organizations need profitable revenues, reskilled/redeployed talent, and an enduring brand amid and post-crisis.

The unprecedented speed of this global pandemic is creating sustained organizational shock and uncertainty. Learnings, shared internally, broadly distributed, will be vital to restoring, growing, and improving your footprint vs. weaker competitors.

Here is one way to combat continually shifting priorities and confusing messages from remote leaders: Agile Alignment.

Here is an example: Physical distancing will not negate our need to receive both items and others into our safe spaces. Deliveries and services into our homes, offices, places of worship, cars, and other sites we hold sacred must evolve. In the illustration below, you can see five ideas – from protecting your workforce, elevating the safety of your infrastructure, use of wearables and technology, pre- and post-delivery web meeting, and shared learnings with both internal as well as a broader community.

Speed and agility matter more than ever before. In over 50 conversations with senior executives in the past month, I’ve discovered that many continue to rely on lists, PowerPoint slides, or merely asking their remote teams to prioritize a set of directives. Here is the challenge – as those leaders attempt to cascade those priorities down to their respective teams, I can’t help but wonder, how much of it is getting lost in translation?

Read the entire article here >

Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Skybridge Americas

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