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For many entrepreneurs, managing people can be our Achilles heel. Having started my own company with 150 team members worldwide working 100% remotely, I learned a few things about setting up a virtual team.
Doing business with team members in different locations, time zones, and cultures can certainly be a challenge. When I tell other entrepreneurs about my ever-growing remote computer, they always ask me, “How can you manage your virtual machine?”
First of all, I failed a lot. People are one of the most difficult things to climb in every business.
I hope you can learn from my failures and evaluate these four conclusions to help you manage a virtual team.
Make sure your contracts are in line with your vision
Have a very clear view of your business and make sure that person really wants to be a part of that vision. At my company, we do something called “job drafting” to make sure that not only do their skills and experience align with their role, but it’s something they can maintain.
Think about it: If you don’t have a clear vision for yourself, how can you buy your virtual machine in your vision? Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs misunderstand the value of their vision.
Related: The value of flexible management in the age of distance work
Have a clearly defined role for your remote team members
Make sure you have processes. Now, people often say, “I don’t have time for that. I’m busy. “Well, you probably do it yourself anyway, right?
You can download a free app like ScreenFlow, QuickTime or Loom. Just record what you’re doing and document it with your voice. Some call this type of documentation a standard operating procedure, but I call them Freedom Recipes. The only way to start being free and get out of your way is to start creating processes so that you can delegate your work to others.
Have an adequate communication platform
There are many instant communication applications. Some companies use Slack or Discord, while others use Skype. Use what you think is best for you and the needs of your virtual machine.
You can also use a project management application to manage your business workflow (think of Asana, Trello, ActiveCollab et al). These tools can help you create projects and tasks, assign due dates, and assign people to those tasks, allowing you to set deadlines and hold all team members accountable.
Create an experimental application process
Eveyrone seems to be an expert these days. Resumes look the same because “B-Players” have learned to make “A-Player” resumes.
Here’s an easy way to find out which applicants know what they’re talking about – let them show you. The goal of an experiential application process is to provide applicants with a real exercise to demonstrate their ability to perform. For example, we ask our applicants to listen to a 15-minute conference call and ask them for important details of the call to check their ability to take notes and determine what the important details of the call are.
We have a motto that if someone is adaptable, has a strong work ethic and really cares about their work, you can teach them to do almost anything.
Related: Distance work is here to stay: are you ready for the new way of life?
I want to give you one last piece of advice after more than eight years of creating virtual computers: it takes a different kind of person to work happily and constantly from home. They need to be self-motivated, know how to handle distractions, and have the willpower to open the computer when they want to stay in bed. That’s why it’s so important to align your employee’s work with your vision and ultimately with your own vision. If you do, it doesn’t matter if they work from home or from your office.