- Professional speaker, Television Host, Entrepreneur, Franchise Expert & Author of Amazon business books bestseller
– ‘Future-Proofing Your Business’.
1. If a person has good leadership skills, does it mean that he or she will be automatically effective working with remote teams, or is 'virtual leadership' is an entirely different set of skills?
TH: I believe good leadership skills exist in good leaders, period. One of the things I have come to learn working virtually is to trust the people and the process more. If you have metrics and a model in your business then let them lead the business outcome you seek. In our business we manage our business metrics weekly, analyze and discuss them monthly on the phone, and adjust them when needed. I have a weekly placeholder meeting in my calendar set with my VA, rarely do we use it, rarely do we need to. The business metrics, model and process gives us a clear dashboard on how we are tracking to our plan, so there is no need to ‘meet’ just to discuss the obvious, we just get on with keeping the business to plan.
2. What common mistakes do managers and business owners make when working with virtual teams?
TH: The same ones they make when they are working with teams they have a presence with. I think the biggest difference is that working ‘energetically’ poor leaders get to cover up some of their shortcomings. Face to face humans tend to be a little more forgiving. Virtually some of those shortcomings become a little more obvious and amplified. A poorly handled conversation face to face is sometimes forgotten quickly as we move on in life. but a poorly written email we be read and re-read amplifying the emotion it has.
3. Which modern technologies do you think will have the most effect in remote collaboration?
TH: For me, nothing replaces the age old skill of an engaging conversation. Good leaders are essentially good communicators, and good communication still comes right back to the art of managing a conversation. We use GoToMeeting a lot, but we use it in a professional environment. Good cameras, good lighting, staged backdrops, clear audio, big monitors, so you feel like you are in the room together and can have the same engaging conversation you would have if you actually were in the same room. For me, connecting via social media is the least social thing you can do as a leader.
4. One of the challenges with virtual teams is that there is very little personal contact. How does one align individual goals with the team’s objectives and instill the 'corporate spirit'?
TH: One of the things we’ve found most important in our businesses, is that business goals are always driven by personal goals. If I am clear on what you want the business to do for YOU then I can align the business goals around that. To that end, it’s much easier to ‘back fill’ the business goals and ambitions if I have addressed your personal goals and vision. ‘Corporate Spirit’ only exists if personal ambition is met.
Thank you for the interview.