BE A VIRTUOSO AT VIRTUAL WORK AND LEADERSHIP

More and more of us are working remotely.  Right now, due to the current virus outbreak, businesses have closed the doors of their offices.  

Urged to work from home, many leaders and employees are facing the prospect of long periods of remote and virtual working for the first time.  While this situation will pass, underneath this sudden issue has been a long-term transition towards remote, virtual and global working, with multiple benefits as well as challenges.

Home working forced by pandemic

Here, in March 2020 we said  “Most of us are suddenly working from home – and possibly for many weeks – as businesses close offices to protect staff from Coronavirus transmission.”

And … “Often, subtle changes STICK …”

Now at the end of May 2020 we see announcements from Facebook, Twitter, Square, Google (amongst others) that they are making a fundamental review of offices and that their staff (with some performance conditions) are now able to apply to work from home PERMANENTLY.

Need to permanently cut carbon footprint

The sudden lifestyle changes forced upon us by the pandemic, has shown the extent of impact that business travel (whether it be the daily commute to the office, or flights around the world) has on CO2 emissions and large-scale climate change, and also air quality, gridlock traffic and local health conditions.

Also, many people (often with a guilty sigh) are telling us that they are ONLY NOW noticing what a toll their travel schedules were taking on their bodies, their effectiveness, their families … and rather hoping that they won’t “bounce back” to how it was before.

Could brilliant virtual, global working sustain some of these advantages, as part of the ‘new normal’ post CoVid-19?

Economic reset - the future of business travel?

Organisations are facing an economic reset.  We are now in the biggest, deepest recession that present generations have had to encounter – and leaders are already acting on deep cost reduction measures.

Travel budgets are usually amongst the first victims of cost cutting – AND yet, more than ever, we must continue to produce results across global teams in complex team relationships, if we are to bounce forward from the current moment.

Investing in superb virtual, global leadership skills enables your people to work productively – while saving costs.

Leading in dark and anxiety provoking times

Change is constant – little is linear, some is chaotic (very little).  Most of the ‘shocks’ we experience are exponential – with weak, early signals (that we ignore), long periods where we think we have “forever” to respond, and then we are suddenly surprised, AS IF we could not see it coming.  That is as true of this pandemic, as it is of climate change, social inequality, and many business challenges.

Working with complex and exponential change (and the occasional “black swan” event) DEMANDS that leaders are exquisitely ‘tuned in’ and hearing ‘inconvenient truths’ spoken from unusual places and people, and must be able to build the trust networks that bring insight into the scenarios they lead into.  How will you and your leaders respond to the need to lead these vocal, insightful trust networks?

Until now, we had all had some experience of the occasional remote working day.  We coped rather than flourished – facing unproductive web-meetings, ballooning email inboxes, postponed deadlines and avoidance of trickier issues.

Many struggled because it was automatic to use the same skills, the same processes and the same leadership approaches that we use face-to-face in the office, meeting room or workshop – and hope that good enough technology will take care of the loss of physical connection.  But despite learning new virtual skills rapidly during CoVid-19 lockdown – many are not transforming their practice, just postponing those things that are hard to do virtually “until we get back to normal”.

All the research over the last 20 years has shown that virtual, global and distributed working is a NEW CRAFT with entirely new competencies and techniques, tools and ways of working.

Recent post CoVid-19 research has also shown that even for those who might claim to be “digital natives” the fully work-from-home world is not intuitive – nor indeed terribly productive or satisfactory, unless more is done to deeply learn the new craft.  It is far more than simply mastering Zoom or Teams – as this article in Forbes (May 2020) explains:

Forbes – why working from home is tougher than we think

 

When you get the mindset, behaviours and leadership ‘identity’ right you can be JUST as productive, collaborative and connected – all of which means efficiency, effectiveness and performance … as well as improved quality of life.  When you get it wrong you postpone resolving conflict, you destroy trust bonds, and you gradually lose the ‘social capital’ required to do complex work like innovation or change – even if you have the best technology money can buy.

In our video below we sum up 20+ years of research into the leadership challenge and transformation associated with virtual, global working.

For more than 2 decades we have been helping clients deal with global diversity, uncertainty and complexity, and acting on this in the virtual, distributed ‘space’.  Our programmes bring together this learning, into digestible and practical lessons that you can access either as an individual, or as part of a leadership or change agency team.

We also create customised versions for our clients – for example Siemens – in which in-company groups are facilitated (all virtual of course) through a programme which supports their experimentation, reflection and deployment of new skills.

Check out the Siemens Virtual Leader story

 

If you would like to sample a course, or talk to us about creating a course for your organisation, please contact us.

We want to work with our clients to develop new programmes and courses to suit real needs, and to provide efficient and effective delivery of learning materials to support our change consultancy.

If you have an idea – either as a learner, or as an author (or why not both at the same time?) then let us know.

 

6 + 11 =

Frequently asked questions

How long can I access a programme or course?

Your programme, course or module will be accessible to you for 1 year from the time you start it.

However in each lesson there are also PDFs, tools, products and exercises, that we think you will want to keep - you can download them, or print them.

What if I fall behind and out of step with the programme timing?

All significant learning commitments require some dedication.  This means making conscious choices, and carving out the time to acquire, experiment with, and reflect on what you are exploring.  Sometimes, this is going to clash with other priorities and occasionally it might feel a little overwhelming - even for the most dedicated learner.  If you know that a busy period is coming up, plan for catch-up time in the weeks that follow.

Some of our longer programmes involve following a specific timetable with a group - with new modules 'starting' at a given time.  This may tie in with Peer Support Group meetings, and/or with workshops or webinars.  If this is the case for your programme, an important aspect is that you are not alone - but in a community of learners.  The timings of 'live' experiences or group meetings are rarely changed once the programme starts, as this would impact negatively on your colleagues and co-learners.  Keeping up with others, so that you share your learning and benefit from their experience, is important.

Get into the learning habit, and if you have concerns about whether you will be able to do this, and if you fall behind at any time, just reach out to us and we will try to help.

Can I bundle one course or programme with another and save money?

Some of our courses are already bundled, in particular the shorter courses shown in our 'bitesize' section.  If the course you are interested in IS available in a value-for-money bundle, proceed with your purchase, and before closing the 'sale', you will be notified of this choices at 'checkout'.

If the other courses you are interested in are not bundled right now, just contact us, as we can put a custom bundle together for you.

Can I commission custom courses for my organisation?

Many of our programmes and short (bite-size) courses have been originally developed especially for a client - and, where appropriate, then adapted for a broader audience and turned into an 'open' programme.  It is our clients around the world that 'pull' new content and commission what we go on to build, to meet their needs at any given time.

If you would like to either curate a custom programme from our existing stock, or you have an area of new content that you would like us to look at, just contact us and we can help.

What if I'm not satisfied with my purchase?

Our courses and materials are getting great feedback from users - but of course it might not suit exactly what you are looking for.

We are always happy to refund you if you start a course and find it isn't what you wanted.  Please contact us straight after completing the first lesson in the course if you would like us to refund your payment or switch you to a more suitable product. 

Please note that we are unable to refund a course that has been more than 50% completed.