Embracing Remote Work: Insights from Business Leaders and Essential Strategies for Success

Embracing Remote Work Insights from Business Leaders
Embracing Remote Work Insights from Business Leaders
Written by Heather L. Cole, December 21st, 2023

In the evolving landscape of work, the shift towards remote and hybrid models is a topic of critical importance for business leaders. While some may consider a full return to the office, there's a growing consensus that flexibility in work arrangements is key to attracting and retaining top talent. This perspective is not just a modern trend but is rooted in historical examples and reinforced by contemporary leaders.

The Perspective of Modern Leaders on Remote Work

Several business leaders have voiced their support for remote work, emphasizing its benefits and necessity in today's world. For instance, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, once remarked, "Remote work has made us rethink our approach to work, emphasizing flexibility and productivity over physical presence." Similarly, Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, noted, "The future of work is flexibility. The companies that recognize this will attract the best talent."

These insights from industry leaders highlight a crucial point: the ability to adapt to remote work is not just a temporary adjustment but a long-term strategic advantage.

My Opinion

As the business owner of Lodestar Solutions, we have been a virtual, remote company for almost 20 years.  This has allowed me to focus on hiring talent all over the country and not just in our backyard.  It also empowered me to become a better leader.  Leading a remote company had its challenges initially.  I learned that I needed to set dedicated team time to communicate what we were working on, the challenges we were facing, and the time to celebrate wins.  I also learned it was a necessity to provide better clarity to my team and clients of expectations.  The result has been better, faster, and cheaper implementation of analytic solutions for our clients and loyal, happy team members.  I couldn’t imagine being forced to go to an office every day!

If you think you should force your team to return to the office, maybe it’s time to consider another approach.  Is it time to level up your leadership skills to become a Remote Leader?

The Importance of Clear Goals and Hiring the Right People

Articulating Company Goals

A critical aspect of leading remote teams is clearly articulating company goals. This clarity ensures that all team members, regardless of location, understand the company's direction and role in achieving these objectives. As Darren Murph, Head of Remote at GitLab, says, "In a remote environment, over-communication of the company's vision and goals becomes the lifeline of team alignment and success."

Hiring Suitable Talent

Equally important is hiring individuals who are not just skilled but are also a good fit for remote work. This means looking for traits like self-motivation, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work independently. As Laszlo Bock, former SVP of People Operations at Google, advises, "Hire people who are better than you in some way. This is even more crucial in a remote setting, where each individual's contribution is amplified."

Reference:  The best hiring book I have read is Hiring For Attitude by Don Miller. 

Learning to Become a Leader of Remote Workers

The transition to remote work isn't just about changing where work happens; it's about rethinking how to lead effectively in this new environment. Business leaders are now challenged to evolve their leadership styles to inspire and manage teams that are not physically present.

Embracing the Shift in Work-Life Harmony

One of the most significant changes with remote work is the shift in work-life Harmony.  I use harmony instead of balance as balance is rarely attainable, but harmony allows for ebbs and flows of where your attention is focused. Many employees have grown accustomed to spending more time with family and less time commuting. Leaders should consider the value this brings to their employees' lives. Instead of compelling teams to return to the office, thereby giving up this newfound balance, leaders should learn to inspire and manage their teams remotely.

The Challenge to Lead Differently

Leading remote teams requires a different set of skills. It's about trusting your team, being clear in your communication, and understanding the unique challenges that come with remote work. Leaders should focus on outcomes rather than hours spent at a desk and find ways to connect with their team members on a personal level, even if it's through a screen.

The Opportunity in Remote Leadership

This shift presents an opportunity for leaders to grow and adapt. By embracing remote work, leaders can tap into a wider talent pool, increase productivity, and foster a more inclusive work environment. It's a chance to reimagine the workplace and how we lead, creating a more flexible and dynamic work culture.

7 Key Strategies for Leading Remote Teams

  1. Establish Robust Communication Channels: Ensure that your team has access to effective communication tools that facilitate both formal and informal interactions.

  2. Set and Reiterate Clear Goals: Regularly communicate and reinforce the company's objectives to keep everyone aligned and focused.

  3. Build a Culture of Trust: Trust your team to manage their responsibilities. Avoid micromanagement, which can be counterproductive in a remote setting.

  4. Promote Collaboration and Team Cohesion: Leverage technology to foster collaboration and maintain team spirit through virtual team-building activities.

  5. Equip Teams with Necessary Resources: Provide the technological tools and support needed for efficient remote work.

  6. Provide Regular Support and Feedback: Maintain an open line for feedback and offer consistent support to address any challenges promptly.

  7. Encourage a Healthy Work-Life Balance: Recognize the importance of balancing work and personal life, especially when home becomes the workplace.

Conclusion

The shift towards remote work is not just a trend but a fundamental change in how we think about work. By learning from the past, listening to contemporary leaders, and implementing effective strategies, business leaders can navigate this change successfully. Embracing remote work with the right approach can lead to a more motivated, productive, and satisfied workforce.

For more helpful Business Analytics Coaching tips and insights, check out all our most recent blogs here.

What are You Going to Accomplish this Year?

