Leading from a Distance

This is a guest post by Michael Sliwinski. He is the founder of the time and project-management application Nozbe (the task manager I use) and editor-in-chief of Productive! Magazine. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I love my complicated situation. I lead an Internet company based in Poland (Central Europe). Most of our team is located there, with one person in Germany, collaborators in the USA and Japan—and me in Spain. And our customers are all over the world. Leading a company like this is complex but rewarding.

The Connected World - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/enot-poloskun, Image #7298729

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/enot-poloskun

We all work from home. It’s our lifestyle choice. Everyone works the way they want, at the time they want. It gives us all lots of freedom, but it also requires a tremendous amount of focus—and great leadership skills from me. I’m learning as I go, reading this blog every day as well as every leadership book I can find. I’m also a GTD (Getting Things Done) aficionado and this helps, too.

Here are five best practices I’ve learned so far about leading a team remotely:

  1. Schedule weekly reviews. In his best seller, Getting Things Done book, David Allen highlights the importance of the “Weekly Review,” a meeting we should schedule with ourselves to review our past week and prepare for the next one. This is indispensable for ensuring that I am focused and on-task.

    Although we’re a small team, my first two team members, my Chief Technology Officer and Customer Service manager, are responsible for day-to-day management of their teams. That’s why every Monday I do an hourly Weekly Review with each of them. This helps us stay focused, summarize last week, and set priorities for the next one.

  2. Host a weekly “All-Hands” meeting with the entire team. Every Thursday afternoon we call in for an hour-long conference call where everyone shares how their week has gone so far. This bonds the team and lets everyone know what’s going on. We can also ask questions and just chat. We actually look forward to these meetings every week.
  3. Schedule my time strategically. This is really important. Without this you can find yourself being in response-mode all day long, so I decided to divide my day into two parts:
    • Before noon is my creative time. My e-mail application is closed. I don’t schedule any phone calls. I work on our strategy, vision, and product. I also write articles, even code a prototype of an app if needed. No distractions, only my work. And sometimes a run or exercise.
    • After noon is my responsive time. Now I open my e-mail and get it to “inbox zero”. I prepare feedback for my team, schedule phone calls, interviews, brainstorming sessions, I’m all “at my team’s disposal” now.

    Michael has highlighted on this blog several times how he values responsiveness and I try to follow his advice and in this part of my day make sure I respond to everything that needs attention. My team comes always first.

  4. Communicate through online collaboration apps. We use apps like Dropbox, Google Docs, Socialcast, and our own project-management application to communicate through these tools instead of e-mail. This way everyone is on the same page as to what is going on in the company and on what we all should be working on. E-mail is great, but it wasn’t built for online collaboration. There are better tools.
  5. Embrace the fact that control is good, but trust is better. The Germans are fond of saying, “Trust is good, but control is better” I’d say it’s the other way round. Trust is key. I’m trusting my team to do a great job, and I’m doing my best to help them. If someone doesn’t deliver, sooner or later you’ll notice. It’s hard not to. People also work better when they know you trust them.

As a bonus, once a year we meet for a retreat. We all fly to some nice place to spend a week together. We dedicate around three to four hours a day talking about work and bonding and the rest of the time relaxing. These retreats help us get to know one another on a different level and recharge batteries.

I’m also traveling a lot, so whenever I’m close to someone from my team, I try to make sure we meet, eat lunch, or grab a cup of coffee. We need this in-person contact with one another.

Leading a team remotely is challenging, but it is also rewarding. With the technology currently available—and a little intention—it is very doable.

Questions: Have you ever led a remote team? What have you learned? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com/ Patricia Zell

    Excellent post, Michael S.! While nothing about my job is remote–I always have daily face-to-face contact with my colleagues and my students–the concepts you’ve shared are adaptable to many different working situations. In a sense, I treat each of my classes as a team, and I do work at building teamwork in each of them. Sometimes, the kids don’t want to leave my classroom teams; they feel comfortable and appreciated. And, the best part–everyone works because I won’t accept anything less (I am great at nagging).

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      As a teacher, I’m sure there’s a fine balance between trust, independence and control. How do you help your students feel like a member of the team, while still maintaining your authority?

      • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com/ Patricia Zell

        My students are seniors in high school, so they mainly know how to behave. I make an effort to build their trust in me and to encourage them to be assertive by being flexible. They know I’m there for them, not the other way around. This semester, I began setting “target dates” rather than due dates. I always honor the work they do whether it’s late or on time. They are learners, and one thing they are learning to do is to work effectively. I am good at pushing (nagging) them towards the goal of completed, well-done work. They appreciate my efforts–they even say thank you occasionally.

    • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

       There’s nothing better than face to face communication and relationship building.  Your students are blessed!

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        I agree. The retreat is a great idea. Even better if you pay for it!

        • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

          The retreat is fundamental – we’re doing it once a year but I’m actually thinking about making it bi-yearly experience by default. And yes, company pays for it. When our team members want to bring their significant other to the retreat, we also support that.

  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    Interesting post.  My team works out of our office; however, they are often on the road at job sites, so I don’t see my whole team everyday.  In fact, I can go a week without seeing some of my team members depending on their projects.

    I really like the idea of holding a regular “All Hands” meeting for my team.  I simple opportunity to call in together or sit together to review project status.  I’m not 100% on how that would look for my team, but it’s definitely something to think about.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      The “all hands meeting” every week is very important. We are all looking forward to it! People love it :-)

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

        What does this meeting look like?  How is it structured?  What topics are covered?  How do you keep it to an hour?  Is it mandatory?

        • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

          Typically everyone says what they’ve done this week and what they are up to… and later we chat and comment on the whole direction of the company :-)

          • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

            Looking back on the past week and looking forward at the upcoming week sounds like a valuable time of reflection for any organization. 

            As one who tends to crash on T.G.I.F. and panic “Oh no, what do I need for tomorrow?” around 10:00 PM on Sunday, I need to adopt this as a personal discipline!

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I think this is necessary on a personal level as well as a team level.

