How to Keep Your Remote Team On The Right Track

Something I’ve been hearing lately from my executive leadership coaching clients is that their teams aren’t functioning as well remotely as they were when they worked face to face. Among the top symptoms productivity and effectiveness have decreased.

Frustrating as it is, none of this is surprising. Remote teams have a different dynamic then in-person teams. One significant difference: they need a little bit more attention and clarity up front. Here is a simple but meaningful process I use in coaching remote teams to be successful and stay on track:

Articulate why the team exists. Set aside some time for the team to work together on articulating and communicating their “why.”

Ask your team
What kind of team are we and what are we trying to accomplish?
Does our work reflect our stated purpose?
Have we gotten distracted, or are we staying true to our purpose?

Identify the circumstances. Clarify who the team is accountable to and how accountability is reported. List any other individuals and groups that are involved in the team’s work and define their involvement.

Ask your team
Are we coordinating well with others who rely on our work?
Are we meeting stakeholders’ expectations?

Determine your goals. Define the outcomes that are expected from the team’s work as well as milestones, deadlines, and how results will be assessed.

Ask your team
Do the measured results of our work accurately demonstrate its value?
Is anything getting in the way of our success?

Decide on roles and responsibilities. Consider each team member’s strengths and perspective as you determine which individuals and small groups will be responsible for which elements.

Ask your team
Are roles clearly defined and executed?
Are we making good use of a variety of skills and perspectives?

Establish work processes. Decide together how the team’s work will be done. Be concise but make sure the essentials are clearly defined: how often the team will connect and meet and who will manage the agenda, how delays and snags will be handled, and how people working from outside the team will be managed. List things out step by step so everyone has the clarity they need.

Ask your team
Are our work processes effective? Do they foster creative thought and innovation?
Are we sticking to what we agreed to?
What new processes might help us be more effective?

Settle on decision-making. Make sure everyone on the team understands their level of autonomy and how decisions at every level will be made. Determine whether the overall approach will be one of seeking consensus among the group’s members or relying on the expertise of those charged with each element. Outline how decision points will be raised and resolved and who has the final say.

Ask your team
Are we including the right amount of input?
What surprises or frustrations have we encountered in the past?
How might we do it differently?

Clarify communication. Especially with a remote team, you can never communicate too much, but coordinating communication keeps people from being bombarded with so many messages that they miss things they need to know. Decide how routine and nonroutine communication will take place and determine which conversations will be archived.

Ask your team:
How well is our current communication plan working? Are we sticking to it?
What methods are working particularly well? |
What are we not doing so well?

Verify expectations. Make sure that each team member understands what is expected of them and what they can expect of one another, and that operating principles and conflict resolution processes are clear.

Ask your team
Are we adhering to the objectives we created?
Are they helping us achieve our objectives?
What norms do we want to add or delete?
How can we be better in the future?

The better you define your overall objectives, resources, constraints, roles, processes and expectations, the less confusion and the fewer complaints you’ll experience. A great team charter keeps everyone informed and working toward the same goal.

Lead from within: When you can be clear on where you are going and why, and what you have to do to be successful, people perform at their best.

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The Leadership Gap
What Gets Between You and Your Greatness

After decades of coaching powerful executives around the world, Lolly Daskal has observed that leaders rise to their positions relying on a specific set of values and traits. But in time, every executive reaches a point when their performance suffers and failure persists. Very few understand why or how to prevent it.

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Lolly Daskal is one of the most sought-after executive leadership coaches in the world. Her extensive cross-cultural expertise spans 14 countries, six languages and hundreds of companies. As founder and CEO of Lead From Within, her proprietary leadership program is engineered to be a catalyst for leaders who want to enhance performance and make a meaningful difference in their companies, their lives, and the world.

Of Lolly’s many awards and accolades, Lolly was designated a Top-50 Leadership and Management Expert by Inc. magazine. Huffington Post honored Lolly with the title of The Most Inspiring Woman in the World. Her writing has appeared in HBR,, Fast Company (Ask The Expert), Huffington Post, and Psychology Today, and others. Her newest book, The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness has become a national bestseller.

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