What are you going to accomplish this year
What are you going to accomplish this year
Written by Heather L. Cole, January 6th, 2022

Happy New Year.  With the new year we have the opportunity to recharge and reset so we can accomplish amazing things personally and professionally.  At Lodestar Solutions we encourage all our team members and clients to have written goals or outcomes they want to achieve.  So, what are you going to accomplish this year? 

I thought I would share secrets I have learned to accomplishing big bodacious goals. 

1. You Must Write Down Your Goals

Studies have proven that when you write down your goals and view them daily you are more likely to accomplish them.  One study done by Dr. Gail Matthews, a psychology professor at Dominican University of California found you are 42% more likely to achieve your goals and dreams, simply by writing them down on a daily basis.  See blog, This Is the Way You Need to Write Down Your Goals for Faster Success.  

2. Organize Your Goals

I am a big fan of using sticky notes that I put on boards by month, so I focus on when I want to accomplish the goal by.  I also use different colored sticky notes depending on if it’s related to health, charity, personal or business.

When you write down the goals include a reason why.  This helps inspire you and motivate you.  If your WHY is not big enough you probably will not accomplish your goals.

3. Tell People Your Goals!

Yes, as scary as it can be, share your goals.  But remember if people laugh or mock you, they are jealous you have the courage to think and act boldly.

Last year I decided I wanted to own a small beach condo to escape and relax.  I put it on my board and told people I knew that owned beach condos.  Three months after putting the sticky on my board, a friend texted that there was a condo in her building about to go up for sale.  I contacted the seller and we agreed without involving real estate agents, in one of the hottest markets I avoided a bidding war.  

4. Time Blocking

Block out time on your calendar every day to take one action that gets your closer to your goal.  Just one.  The action can be as simple as researching on the internet.  But make it part of your daily routine.

Maybe it would help if I provided an example.  Here’s some common goals I am seeing in our clients.

Goals: 

  •  To get a raise so you can save more money for your kid’s college and your retirement.
  • To work remotely 3 days a week so you can coach your kid’s soccer team.
  • To get more support for your Analytics projects within the company so your work gets noticed and your ideas get heard.

Visualize Your Result

Let’s take a minute to break these down.  Your big WHY appears to be your family.  So, every day with your first cup of coffee visualize yourself and your family when you accomplish your goals.  What will you do?  How will you feel?    

I know it sounds a little crazy, but I often start my day poolside visualizing accomplishing my goal and it inspires me to take at least one step daily toward my goal.

Daily Steps

Daily deliberate action is where the magic happens!  In the book Peak:  Secrets from the New Science of Expertise, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool share their research on how all of us can apply the performance principles practiced by the world’s top performers.  One of the key take aways I received from the book is that we must engage in daily deliberate practice.  Here’s a link to a short video explaining the concept in this book. 

 How you show up and play daily is a key differentiator in people that accomplish their goals and those that say, “One Day I will…”.  

Steps don’t have to be massive, although massive action will get you there faster. Let’s take the goals above.

Getting a Raise

If you want a raise here’s a few steps you can take.  You just need to complete one a day.

  •  Start by creating a list of your accomplishments in the last year.  Where did you add more value than your peers?  What ideas did you implement…?
  • Research the current salary for your role in other companies on www.glassdoor.com or other sites.
  • Schedule a meeting with your boss to ask what it would take to get to the next level
  • Research approaches for asking for a raise
  • Write down a list of why your firm might say no, and a response to the reason.

Working Remotely 

If you want to continue to work remotely and your firm is moving people back to the office, you will need to influence your company to allow you to work remotely.

  •  Create a list of the projects or accomplishments you have had while working remote during Covid.
  • Research other firms in your industry that are allowing their people to continue to work remote.
  • Talk to HR to understand the reasons or motivation for requiring people to come in daily.
  • Research your organizations values and initiatives.  Are they trying to reduce global warming?  See if the organization’s initiatives can help support your request to work remote.
  • Read a blog or book or watch a video on persuasion. CAlididi.
  • Write down a list of why your firm might say no, and a response to the reason.
  • Schedule a meeting with your boss to ask to work remotely.

Goal of Increasing the Support of your Analytics Projects

  •  Create a list of areas you think could benefit from better Analytics.  These areas must either make or save the company more money!
  • Research what other companies in your industry are doing with analytics.
  • Read the companies 10K and ask what the strategic goals are of the organization.
  • Read a blog or book or watch a video on persuasion.  CAlididi.
  • Identify a single area, dashboard, reports, or project you would like to get support and funding for.
  • Create a list of the benefits to the company if they did the project.
  • Create a list of costs in resources, time, and tools needed.
  • Create a Return-on-Investment analysis.
  • Write down a list of why your firm might say no, and a response to the reason.
  • Schedule a meeting with your boss to get their support.

Just one a day!  That’s the secret.

Similar Steps Different Goals

Did you notice anything?  Yes, the steps for getting what you want at work, are all similar.  2022 can be the most amazing year of your life.  But you must take ACTION!  Start with a list.  “What are you going to accomplish this year?  ‘’

If you need help or have questions, put a comment on this blog, or reach out to us at services@lodestarsolutions.com.  You might also want to check out our video on the power of expectation setting.  

At Lodestar Solutions, our goal is not just successful analytics projects, we want you, our client to be personally successful too!

Happy New Year!

Heather and the Lodestar Team.

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