        • http://www.comprehensivemedia.com/ Joel W. Smith

          Jon we do our weekly meeting on Monday mornings first thing – before the day get’s away.  We have a set agenda, but as a rule it covers the basics, current projects, calendar, etc.  We always have one specific item that we come to the table ready to discuss from last weeks meeting – homework.

          Our weekly meeting is mandatory, but we don’t use that word.  ;-)  As far as when, whatever you do that works for your team – it needs to be intentional and on-purpose so everybody blocks out the time in their calendars.  If you make it a priority and set the time aside, everyone will settle in.

          BTW – since we do first thing in the morning, we bring in breakfast in as an encouragement and a “help you get started” kind of thing.

          Best!

          • http://soderquist.org/ Christy Hall

            Same here. We have a 30-minute meeting every Monday morning to share what’s going across the many functions of our team. It can be difficult to know we’re all non-billable for those 30 minutes, but the time spent ensures we’re not dropping the ball and that we’re serving our customers the best way possible. With so many of us traveling, it’s easy to miss key information, and we’ve all come to love the 30-minute update meetings.

            Tom Verdery, current Executive in Residence at our organization, and retired P&G executive who led a global team, shares his views on leading from afar in a 2 part video series. His insight goes right along with this article.

            soderquist.org/videos/leading-from-afar-1
            soderquist.org/videos/leading-from-afar-2

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        What makes the weekly meeting something to look forward to, Michael? I know several employees of varying organizations who feel like they get pulled into meeting after meeting, and nothing is ever accomplished. In their words, “a complete waste of time.” Clearly your team does it differently. Care to share your secret(s) with us?

        • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

          As we work from home, our team doesn’t get involved into too many meetings – we look forward to it because everyone gets to know what happens in the entire company. As we’re not physically in one place, the support girls have more contact throughout the week but they really don’t get to interact with the engineers (other than reporting bugs) – I think everyone just is happy to share what’s up, feel valued as a part of the team and feel they know what’s going on and which direction we’re going. :-)

    • Rob Sorbo

      I work at a Christian organization, so we meet every Monday morning to pray together. If there are announcements or if the manager has something she needs to share with us, then she’ll use that time for that as well. We all enjoy this time and look forward to it.

      • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

         That’s cool.  I remember when I worked at Focus on the Family, we’d have a monthly prayer meeting and that helped build community. 

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    The only thing I’ve ever lead remotely is my TV. Not exactly a “team” in the conventional sense, but rather a team of inanimate components conspiring to ply me with information and entertainment in my living room. 

    • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

       Your name caught my eye Cyberquill… cool!  Just checked out your blog too.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    Wow, this article is PERFECTLY timed. I’m working for a group of six that has just started becoming more remote than usual. The central office is down to just two people, the other four working remotely, two (and I’m one of them) outside the state. I’m forwarding this article to the others right now.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Thanks Chris – everyone in my company works from a different city. That’s why a shared office would never be possible. And anyhow – the remote working might be challenging but is fun!

      • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

        An “office.” Heh. The more remote we get, the more the “office” looks like a storage bin. Or a distribution center. Someday we may treat it as such.

        By the way, we have been looking at Nozbe as a possible workflow management software. Thanks for your good work!

        • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

          Exactly – office becomes a storage bin… and we don’t need one – we have many virtual ones :-)

          I actually don’t email too often with my team – we share tasks and comment on these – so that everyone remains on the same page.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      I’ve only worked in remote environments. This may be self-evident, but Skype or Google video chat are invaluable. If everyone on your team isn’t on one of these (there of course others) platforms, get them signed-up!

      • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

         Skype rocks and keeps on getting better and better.  Google video I’ve had connectivity issues with, but hopefully someday it will catch up to Skype.

        • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

          For our team meeting we don’t use Skype – it gets bad with more than 5 people – at least that was our experience. We use TeamSpeak – which is a communicator developed for gamers – doesn’t use many computer’s resources and works well with 5+ people.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’m glad this was so timely for you, Chris! Which of the five practices do you plan to implement first?

      • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

        Probably figuring out the best collaboration app. We’re all familiar with Gmail, GoogleDocs, Salesforce, Skype, Evernote, and DropBox. All good and they have their place, but we need to figure out workflows that work best long distance. I like how Michael S. resists email, the ultimate clutter room.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Yes, I think I need to do the very same. Email doesn’t work anymore.

    • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

      Tentblogger just posted on a rental office concept that might come in handy for when you guys can get together:  http://tentblogger.com/the-box/

      Just FYI…

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Informative guest post, Michael S. It’s amazing what modern technology has made possible that just a decade ago would have been impossible. The advent of fiber optic cable connecting us all together has made the world a much smaller place. 

    Just last week, I finished up the first draft of an e-book that I was working on. I sent it to an editor and copywriter in England for review. Within hours she had made corrections and put together landing page copy for me. Even though we were thousands of miles apart and shared different currencies, we were able to do business together like we were sitting in the same office. Using Paypal to conduct business, and Gmail to communicate, made it all possible.

    What was really interesting was it was actually easier to do business with her than work with someone in person, because I didn’t have to drive or setup meetings. With the high cost of  fuel and scarcity of meeting places, this type of virtual market place is sure to grow. The hard part is developing a virtual mindset.

    While face to face meetings are helpful for building rapport, online work is nice because it minimizes distractions. As a technology person, I can actually work from home better than I can from work, since I can just login remotely and fix a machine. Working for a school district, this means I don’t have to disrupt classes that are going on. I just fix the machine and e-mail the teacher. The secret to making this work is trust. Most employers value control over trust, which makes telecommuting almost impossible for many organizations. It’s nice to see your model and how it works efficiently!

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      That’s a great point John. How can we build trust virtually? In the “business” world, the deck is heavily stacked in favor of face-to-face interactions to build trust in the first place. In a virtual business market, how would someone develop the “trust” to close the deal and get the business?

