How to Set the Exact Goals with your Remote team that Fuels Success and Stability

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So maybe you have tapped out your current hiring pool from the city you live in and there is no new talent there or maybe you have kind of built your payroll to a point where it is not sustainable to keep growing but you still want to keep building new stuff.
There are a lot of benefits of hiring people from different parts of the world. The first benefit is that you can obviously take advantage of the reduced cost structure. The second thing which is just as fascinating and valuable is the day parting. This basically means that you can ask people on your team to do work and projects and when you wake up, they have moved along so you can get a review. That alone will get you on a 24-hour cycle if you do it right and could add tremendous value to your business.


1. Focus on the results: Instead of wondering what somebody is working on minute to minute or hour by hour, what you should do is get right to the endpoint. What is the task that you are asking this person to do looks like when it is all done? This is called the definition of done. That definition is very descriptive. The more you can be descriptive of what it looks like when it is done, then you can step back and just allow the person to then decide how they are going to get it accomplished. That is the big difference when you shift from in-house where you sit down and help somebody shape the path to getting a completion of a project versus saying here is what it looks and stepping back and allowing them to essentially commit to a timeline and then hold them to that accountability. That works way better in a distributed team than for people typically in an office that can communicate at a higher frequency.

2. Rhythm meetings: Set daily and weekly meeting rhythms. One of the challenges, when you are in an office, is that you are always talking and communicating. So, the rhythm of information flows really naturally and it eliminates the need of structured meetings but one of the most valuable things that you could ever do is not only add a weekly meeting, but also a daily standup. If you have remote teams, setting up daily or weekly meetings could help you understand what they did yesterday and what they are going to do today. As the manager, you also need to ensure that your team members are not blocked and if they are blocked, you should be able to remove that block. So setting up a daily and weekly meeting rhythm is key.

3. Company off-sites: If you have a team that’s used to working together in the same room, then it is hard to see the value of this, but as you build your distributed team and you have around a dozen of people working in different cities. At least once a year, ideally twice, get those people together and go to a work vacation. There you can really bond with the team and brainstorm ideas over some beverages. These sessions ignite productivity and help the organization to plan for the future. These off-sites are critical to creating what is called entanglement around the ideas and the way people work. Even if they have been remote, bringing them together to allow that entanglement to happen is important to fuel stability.

4. Collaboration software: As your remote team grows, you should create a structure so that you can collaborate with people. This can be easily done by using a project management software so that everybody has a clear understanding of what the workload looks like, what’s coming up next month and so on and so forth. Having software or tools that allow you to do video conferencing like Skype, is really powerful. What this allows for you to do is see everybody’s faces. You just have to find a time zone that works for everybody and that way, there is a real sense of reporting. You can know what they did the day before and what they are planning on doing today or whether they are stuck. Software in today’s world has enabled us to build our teams in a distributed way. So be sure to invest in software around video chat and project management. These are all really important infrastructure pieces to allow you to manage that distributed team.

5. One on one meetings: This could be done for your direct reports or for your managers to manage with their team. It is super important that at least twice a year you sit down with direct reports from your team members and talk about their performance, aspirations, their expectations from the role, how they see their future evolving with the company, how do you feel about their performance and so on. The truth is, people don’t quit companies, they quit bosses. Creating a structure and enforcing a policy where people create these one on ones through video conferencing is very important to make your team members understand how you feel about their work and they have the opportunity to give feedback for your business. Making sure that all your leaders in your company have one on ones with their team members at least twice is a year is critical to success, stability and managing a remote team.
Working remotely can have its struggles – typically in forming relationships and career development. A recent Harvard Business Review study states that many remote workers feel like their non-remote colleagues don’t treat them equally. But the reality is that remote work is the future. 51% of workers would change jobs for a role that offered them flextime and 37% would make a move for a role that allowed them to work remotely, at least part-time. But perhaps, the issue is not with remote work. The issue is how we manage and work with remote employees.

For managers and co-workers to develop successful relationships with remote workers, they all have to make changes. No one likes to feel they are in the dark, so start by setting expectations. Clear and honest communication is even more important for remote workers. Remote employees don’t have the luxury to swing by your desk to ask questions, so be sure to schedule consistent check-ins. Pick up the phone or connect over the video to make the conversation more natural and most importantly, have trust in your remote workers. Just being in the office doesn’t guarantee that an employee is being productive. Doing all this will help you set exact goals with your remote teams and help you achieve those goals successfully. By changing your attitude, you can make remote work, work for your team.


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