New to leading a distributed team?

3 considerations to incorporate in your leadership practice to move towards an agile team.

The Covid 19 pandemic has mobilized the adoption of new business practices at breakneck speed. A recent article in McKinsey Quarterly explained the rate of change as follows: To get to the rate of adoption for working from home that was achieved within 10.5 days at the beginning of the shutdown, we would normally have taken 454 days, about one and half years. In other words, we achieved 15.5 months of change in 10.5 days.

We have adjusted to many new practices, and ways to get things done. Have we adjusted the way we lead and collaborate as a team as well? Have we grown to become leaders of strong agile remote working teams that can still deliver on our customers’ demands?

We are still required to deliver value, innovate, grow and improve, if not as well as we did before, even better than before. And even faster than before, because there is a new expectation around the speed of delivery.

As leaders we have to consider new ways of engaging and bringing a team together. This is more than just supporting a WFH office environment, great video conferencing and instant messaging.

Here are three consideration to help maintain cohesive momentum in a distributed team:

1. Clarity of purpose:

Purpose has been one those elements of strategic planning and team planning that could get away with motherhood and apple pie statements for decades. However, it reaps mediocre results at best and doesn’t support a highly agile and changing team and in a world that changes fast. A clear purpose is what got Viktor Frankl through Auschwitz. A clear purpose gives boundaries and freedom to a team, something that makes sense and can be worked towards in the chaos around us.

2. Structure and governance that supports the purpose:

Allowing a team to change and adapt at the pace of its environment, or faster, requires a structure and accountability model that support rather than impedes the movement. Traditional structures have checkpoints, and double check points, to ensure the product goes out perfectly. In a fast-moving world, we need a structure that allows for speed and innovation, a margin of risk as well as quality. Give all the possible impediments to speed to market some thought, and develop alternative processes and accountability structures.

3. Communicate everything at least 7 times:

Sending a message does not mean it was heard, and hearing a message does not mean it was understood. In normal times, communication is difficult, in tumultuous times, you cannot overcommunicate. Communication has to concise and clear, and I repeat – often.

For more information about the ideal structural consideration for an agile team, join us for a conversation….