  • http://www.frymonkeys.com Alan Kay

    Control is good, but trust is better is a very good point. Being in control all the time takes a lot of energy and often unintended consequences. Building trust takes time and has fewer unexpected consequences. Still, the Germans seem to make ‘control’ work for them. I have training project from a German client to be implemented in my home country and I suspect that the reason the project exists is that there are differences between the two cultures in their understanding of control. Incidentally, they are engineers so you’d think they’d have a shared understanding.  I’m looking forward to helping them find out what works in control and what works in trust.   

  • Anonymous

    Michael S,

    I really believe in the aspect of trust working remotely demands.  I’ve led teams that are spread out and not reporting to the office but they were not world wide.  

    I always bring someone on board my team telling them, “You do not have to earn my trust.  I give it to you freely.”  The response I get is amazing and sad.  Most people have never felt trusted by their leaders.  Most people also respond in a trustworthy manner.  It’s a great situation!

    Do I get burned periodically because of this approach?  Yes.  But, if I get burned by 1 of 10 people, my other 9 feel treated like an adult and are engaged.  If I approached my team without trusting them, I would be right only 1 of 10 times.  Even a weather man should be fired for being wrong that often.  Not to mention the negative effects on my teams motivation and culture.

    I’m not a Polly Anna.  I choose to trust each person on my team until they give me a reason not to trust them.

    Thanks for the reminder on this issue.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      I like your point and I’m the same – I trust first and if they give me a reason of not trusting them I give a second chance… and then we amicably have to say good bye.

      Either way, even in a normal office – would you want to work with people you don’t trust?

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      “Trust until they give me a reason no to…” A good approach to nearly all relationships!

      • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

        Amen to that – exactly how I look at life and relationships. I believe it’s a happier approach :-)

  • http://www.thedailywalk.net Adam

    I have never lead a team remotely. If I ever do I would probably utilize some of the same methods. I think trust is important inany business whether leading from afar or on site.

    I have been wanting to look into the getting things done method. One of my goals for the year (something I blogged about yesterday) is to be more organized and efficient. I think this really could help. I think I may check out the book and online resources and start utilizing it.

    Thanks for sharing some great info.

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      Thanks for the comment Adam. I’m glad you found the post helpful.

  • http://twitter.com/peterwalters64 Peter Walters

    Thanks for the post.  I think point #5 is well taken.  I remember reading about a pastor who would only allow 3 small groups to run in his church because he only had enough time to visit 3 groups a week.  Train your people well, keep in touch and set them free.  We all flourish better when we know we are trusted.  

    • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

      That’s crazy! I love your formula, train -> keep in touch -> set them free.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’ve seen a similar approach in churches I’ve been connected with. Stifling! People left almost as fast as they came.

  • http://www.wadeoradio.com DJ Wade-O

    Great post. This describes my team to a T, with the exception of we are all in the US, just based in different states. We do the all hands on deck meeting and utilize dropbox as well as other sharing apps, but I like that hourly review. That also helps each team member better understand the other members roles a lot better.

    Do you find it difficult to trust new team members initially?

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Nope, I just trust them right away – after an interview we’ve built enough rapport to trust each other… and we go from there.

      I like this phrase in English: “benefit of a doubt” – and I try to give it to the folks I start working with :-)

      • http://www.wadeoradio.com DJ Wade-O

        Good insight. I guess if you have doubts about someone, you probably shouldn’t hire them in the first place. Thanks.

  • http://joannamuses.com/ Joanna

    While I wasn’t officially leading, I have had to deal with remote teamwork. I recently found myself in the frustrating situation of having to move to a different city to the rest of my team 5 weeks out from a mission trip that required a lot of preparation. Obviously it wasn’t viable (time or travel cost wise) to travel several hours each way for a one or two hour planning and preparation meeting so the sub-team I was in had to make a lot happen via email, facebook and google docs. 

    I think the most important thing I learned was that task delegation and expectations about roles have to be really clear when working remotely. When working together in the same space it is a bit easier to survive ill-defined expectations because it is simpler to keep tabs on what is getting done by whom and to notice neglected tasks. If you suspect something isn’t working can ask in person and resolve stuff on the spot. Working remotely it is a lot easier to just assume stuff is happening when it may not be (or to assume stuff isn’t happening when someone has it under control). I think clearer and more detailed delegation at the start might have saved us some stress about how things were coming together.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Great points Joanna! Exactly – setting expectations is the hardest part and I must say I’m very often expecting more and receiving less… but most of the time it was my mistake to begin with – I didn’t tell them what I expected – so I need to start from myself.

  • http://davidsantistevan.com/ David Santistevan

    Michael, I love your plan to do creative work before noon and responsive work after. I’m going to give that a try. Thanks.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I thought the same thing. Such a great idea.

      • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

        This works miracles for me – after one week in responsive-only mode I decided to stop and do something about it. This firm barrier of time makes wonders for me now. :-)

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Because of your advice, I tried this out yesterday. An enormously productive day because I used the morning for my creative time. Thank you, Michael!

        • Kristopher Stout

          Michael, thanks for the excellent post.  I as well find the “morning-afternoon” concept an intriguing one, and will be trying it out myself.  I have heard it said that your most naturally creative hours are in the morning…not sure how much truth there is to that, but I imagine if nothing else, energy levels are lower in the afternoon.  Why did you choose in that order?

          • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

            Why? Because first I do things and later I respond and think/worry about stuff that belongs to others. Had I changed it and first responded, I’d be thinking about these responses and other people’s lives and wouldn’t be able to focus on my creative side. That’s why, create first, respond second :-)

  • http://www.comprehensivemedia.com/ Joel W. Smith

    Michael,

    Great post!  It sounds a lot like what we do, but in the same office, (instead of working from home, we do flex time).  We’re also big GTD fans.  I encourage and challenge our team to have mini-daily reviews at the beginning and end of each day.  This helps us all stay focused and on the vision – which is a huge trust builder for the team and our clients!

    Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/chadw2 Chad Williams

    Hi Michael,
    Excellent post.  I’ve had the privilege of leading a remote company for the past seven years.  Our processes sound very similar to what Mr. Sliwinski describes, and I’m thrilled to see more and more companies taking this approach.

    There is one additional component that we have incorporated–daily “standup” meetings.  This is a short 10-15min meeting as early in the morning that timezones will allow, where everyone simply says what is on their schedule for the day.  In the vein of Verne Harnish’s book, Rockefeller Habits, we’ve found this *very* helpful for clearing possible land mines and keeping things moving forward.

    Mr. Sliwinski is so right to mention trust.  Two of our core values are trust and integrity.  Without trust and integrity–both personally and as a part of the corporate culture–it would be impossible to run a distributed company effectively. 

    On the flip-side, I have always wondered if and when a company would outgrow being 100% distributed, and have to make a decision to either stay the same size or develop a co-location.  With the company size of 18 staff, I think we near that threshold.  We’re seeing how important it is that the leadership be 100% on the same page, and moving quickly to make decisions and keep things moving forward.  We have found that to increasingly difficult in a remote setting.  So in the next 12 months, 3 of our leadership team will be co-locating to work out of the same office 3-4 days each week.   I’m excited to see how the journey progresses.

    For those interested, check out “Five Reasons for a Distributed Company” http://www.fiveq.com/blog/general/five-reasons-distributed-company/

    Blessings,
    Chad Williams

    • Rob Sorbo

      I don’t think size necessarily rules out an office like this. Best Buy’s headquarters has a home office, but they allow their employees to work from wherever they’d like.

      • http://www.facebook.com/chadw2 Chad Williams

        Agree–we’re seeing that is more tied to the roles needed for a company.  We are still definitely committed to working remotely as much as possible.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      I have no clue how this will scale – but I must say I’d have to adjust this system as I sincerely don’t want to build any office – so we’ll have to adjust it and make it happen as we grow. We’re 9 now, soon to be around 20, we’ll see next year!

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    Outstanding!  In my former position I was supervising teams spread across Asia.  This was before online collaboration tools were as widespread as they are today, so I have a particular interest in this topic.

    I continue to be amazed at how little we grasp the importance of evaluating the nature of an interaction before we chose a medium to communicate.  As relational beings, when we fail to pay attention to the emotional impact (when we want to control and fail to trust) of the method we communicate with those we lead from a distance, we virtually guarantee problems going forward.

    I have a current series on the topic.  The first post is here:  http://wp.me/p25BBq-jA
    and the next installment is coming out next week.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Great posts there – I’ll be watching your series then :-)

    • Jim Martin

      Thad, just read your post.  Very good!

  • Pingback: Leading at a Distance: The Challenge of Communicating | Thad Thoughts()

  • Lib

    I operate my “semi-retirement” high tech but low stress professional pet sitting and dog walking service in three cities.  All of our business practices are internet based and work beautifully.  All the employees work from home and many have other full-time jobs.  We all enjoy what we do as a stress reliever and get our exercise at the same time.  Clients fall in love with us and visa versa.  We have a  third party vendor that allows our clients to evaluate “how we are doing” which gets posted to our website to make sure we are staying in step.  The key is finding the right people and from there it is pretty much smooth sailing.  My goal is not to micro-manage but monitor that we are doing a good job and all are having fun, including the fur, feathered, and finned babies.  By the way, our pet babies do get evaluated…all get a “pet report card”.  :)

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Sounds like fun!

  • http://levittmike.wordpress.com levittmike

    Great post (as usual!) I work with other senior leaders, that have their team (almost) within arms reach of them.  The team members and senior management seem to be in constant contact with each other.  Some might call this great collaboration, although from a short distance, it has a bit of micro-management flavor.

    My team is across the office from me.  I have to walk around a block of cubicles to interact with them.  I trust them to do their jobs, and they do a great job of keeping me updated of their tasks.

    Doing what they say they will do makes it easy to trust their work habits.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    I’m in the beginning stages of leading a remote team. I do social media marketing for businesses, and recently I have adding to my team remotely. It has grown me in the area of making sure my communication is right on. It reminds me that not everyone thinks the way I do. 

    I do, however, have to get better at my own time management. I work full-time, go to school part-time, in the middle of writing a book, keeping my blog up five days/week, and trying to have a social life. 

    I’ve got to get better at not feeling overwhelmed and making my time work better. 

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      The fight at better time-management never ends – but step by step the small victories help :-) Especially slowly building up good habits :-) Good luck!

      • Jim Martin

        Michael, I like what you said in this comment.  How true!  The small victories really do help and can give encouragement to persevere.  

        Would love to hear you comment sometime on what good habits you think are especially important regarding time.  (As a person who is attentive to GTD, I think the Weekly Review is very helpful with this.)

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Totally agree!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      When you figure that out, let me know. ;)

      • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

        You bet Michele! :)

  • Rob Sorbo

    That sounds like a very rewarding company to work for!

    How do you “turn on” at home when it’s time to do work? I’m afraid I would watch TV all day if I tried working from home.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Thanks – I’m trying to make my company like this :-)

      I naively think working from home is easy if you love your work. I love mine. It’s more difficult to switch off and treat home as home rather than office :-)

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        That was going to be my question. How do best turn off so that home feels like home? I work in an office and I sometimes already have difficulty leaving work at work.

        • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

          Me too.  I talk about much of my office related stuff with my wife, when I should be focusing more on her during that time.

          • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

            It’s tough to put stop to working – especially if the company is yours :-) But my wife makes sure I switch off. My 3-year old helps, too. When she marches to my home office after 5 pm I have no choice but to play with her.

            I have a dedicated room to my home office and I love it. And it has a great feature: door that can be closed from the outside – meaning – I shut off my work and focus on my family. 

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            That is very necessary.  My goal is to become fully present when with my wife and kids.  Not distracted by other things, as much as possible.

      • Rob Sorbo

        Good point. I do often find myself thinking about work and checking my work e-mail from home. I would probably need to set up a distraction-free work area, but I could probably get the hang of working from home if I loved my job.

  • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

    I’d like to comment on the issue of trust – Derek Sievers in his book “Anything You Want” that “when you make a company, you make a utopia… you design your perfect world” – well, in my perfect world everybody is trustworthy. The same we apply to our customers – we trust they won’t cheat our system. We trust our team. If someone proves not to be trust worthy, I think the key is to “fail quickly” and just say good-bye ASAP. In the long run I want to work in my “utopian” company where we trust each other and love what we do :-)

  • http://www.lincolnparks.com Lincoln Parks

    I absolutely love the All Hands on meeting and conference call. I need to implement this with my team. It’s always good to check in and hold an accountability sort of call. This is awesome and I will implement this immediately.

    • http://twitter.com/JaysonFeltner Jayson Feltner

      I think you’ll find that this helps your company exponentially.  But a word of advice I learned the hard way, don’t let it get too long and make sure the conversation is driven in such a way that everyone is engaged.  Otherwise your team members will grow to dread this meeting and it will kill all the reward.  You’re the leader so you have the duty to lead the conversation in a way that will benefit your organization.

      • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

        Good point Jayson – trying to make sure we make it in max 1 hour and that everyone speaks up is the most important part of this meeting!

  • http://mostlyquestions.wordpress.com Bernard Shuford

    I can’t imagine how crazy this kind of job could be.  Not sure I could work like this, but you offer some great tips for the rest of us, too.

  • http://deuceology.wordpress.com Larry Carter

    This is very inspiring considering I lead a team where everyone is within 20 feet of each other.

  • Michelle Harper

    This is a great post and there is a dirth of information out there on this subject, although increasingly more and more of us are working from home and managing people remotely.   I’m presently in my third post working remotely for companies.  A few years ago, there was nothing out there other than books on home based businesses so I was so pleased to see this article.  I’d suggest there was a publishing opportunity here.  I’d love to find a book or two on this subject.   Thanks, again.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Thanks Michelle, I’m actually contemplating writing more on this subject, having a few years of experience there and a thesis on “Telecommuting” written back in college. Maybe there would be a book there :-)

    • Michelle Harper

      I think so

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    I have never had to lead a team remotely but I really like the principles I can pull from this. It is so important to be regularly meeting with your team, even when they are all close by. I also split my day up into responsive and creative. It really works for me. Usually creative is after noon and responsive is before. I have tried to do it differently but my brain just wont let me.

    • Jim Martin

      Brandon,  your comment is a reminder to me how we are all wired differently.  While I am more creative in the mornings, I have had to realize that not everyone is wired that way and I need to appreciate that.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Agreed.  But I have to say that things can change.  I used to be an afternoon creative.  But now I’m seeing myself become more and more of a morning get things done kind of guy.  It’s very interesting to me.

        • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

          This does change – and we can change it. I used to be an owl, too, but now I became an early riser and a morning person… and I like it.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            Strangely, I like it as well.  I never though I’d ever say that! ;)

  • Anonymous

    Really good article. Thanks. I’ll try that weekly review.

  • http://www.cheriblogs.info Cheri Gregory

    When I was a Sales Director for a direct sales company, I led a team that was spread all over the US. (My favorite training trips were to Hawaii! Tough job, but somebody had to do it…)

    This was back in the days of Web 1.0, so all the collaborative, personal, customizable methods we’re so accustomed to now were not available. We did use an “e-mail loop” (for those who remember that term!) and when free conference calling became available, we jumped on that big time.

    One thing I especially enjoyed was making short “check in” calls to my leaders and rising hot shots. I’d literally set a 5 minute timer (a loud one!) before dialing. The content ran the gamut from cheering about a huge sales event to swapping colicky baby stories. If a training issue arose from the call, we’d schedule a future time to process it. (I wanted everyone to be able to count on a 5-minute check in call to last only 5 minutes!)

    These quick check in calls gave me plenty of timely material for my team newsletters. And they helped us build strong sense of T.E.A.M despite our physical distance.

  • http://twitter.com/JaysonFeltner Jayson Feltner

    Creating a “Creative Time” where you can work without interruption is so important!  I love that you put that in there.  I have a whole post on that concept on my blog.  In today’s society people feel like you should be at their beck and call from 9 – 5, but with all that interruption, how are you expected to set strategy and lead your company?

    • Jim Martin

      Jayson, good point!  Sometimes it can incredibly difficult to regroup after being interrupted during creative times.  I am seeing that far too often, I have allowed e-mails and texts to interrupt this time.  It is so helpful to periodically unplug so that I can really think.

  • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

    Michael,
    Well put! I especially relate to point #3 Scheduling time strategically… and how you said, “Without this you can find yourself in response mode all day long,” so true! The two categories you identified are genius. Creative time and response time.

    I have never led a remote team… am actually a stay at home mom at present but love learning about these things.  My husband and I are working on launching our own business and would like to be location independent as you are! Awesome inspiration. Thank you.

    • Jim Martin

      Claudia, I also like Michael’s two categories.  (I also like that they are clear and memorable.)  Unless I am intentional about how I will use my time, I’ve found that my default tends to be responsive.  

      • http://rise365.com Claudia Good

        True, true Jim! This is what I was taught growing up and this is what I tend to default to (like you) unless I am intentional not to.  

  • http://twitter.com/JaysonFeltner Jayson Feltner

    Here is the link to my post on how to handle your email to create more time for creative thinking.

    http://jaysonfeltner.com/2012/01/minimize-your-time-lost-with-outlook/ 

    I don’t want to spam the comments section with links but I saw a few below.  Community Leaders, just let me know if you’d like me to take it down.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Jayson, it shouldn’t be a problem as long as it’s related to the post.

  • Dieter

    Hi, just a small comment from Germany: There is indeed a saying “trust is good, but control is better”, but in Germany it is generally attributed to  Lenin (though no one knows if he really did say this) and it is usually quoted as an example that communist ideology should be considered inhuman. So people mostly use it as a counter-example of how things should be run.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Dieter, I have nothing against Germans – didn’t want it to sound this way – I just remember the exact phrase in German that’s why I quoted it. I used to live and study in Germany and had a time of my life there (and I keep coming back!)

  • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

    As a member of a team located in several different states, I REALLY resonate with this post.  Communication is key in this situation.  I especially appreciated the line that “email was not designed for online collaboration.”  I’ve been using Nozbe for about a month now….love it!  It’s the task management solution I’ve been looking for.  Thanks Michael S. for sharing….really was helpful

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Thanks Joy for your support and for using Nozbe. Glad my post helped – we still learn as we go and try to improve our communication in any way we can :-) This is key.

  • http://www.transformingleader.org/ Wayne Hedlund

    Just checked out Nozbe. Looks very promising! I’ve been using ToodleDo to manage my tasks but this looks to be simpler to use with the same functionality.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    Great information, Michael!  With my leadership being focused in the local church, most of this doesn’t have a direct application in my life.  But the principles of leadership remain the same regardless:  weekly reviews, consistent communication, strategic time management, resource sharing (I use Nozbe, as well), and trust.

    I also like the idea of a yearly retreat.  This is a reality that I understand, but find it hard to implement with my team, since most of them work full time jobs, and volunteer in ministry with me.  It’s hard for them to be able to take a week off, without it eating up their family vacation.  So I’m looking for a creative way around this.

    Thanks for the great information!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Hey Jeff!  At our church, for the past several years we have strongly encouraged our members to attend  the annual 
      WCA Global Leadership Summit 
      .  We attend a local simulcast site and do one or two breakout meetings (usually over meals) exclusive to our church members.  It is a huge bonding experience.     

      We have about sixty volunteers (or 5% of our Sunday attendance) who each pay $100 conference fee and take off work for two consecutive days each year to attend.  It is the most productive leadership activity of our year.  Our leaders talk about it all year long and can’t wait to go back again the following year!

      The only cost to the church is the two meals and sometimes we’ll provide a partial scholarship for a vested leader who earnestly cannot afford the full conference fee.

      I hope this gives you some ideas…

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        Great information!  Thanks!

        My dream is to create something for my volunteers, involved in my youth ministry, that is geared exactly towards what we are trying to accomplish in this ministry, not just a general leadership conference.  That said, I know I can’t bring the level of expertise that WCA or G5 can bring. 

        Perhaps if I paired the two… Hmmm….

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Jeff, we have the same issue with the leaders in our youth group. Almost everyone is working full time with hours that are varying. This can create tension trying to plan meetings and a yearly time out together.

      We’ve found taking a 2-3 day retreat works well. Most leaders are able to make it and they don’t have to take an extended time off of work.

      • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

        That’s a great idea, and one I’ve used in the past.  I haven’t had such great results with that in this location however.  And I don’t really understand why. 

        • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

          Sorry to hear you haven’t had much success with it at your current location. Keep trying different ways and you’ll find something that will work.

          • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

            I know it will.  Thanks for the encouragement!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Though we work from different locations, we always get collaborate through skype and webex at regular intervals. My supervisor from Malayasia does a great job of organizing virtual meeting to take stock of situation at periodic time-limits. To me, at the end, he gets his work done from us. Though our team is based in India, he is able to supervise us effectively from Malaysia itself.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Sounds like the remote work situation works well for you Uma. Have you found any challenges with your boss being remote?

  • http://twitter.com/Ethos3 Ethos3

    Great advice! While our team is mostly located in the same area, we’ve recently adopted the ROWE system, so many days some of us work from home. You’re absolutely right, trust is better. Trusting your team to actually do their job, rather than micro-managing every detail, is much more effective and leaves you with a happy team. Thanks for sharing! 

  • http://www.isthatyoulord.blogspot.com Shelly Faust

    This blog is one of my weekly classes. I always take away great advice and just the tools I need to help me push through, overcome or reach the next level. And this morning, I also learned a new phrase: GTD aficionado (yes I had to look it up). Thanks for this post!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      That’s exactly how I look at this blog, Shelly, as an education!   The tuition rate is pretty good, too!

      • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

        John, I wholeheartedly agree. I’m an avid reader of Mike’s and read each of his posts on this blog… that’s why I’m so humbled to be able to write and share my 2 cents as a guest post today! :-)

  • http://www.activechristianmedia.com/ Stacy Harp

    I really enjoyed this post,  It’s always interesting to hear how people do things in this internet age when so many of us work  with people in different locations.  I run an internet radio program and I produce some of the shows of my hosts, and it’s fun to use internet chatting, or Skype or just simple email to communicate with them about what’s going on while we are on the air.  What makes it even more amazing is having listeners in Australia and New Zealand that tune in live, when we’re on the air, and then connecting with my host who is Texas, while I’m located in Southern California.  The internet has made the world small for sure, and thankfully there are great products that keep up connected.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Wow, amazing, Stacy!  Who would have imagined, ten years ago, a business that could touch so many people across the globe at once?

      • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

        Tell me about it… I still can’t believe this is happening and folks are reading this from all over the world and using my tool from the furthest parts of the planet… this is so… empowering :-) You really feel your work means something.

  • http://twitter.com/dennisbrooke Dennis Brooke

    As a Program Manager I’ve had to do a lot of leadership of remote teams. Michael’s point about a weekly review is right on. A weekly team review is the right time frame from my point of view. More often is micromanaging (showing lack of trust) and less often lets things slide.
    I like his concept of setting the morning as creative time and the afternoon as response time. I’m going to try this myself.
    Excellent advice!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Your comment about the weekly review is so true, Dennis.   I like Chet Holmes name for this.  He calls it an “impact meeting”.  He describes how to make it a very productive use of time his book “The Ultimate Sales Machine”.

  • Judy K

    This information is also very timely! At the beginning of this year in my personal development plan I listed the “need to find more information about leading a remote team.” So, I am being helped here. Some of our challenges are travel schedules, differing technology abilities, a few of our team are in developing countries so their internet and finances are lacking and lastly, the time differences from Vancouver, Canada to Western Europe and Africa!

