Our speed and brainstorming abilities are not confined to sitting side by side in the same room every day.
If you’ve hired the right core team for your start-up, everyone is a sprinter. The problem is that an office-based team is not running as individuals, but together, as if they were all tied up. For any process or workflow, the team is only as fast as the slowest member.
Remote teams are much better at allowing each member to move at their own pace. They still have to reconvene as a team, but even this can come at their own pace.
It may be counter-intuitive, but efficient communication takes time to organize - time spent alone, writing it out. The key to remote team management are processes that allow time spent as a team to boost individual performance, and time spent apart to boost team dynamics.
That’s a bit philosophical. Let’s see how it works in specific practices.
As you quickly make many crucial decisions in the earlier stages of your company, brainstorming is very important.
In an office, if there’s a key decision to be made or idea to be discussed, you would approach your colleague who’s seated a desk or two away and start talking. Alternatively, your leader could call an all-hands-on-deck or a group meeting to discuss a certain topic.
Brainstorming remotely can also be done quite effectively, considering that:
You want your start-up to go fast, which is something going remote helps substantially.
Quick decision-making is as important as announcing it to the team and getting aligned. Keeping track of important conversations and decision-making is equally as important. Remote start-ups are not only encouraged, but somewhat forced, to communicate via written methods for both of these reasons.
This ends up building a log of conversations, decisions, and ideas. These can be consulted later or shared easily with the team.
Of course, you’ll still jump on a call with your colleagues to discuss topics that require synchronous conversations. But it’s easier to get used to documenting the results of such meetings and logging them once you’ve mastered written communications for all other discussions.
A common mistake that leaders across sectors make is leading by walking the floor.
This leadership style is not only inefficient but might make you vulnerable to having the wrong people in your early-stage team. There’s no place for team members who need constant attention and motivation. They have to be self-starting, efficient and dedicated. As your start-up scales, your founding team members will be expected to grow quickly with the company.
There’s no space for unaccountable colleagues.
Performance-based management has proven effective for us, and even though we’ve found metrics to be unhelpful in achieving product-market fit, the principles still apply when leading a remote team.