5 Things Every CEO Must Know on Leading Remote Teams

June 16, 2021

I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll say it again: the workplace has changed and isn’t probably going to go back to how it was before March 2020. And with that shift arises the need for companies to adapt their work models. However, remote work – successful remote work that is – is much easier said than done.

That’s the challenge Alberto Silveira, a passionate and high-tech sector executive whom I’ve worked with on a few initiatives, aims to address in his inaugural book, Building and Managing High-Performance Distributed Teams: Navigating the Future of Work. I got to know Alberto when he was leading a product engineering department, so I was delighted to hear about his plans to put his experience and wisdom on paper.

Overview of Building and Managing High-Performance Distributed Teams

Published by Apress in May 2021, Silveira’s book delivers insights around team management – with emphasis on this new era of work where organizations are increasingly leveraging technology that allows distanced employees to come together virtually (like Zoom). These insights include his experience as a boater and sailor, using analogies and lessons gained from modern sailing and applying those to the workplace. For instance, Silveira explains how the origin of knots – the unit of measure that determines how fast a ship is sailing at sea – correlates with the business concept of “you can’t manage what you can’t measure.”

Ultimately, Building and Managing High-Performance Distributed Teams focuses on why the high-performance distributed team model is vital to the future of business. It teaches how to build and maintain a business through times of change and how to differentiate between distributed teams, remote work, offshoring – and what each means in the context of our newfound reality.

Here are five key takeaways that align with my thoughts on what organizations must do to succeed in building and managing high-performance distributed teams.

5 Takeaways from Building and Managing High-Performance Distributed Teams

1. Build a culture of “people first” with empowerment and trust.

People want to feel good about their place of work – and that starts with empowering your employees and prioritizing their needs. This One Team One Heart spirit, as Silveira calls it, is the synergy that comes from people feeling good about their place in a highly productive team. In turn, people will inadvertently become more production, more connected and more loyal to the company – all by making them feel like they matter and are important to your organization.

2. Identify your North Star and revisit it regularly with your team.

Silveira defines North Star as the message that connects people through a shared vision. Although the concept of a North Star is nothing new, he points out that it now needs to be re-tooled to fit our “new normal.”

North Star alignment is critical to your company’s Objectives and Key Results (OKR) – if not aligned, you can’t work towards the same goals. And if the goals aren’t aligned, you’re destined for failure. His book describes concepts and practices on how to get teams aligned with the company’s North Star to ensure team members can navigate and work towards the same goals.

3. Equalize your team communication and collaboration to ensure shared accountability.

Using nautical metaphors, Silveira says much like a ship at sea, a company thrives on triangular relationships in leadership, teams, and metrics. Leadership is nothing without a team to lead, and a team is nothing without a strong leader to chart their course. Metrics ensures that the work you’re doing is making a different – without it, you’re sailing without a map. So, when combined, you can create balance and maintain forward momentum without losing focus.

4. Determine your metrics and coordinates.

Silveira says in his book, measure everything, but observe distributed teams from different perspectives and angles. Here’s what that means: While traditional business metrics such as sales and bottom lines will always have their place, another important yet often-overlooked metric is mood.

Mood refers to the sentiments and attitudes of your employees – and it plays a significant role in a company’s success. Silveira highlights the metric of mood as vital for getting the most from people – individually and as a group.

5. Refine your hiring and retention approaches.

Silveira describes the concept of “opening the net,” which emphasizes that the best talent for your teams may be located anywhere. This also means they may have different definitions of what work-life balance looks like. Leaders who refine their attitudes toward geography, skills, lifelong learning, work equality, and other individual talents and soft skills, will succeed in building high-performance teams.

Distanced Teams are Here to Stay. Are You Ready?

Silveira’s book is timely and is a must-read for every leader and aspiring leader. It is an easy read with many meaningful, inspiring lessons and some new strategies for going forward. It will help you think about, and then build, a dynamic distributed team using new rules for a new age.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive of how your company can adapt to the changes happening right now in the workplace, contact me for a free initial consultation. I can help you determine the status of your organization and provide insights into your next steps.