    I am very needy and open to other suggestions for reading and learning!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Hey Judy, this post is right up your alley!  If you haven’t already, it sounds like you may want to reconsider implementation of some technology standards, like Michael S. has done in #4 above, to ensure great communication throughout your organization. 

      Best of luck as you improve your business!

  • Corporate Real Estate

    Great thoughts, as one who has worked largely remotely for the last decade and managed teams or professionals ranging from a few to a dozen who likewise are remotely scattered around the country.

    A few other thoughts to add:

    1) It takes a certain type of person to pull off working remotely from home.  Extroverts who feed off of people tend to struggle more with it than introverts who by nature get more done in a distraction free environment.  If they can flex their time working from home, task-oriented self-starters will put more time in and get more done than they would if forced to abide by a set of strict hours plus drive a commute.

    2) Speaking of a distraction-free environment: you really need to have a quiet office someplace in your home with a shut door to have no distractions.  I rarely have television or radio on unless it is one of those rare times when I am doing something monotonous, like expense reports, that doesn’t require focus or multi-tasking.   Yet, I have team members who function well with all kinds of stimuli going at them.  Everyone is different and you have to manage results, not time or environments.

    3) It is hard to stop working when you work at home.  I have found two things that help:

    First, I never ever work in PJs unless I am doing personal writing or desk work.  Somehow my brain has become wired such that I just can’t work any more in PJ’s.  So when the work days is over I take off the jeans or slacks and get sleepwear on.  And in the morning, I get dressed before I tackle much work beyond a blackberry message. 

    Second, sometimes I will take a run in the afternoon as a point of demarcation between work and family.

    4) Getting together at least once a year is highly recommended, though not always possible from a budget standpoint.  But when I am in their city I try to arrange for dinner or breakfast.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Excellent thoughts!  My favorite quote is under #2) “Everyone is different and you have to mange results, not time or environment”.    

      That’s a huge leadership lesson that can be applied to many situations!

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Not everyone is suited for this kind of work – that’s definitely true – that’s why hiring is more demanding and making sure the person really wants to work remotely is key. I’ve had my bad experiences with wrong hires, too. People who really need an office and can’t work from home – it’s important to help them move on and find someone who fits the bill.

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    “Control is good, but trust is better” is a very valid point.

    • http://www.comprehensivemedia.com/ Joel W. Smith

      Indeed!

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Agreed, Daren!  It’s especially illustrative as the opposite of an old German quote.

  • http://newvintageleadership.com Tim Spivey

    Michael, I’m a huge Nozbe fan. I’m a church planter and we have operated over a year with no offices…though we all live in the same Metro area (San Diego). We meet twice a week for about an hour and a half. We use GMail, google docs, etc., as you’ve suggested. Keep up the good work.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Thanks Tim!

  • Katherine

    I actually have a question for Michael S.: How do you deal with the time zone issue when scheduling meetings? The team I am part of has members from Pennsylvania to Hawaii—fewer time zones than yours covers, but enough to be troublesome. If I set aside certain hours of the day for uninterrupted work, those hours might be the only ones that overlap with a given colleague’s working hours, so he would not be able to get hold of me except on his free time.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Well, you deal it as with anything else  :-) You agree on it.

      For example, I’ve recently had a meeting with a guy from Pacific time and guys from Japan – it was 11 pm in Japan, 7 am in California and 3 pm at my place – and we made it happen. It’s hard, but if folks want to do it, it’s doable.

      Same goes to me – I live in Europe and most of the stuff I do is related to the USA – so very often I get to talk to folks at 10 or 11 pm my time. My wife has to forgive me sometimes that I need to “work” by being on a “meeting” with a person from America in the evening. Try not to make it to frequent, but it happens.

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  • Anonymous

    Thank you Michael and Michael. I really enjoy reading and learning more about leading people and getting new ideas. I really appreciate Mr. Hyatt for taking on guest bloggers in order to let his readers experience new ideas.

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Ron, I enjoy it too. It creates a great sense of community and a change of pace. It’s also nice to be introduced to new, creative thinkers.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mato.attila Attila Mátó

    Great post. 
    One question:what project management application do you use?

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      The one I built :-)

  • http://christianassociates.org/ Rob Fairbanks

    Thanks for this blog post.  A huge need for us.  I lead an organization that is almost exclusively dispersed (mostly W. Europe and the U.S.).  It has been one of the, if not the biggest challenges we face.  Relationality is one of our key values and finding ways to not only stay connected, but emotionally satisfied is difficult.

  • Anonymous

    Hi Michael! This is a great post.  We deal with companies all of the time that are in your situation and we advocate a lot of these same tips. We also work on a lot of different collaborative projects within the company and find that weekly meetings are a very effective tool to GTD.  Great stuff – hope more people take these things into consideration. 

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      Totally. I think the future of work is headed towards this direction – not everyone will have to work like this, but many more than now.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    If remote means 3 hours from the nearest McDonald’s (by plane), then, yes. :-)

    “… control is good, but trust is better …” reminds me of “…trust but verify …” I know my wife works with a boss who would agree with “control is good.” Just today, Ellen offered her boss a helping hand with moving some chairs because she knew the boss had a back problem. The response was “I’ll do it myself.” When Ellen pressed, the response became, “Because I’m the boss.” That leaves my wife cold and, though both capable and accomplished, feeling less than appreciated.

    • http://www.nozbe.com/ Michael Sliwinski

      I think the ego of your wife’s boss is just too big. When you lead from a distance your ego should be kept constantly at the lowest level possible… when you lead locally it should be actually at the same low level.

      • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

         “low level” = humility and that attitude draws people in. An I’m-the-boss attitude alienates. My wife did make a childish retort. “Fine. Don’t come complaining to me when your back hurts.” She later apologized for the remark which opened the door for her boss to say, “I shouldn’t have pulled the I’m-the-boss card.”

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Michael, that sounds like quite the team you have. The trust you have in your team must energize them and give them confidence that they can do what needs to be done.

