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Sustaining Culture Across Distributed Teams

This vision of the new organization is collectively held and supported by the top leadership. Goal setting needs to be clear and simplified to understand how each one is contributing to the overall strategy of the company.


The concept of working “away from the office” or “from home” is not a recent development. In 2003 already, we worked in virtual teams and also managed projects, improvements virtually.


As long as organizations had policies to allow it, employees could effectively perform their work from outside the confines of their work across multiple industries, especially knowledge workers. As technology improved rapidly, the internet gained traction and more people had access to faster Wi-Fi, remote working became a viable alternative. Global business travel shot up, companies had to invest in policies and technology, such as remote working and video conferencing to enhance their productivity as well as customer experience.


The current worldwide crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has, in fact, been the real test of the “digital-first” business practices we have been commending for the world of Industry 4.0 over the years. While resilience has probably been at the forefront of every company strategy in this disrupted hour, it is focussing on the right factors that are a reflection of the company culture that will ensure competitiveness.


For businesses to maintain their organizational culture we need to re-evaluate where and how they must be strong and/or flexible, involving the following changes at the workplace:


Re-imagine performance frameworks

Formerly, businesses succeeded by capturing value from competitors, customers, and suppliers for their shareholders. In today’s agile workplace, however, successful businesses need to have more objective and fact-based performance frameworks that are not bound by annual appraisal but rely heavily on real-time feedback. The focus needs to be on building manager capability, infuse empathy in digital mediums of communication yet focus on result orientation. Leaders will not only lead people but will also lead work and will be recognized for the results generated.


Trust and empower

This is a difficult time for people across the globe and imbibing the now popular phrase ‘We are in this together’ not just in words but in action, is the need of the hour. It is important for employers to believe in their staff and understand that everyone is dealing with these difficult times in their own ways while getting the work done. Showing empathy, providing space to perform, and being objective yet clear on expectations will help build trust in delivery and will empower managers to be more comfortable with distributed work without active supervision. It is important to provide psychological safety, help in adjusting the dimensions of behavior change socially and intellectually.


Foster an Inclusive culture

As the culture evolves it will become more and more important than hierarchies will vanish, work and outcomes will lead to organizational success. It will present us with opportunities to include ideas, new voices as we learn to deal with empathy and will help us create a culture where ideas are encouraged, delivery is rewarded and people are respected. managers will need to be trained to be more self-aware of biases and eliminate them consciously as teams prepare to operate in the new normal.


These are key points for a company to push through this crisis and enable the new working way. This is the cultural leadership we need in these difficult times. Cultural Leadership is what will motivate your employees to perform in the best way. At EIU Paris, we offer a Cross Cultural Leadership workshop with Dr. Finn MAJLERGAARD, 30 years international experience in corporate cultures, DBA at International School of Management. You will learn to turn cultural conflicts into sources of synergies and boost your business.


Join for online or on-site workshop: https://eiu-workshops.com/management-ol

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