Managing Remote Teams: Pick Your People With Care

When dealing with Remote Teams – Pick Your People With Care

Wade Foster is the co-founder and CEO of Zapier. This organisation successfully grew from a group of people who only even worked in the same city for three months; they never shared an office but they built a very successful commercial company entirely remotely. Here is an iteration Foster’s top four tips for picking people who will be successful in remote teams.

1) Hire ‘activists’

  • Activists will get on and get things done even if they are miles away, without the “right” resources and without your permission on every tiny element.
  • You don’t have to give an activist a task to know that something will get done.
  • You will still have to provide guidelines, direction and support around the most important things, but in the absence of that, an activist will make something happen.

manage-remote-teams-thumb2) Hire people who can write
In a remote situation there is no water-cooler chat, there is little opportunity to tap someone on the shoulder and pop a quick question. There is no overheard comment.  However, communication is one of the most important parts of remote teams, and much will be written; emails, texts, social media and chat-rooms.  Therefore, hire people who can be brief, clear, concise and accurate in the written word.

3) Hire people who are happy without a ‘social’ workplace
The truth of the matter is that remote teams are usually less social than co-located ones. People on remote teams need to be ok with that. You don’t have to fill the team with borderline sociopaths and loners, but find people who can live without the close personal bonds that grow in face to face office environments.  These people are often the ones who have a ‘life’ outside and are not the 100% “company men”

4) Hire reliable, trustworthy people
Remote working doesn’t work if you can’t rely on the person on the other end of the line. You must pick people who have a track record of reliability.  This means that they are honest when they can’t do something, and that when they say they’ll do something, they do it.  It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are clock-watchers, long servers or sycophants.

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