    As for me, I’ve never led a remote team though the idea is intriguing. Maybe once I’ve built my brand and have something that needs a team, it will be done remotely.

    • Kimberly Adams

      Sorry to be jumping in, I know I’m not Michael. But I thought you may want to know- this post is a guest post, it’s not from Michael Hyatt himself. :)

    • Kimberly Adams

      You know, I replied to you… but it seems I’m the one mixed up. :) My apologies!

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        It’s alright Kimberly. I felt weird saying Michael because it wasn’t Michael Hyatt but a different Michael. It’s all good!

  • http://talesofwork.com kimanzi constable

    Great post, this will be helpful once my internet business takes off!

  • Kimberly Adams

    Hi Michael!
    Just letting you know that there is a small grammatical error in the post- step 4, ” E-mail is great, but it wasn’t been built for online collaboration. ” I believe the “been” needs to be removed. Hope it helps!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have to take responsibility for that. I (supposedly) edited the post! Thanks for your help. I have fixed it.

  • http://www.hope101.net Lori Tracy Boruff

    Great take away!  Thank you!

  • Constance Buckley

    My team building is not remote, but in trying to improve my skill level, I stumbled across The Definitive Drucker written by Elizabeth Haas Edersheim with the subtitle of Challenges for Tomorrow’s Executives – Final Advice from the Father of Modern Management. What a resource! I enjoyed your article. Thank you.

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  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    Really useful. I have led teams from afar for years. Great tips here!

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    The physical absence! We as a team find this as a great disadvantage. We always like our boss to be around us atleastonce in every six months.

  • Edwin Sarmiento

    Weekly meeting updates are essential to keep the team in the loop and stay focus. One of the challenges of remote teams is when members have to deal with fulfilling time requirements.Information workers should be measured by the results they produce,not the amount of time they spend completing a task.Unfortunately,that is not the case for most organizations who employ information workers.I do hope that mindset changes in the long run.

    Communication is also very important.If necessary,drop the email and pickup the phone.It helps convey the emotion that email sometimes miscommunication.I can’t count how many times a remote colleague has expressed how thankful they were for hearing a voice behind the emails

  • http://twitter.com/jasonmatyas Jason Matyas

    Some great thoughts here.  As a consultant and startup entrepreneur working in several different ventures, all with different teams, managing teams of people (and multiple teams simultaneously) is something I think about every day.  As a technology enthusiast, I’m much more willing to implement good tools and methods than most – the challenge is often getting people to fully buy in to the method/tool.  Especially difficult is when others on the team are, like me, juggling multiple projects or other ventures, which makes the good use of collaborative methodology and technology even more important.

    One of my ventures, http://www.freedomfilmdistributors.com, also has a team of independent distributors across the country that need leadership and support, though at a lower level of involvment that the management team.  While email still is the primary form of communication for this group, I use tools like Eventbrite to schedule conference calls, record the audio and post it for those who couldn’t attend, and Mailchimp (with their keychain system of accessing subordinate email marketing accounts) to lead and support this distributed team.  I’ve had a remote marketing apprentice since late last year, and have been implementing project management control using Microsoft’s Office 365, which provides robust toolsets through their SharePoint Online service, and allows me to have advanced tools and ultimate Outlook integration (yes, I’m one of those guys) at a very reasonable price.

    I’ve also started using SharePoint Online for managing client projects, by setting up a project workspace for each project, and providing a project timeline and task list, which keeps them informed of both what they need to complete and where the project is at.

    Above all, I rely heavily on MindManager 2012 to help me organize and prioritize the dozens of projects I’m working on at any given time, and its great Outlook integration allows me to connect the data in Outlook to the visual context in MindManager, and then be able to “push” it to SharePoint for sharing with a team.  MM 2012 even has a new Mindjet Connect service, which allows you to share mindmaps online so the team can have the same benefit of the visual context it provides.

    Since the challenges involved with this topic are something I face every day, I thought I would share some of the helpful tools I’ve found and implemented. I’d love to hear if anyone else is using any of these tools and if you’ve found any tips or tricks to share.

  • arrow soft

    I would add : relevant text links on your pages, all your web pages should be accessible from at least one text link, images and files should have in their names the keywords targeted
    Full colour Printing

  • http://www.g10ltd.com/ Fast food takeaway menu

    Fast food take away Menu I guess I’ll just sum it up what I wrote and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jaleel-Polin/537558754 Jaleel Polin

    I got the opportunity to work during more than four years in different
    global organizations in virtual teams. I am actually working on my doctoral
    research thesis in e-leadership and virtual teams. In fact, I found that issues
    pertaining to e-leadership have not yet been deeply investigated. Leaders are
    still using the conventional leadership models though they are leading in a virtual
    world. Up to now I have found the that
    the key issues affecting virtual teams and e-leadership are: cross-cultural
    communication & cultural differences, the element of trust, time-zones and reliance
    on computer mediated communication.

    Jaleel Polin
     

  • http://www.transformationalleadershiphq.com Mighty

    I’m a part of a global team, too. I’m the only one based in the Philippines and most of my colleagues are based in the United States, and another one is based in Africa. I’d say that the Weekly review is really an important means to keep each other updated and overcome the sense of “being alone” on the other side of the world. 

    great post!

  • Brandon Caroland

    I do lead five remote team leaders. My biggest take away here is using the early day for creativity. Emptying the inbox to zero is something I am tenacious about, but it could wait.

  • http://twitter.com/joshua_murry Joshua Murry

    Working from home and in front of the computer is very difficult, how much more if you’re leading the team. You need to study and learn things to keep the team motivated at work and make sure to not have any misunderstanding with their tasks.
    At our company, we use tools like Google Docs, Skype and Time Doctor (for monitoring employees’ productivity). With this, we make sure we keep communications open every time we work so that we can ask for help whenever we need to.
    Time Doctor is also very important for us. It makes us procrastinate procrastination since our attention is being called whenever we’re not doing anything productive for a long time.