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Leading A Distributed Workforce Through A Results-Driven Culture - Caleb Anthony Parker

Leading A Distributed Workforce Through A Results-Driven Culture

Results
Every day an increasing number of organizations are learning about the benefits of remote working. Whether it’s to increase productivity, save on real estate costs, encourage work/life balance or to prepare for disasters, millions of people are joining the mobile (or mobile-ready) workforce.

Still, some managers are hesitant to give their team members the freedom to work remotely.  Subconsciously they don’t trust people to stay on task when they can’t see them.  They aren’t sure if the company has the right tools or systems in place to be successful.  They fear everyone will become disorganized and unproductive.  This is unfortunate, but understandable.  While the benefits of having a mobile workforce may be numerous, nothing really matters if productivity is lost.

The good news is productivity doesn’t have to be lost.  In fact, it can improve.  But it takes more than managing systems and processes.  One must lead their distributed teams through a results-driven culture.

Having supported mobile workers for over five years, I have learned a lot from our customers about what works and what doesn’t for them.  As a mobile worker myself and leading a distributed team, I’ve learned that a results-driven culture is made up of four attributes:

Trust

For this article I’m assuming you’ve made good hires and have the right people on board.  You’ve hired a team of go-getters who are passionate about the organization’s mission.  Now it’s time to trust them to bring their A-game each and every day.  Each person at your company should possess a special set of complementary skills.  Trust each other to give 110% each day, and have each other’s back when help is needed.

Accountability

While it’s important to have a culture of trust, you have to have accountability.  Team members should be accountable to each other and to deadlines, goals and milestones.  Remember it’s all about results.  If there is a weak link, or if someone is missing deadlines, you have to quickly get to the root of the issue.  Ask questions, avoid assigning blame, and determine how you can help the team member succeed.

Communication

This may be number three on my list, but communication is by far the most important ingredient to leading a mobile workforce.  Technology has give us the opportunity to work mobile and part of that is being able to communicate as if you’re in the same office.  There are many communication and collaboration tools to help with this.  I’ve used Yammer, Basecamp, Campfire and GoToMeeting.  Reviewing these tools is for another blog post, but find your communication tools before going mobile.  Part of communication is being transparent.  I’ve found that having transparency within the organization keeps everyone on the same page.  Sometimes results don’t happen overnight, so seeing progress as it happens keeps everyone motivated and focused on the mission.  It keeps the trust in place.

Work/Life Balance

Happy team members = productive team members.  My wife will be the first to say I should take my own advice when it comes to work/life balance.  I tend to work all the time, even when I’m not ‘working’.  But organizations who are successful with flexible working strategies encourage their team members to maintain a balance between work & life.  I’ll say it again, remember, it’s all about productivity.  I know that if my team has quality of life, they will have plenty of energy and focus to bring their A-game to work.

By creating a results-driven culture you no longer have to fear going mobile.

What kind of culture does your organization have? What’s been successful for your team?