In our latest edition of Wundamail Voices, we catch up with Business Strategist and Innovator, Faun deHenry, to get her take on managing processes and people no matter where you are in the world.
Let me begin by letting you know that I've worked remotely since 1996. I've managed remote teams since 2001, and frankly, it's a lot easier to do today.
Firstly, there are a lot more tools at your disposal. The Internet "pipes" are larger and more robust and costs for the basic necessities such as telecommunications, logistics, and software are greatly reduced.
The one item that hasn't changed in nearly 25 years is the need for dynamic business processes! Yes, I’m passionate about process, mostly because it governs everything that happens with us as humans. From digesting our food, to transitioning between jobs or careers, to sailing a boat, to exploring the planets, all of these activities have processes in common.
What do you think the future of work looks like post-crisis?
I think it's a hybrid of remote work (which includes both home and co-working) and limited office time. People want to return to "normal" because that's in their comfort zone, but, for health reasons, I don't think it's realistic. Social distancing is essential! That won't change until a vaccine is available. In the meantime, remote work makes sense.
How should managers/leaders prepare?
Most leaders don't communicate well. I cringe at some of the boneheaded mistakes I’ve made!
Leaders I’ve observed don't take the time to first understand the process of communicating, which results in an inability to "connect the dots" for their subordinates. Goals and objectives are important. What's equally important is process, i.e. how we achieve those goals and objectives. There's a lot talk in leadership circles about culture. Well, carefully articulated processes build culture. If leaders persist in ignoring the process of communication, moving forward from this pandemic will be much more difficult, if not impossible.
Do you think this is a step in the right direction and why?
Focus on strengthening business processes and empathetic communication. The pandemic is changing how we work, how we live, and how business transpires. Those changes are likely to continue. By focussing on process, we lay a foundation for business continuity, customer focus, and regulatory compliance. In addition, people are unsettled with all of these changes. Communication that is thorough, i.e. "connecting the dots", and mindful of people's discomfort will support those needed process changes and help with productivity.
What tips do you have for restarting teams?
Communicate! Then communicate more. Do it to the point that you think you might be overcommunicating, but keep doing it and make certain that you connect the dots for your team. You can’t assume that they know what you know or that they know what’s on your mind. Focus on processes. Make certain that your processes can support both in office and remote work activities.
An experienced business strategist, Faun has spent the last 20 years advising corporate executives on performance management, business process transformation, and innovation. She has continuously demonstrated effective communication and presentation skills to a wide range of audiences, ranging from CXOs to middle management to shop floor employees, in diverse industries including: Capital Equipment Manufacturing, Utilities, Retail and Wholesale, Government, and Telecommunications.