The corporate world might be on the brink of treating remote work as taboo, but companies that have embraced remote work are unstoppable, to say the least. They are solving the “real” problems that arise when humans collaborate without trying to defocus each day on “meeting in person”.
The so-called remote movement, claimed unsuccessful and dismissed by influential leaders we admire, proves to be unfounded. They should be curious about the rise in remote jobs, and make such statements with certain disclaimers.
We can’t turn a blind eye to the very real problems of daily commutes, child care, or even losing productivity in the process by shifting focus to collaboration and connection alone. Collaboration and connection (and inherent LnD) are valid concerns too that need an adapted solution. (Spoiler alert- not hybrid!)
We recently had our annual meetup with our near-100 dispersed workforce from across the country. For remote companies, it’s tempting to solve all the problems that “feel” less effective virtually by way of such meetups.
When we started designing the event flow, we had to resist that temptation and fall back to only the bare essentials – connection and alignment. We started with activities that build a sense of community and poured such exercises across the 3 days we were there. When you are in a place of psychological safety that’s based on trust and authenticity, connections flow seamlessly.
Alignment remains one of the main challenges for all organizations big or small, dispersed or co-located. Wrt alignment, one of the most critical sessions was about introducing a new concept called “Impact”. We called it Growing with OKRs.
Even though our value system is about being outcome-driven, we have been challenged – more often than not – by how we pay more attention to just ticking off activities, especially by those of us who are deeper in the org chart. We found ourselves at yet another inflection point hence, it’s where we had to inculcate that mindset of moving from activity to output to outcome.
The key here is to keep asking “why” until the “outcome” is clearly mapped to how it impacts one or more of the 3 pillars of a company viz. people, business, or revenue as covered under the company OKRs.
We followed this session with a live OKR workshop, where each team employed these learnings into defining their team OKRs for the next quarter. The results were astonishing with some really inspiring and impact-driven OKRs.
A prerequisite for this session was the Impact Mapping book so all of us were already in the impact zone. One of the hidden advantages of OKRs is that it enables intrinsic motivation. One has to do a lot of critical thinking and come up with ways to creatively attack the org goals. For more scoop on the event flow, check out our posts here.
Our annual meetups have now become one of the most awaited events of the year because of the camaraderie we build and carry along to our remote desks. We also use this opportunity to align ourselves to the org goals as well as cross-functionally.
Connection, collaboration, and alignment can very much be built not just with the right tools and processes, but mainly with the right intentions.