Two of my children are in a Covid-19-driven “work-from-home” situation but are expected to continue to lead their teams as though they were still working in their facilities. They both work for major high technology companies (Google and Salesforce.com) and are based in Seattle. These companies, and many others in Seattle and around the world, have closed their facilities to prevent the spread of the virus. While this is a sensible health precaution, my children are still responsible for effectively leading their teams. This leadership includes maintaining productivity while leading their teams’ adjustments to working at home and many other virus-caused disruptions.
From a simple communications perspective, working from home isn’t a huge change for either of them. Both of their jobs have long had a virtual component so working remotely from others isn’t an entirely new experience. And they are both very comfortable using web meeting tools such as Google Hangouts, Skype and GoToMeeting to communicate with people in different locations. But just working from home is different from leading from home and, more than ever, they are expected to lead. They and many managers like them must be highly skilled leaders from their homes, which is not easy.
As many of you know, Cerebyte’s Sofia technology is designed specifically to provide remote leadership. The technology gives everyone a great leader/mentor, anywhere, anytime without physical proximity. Users of the technology don’t perceive a difference between human leadership and support and similar leadership and support from the technology. The technology has three components:
- Discovery – Sofia interviews the work-at-home leader to guide them to define and refine their leadership goals, objectives, task guidance and action plans
- Engagement – Users engage with the technology as though they are sitting next to the leader. The interaction stimulates the visual cortex in the same way that a great leader causes people to feel empowered, which, in turn releases neurochemicals associated with confidence and commitment
- Practical application – the technology guides their team to better understand the work environment, particularly their new environment, define and execute an action plan and report in as though the work-at-home leader was sitting next to them, but it can be anywhere in the world
Each of these components takes on added importance in the current work-from-home situation. Working remotely means that both the leader and the team have fewer cues about their interactions. Instead of being able to read a situation and adjust, the leadership must be more robust in the first place. Discovery enables the work-from-home leader to better define the work and communication that is needed.
Similarly, when people work-from-home, it is more difficult for everyone to stay engaged. There are many more distractions such as children and the refrigerator and many fewer social supports for staying focused. Therefore, Intensifying engagement becomes more critical in these work-from-home situations.
Finally, when people work together in a professional environment in the same facility there are many, highly interactive feedback and support mechanisms that promote productivity and real-time adjustments, most of which are missing from work-from-home environments. Great guidance with appropriate accountability become even more important.
Overall, studies of people using the Sofia technology show that 90-98% of users function as though a great leader is sitting with them. By great leader, I mean one that defines a compelling vision, creates intense engagement and helps everyone to extraordinary effectiveness and productivity. Leadership may currently be confined to homes, but technology gives them the ability to lead as though they were sitting next to their team.
Does your organization need you and other managers to lead productively from home during the virus lock down? If so, then please contact me at [email protected] or call us at (888) 355-0213 to discuss now the Cerebyte team and our Sofia technology can help. Stay safe and healthy everyone!