Manager’s Action Plan
If your going-remote plan includes the need to convince your boss, then the first step is to complete the Questionnaire for Individuals: Are You Ready to Work Remotely? This is because the ammunition you’ll need for convincing your boss will come from your written-out YES answers to the various questions; those answers will demonstrate you’ve got what it takes to make your remote venture a success. (Ideally you’ll have very few items—if any—remaining in your NOT YET camp before you broach the subject with your boss.)
Download and complete the MANAGER’S ACTION PLAN:
COMMIT TO PROVIDING STRONG, EMPATHIC, FLEXIBLE LEADERSHIP
- Read Chapter 7: Commit and Lead, Trust and Succeed.
- Consider if you believe the team can succeed.
- If you don’t yet believe, write out all the reasons you don’t yet believe it. If you do believe, skip to item #8 (“Consider if you trust …).
- For each reason you don’t believe, consider what would be necessary to happen for you to come to believe it. (Let’s call these possibilities.)
- For each possibility: consider if there is something you could do to initiate or facilitate a possibility becoming reality.
- Get the ball rolling on each possibility you can initiate or facilitate in some way.
- Write out any reasons you do believe; try to add to the list over time.
- Consider if you trust your team members to come through with what they commit to.
- If you don’t yet (fully) trust, write out any reason you don’t trust. If you do trust, skip to the next section: “Ensure Team Members Have the Basic Tools They Need.”
- For each reason you don’t trust, consider what would be necessary to happen for you to come to trust. Consider initiating steps that would help develop that trust.
- Write out any reasons you do trust; try to add to the list over time.
ENSURE TEAM MEMBERS HAVE THE BASIC TOOLS THEY NEED
- Computer (desktop or laptop)
- External monitors or keyboard (if necessary)
- Modem (DSL/Wi-Fi/Ethernet, etc.)
- Webcam capability
- Video-friendly set up/space/screen
- Access to company email (such as with Outlook or Mac Mail) via the company server
- Access to phone numbers and email addresses
- Access to the files they’re currently working on
- Virtual private network (VPN) access if necessary
For those in the office (if partly distributed):
- Quiet/private space and technology for video calls
- Guaranteed space for remote workers to use on the days they need to work on-site (sometimes called “hot” desks)
- Guaranteed space (such as a meeting or conference room) for collaborative working as a group
ENSURE YOUR TEAM IS SAVVY WITH THOSE TOOLS
12. Provide training when appropriate.
13. Check in with everyone to learn who needs extra support.
EXPLORE REMOTE-FRIENDLY TOOLS AND PRACTICES
14. Read Chapter 8: Facilitate Their Success with Leadership, Alignment, and a Full Arsenal. Consider what tools and practices might be best for your particular personnel, objectives, and circumstances; take notes along the way.
15. Review “Technology & Tools” in the RESOURCES section. Flag (and perhaps research further) any that seem like viable candidates.
CONSIDER THE TEAM AGREEMENT
16. Read Chapter 9: Tune Your Team with a Team Agreement; take notes along the way.
17. Review the Remote Team Agreement template (TA template).
18. Tweak the TA template based on your research thus far, especially concerning ideal tools and practices. Include any descriptions or URLs that will help the team consider each option.
19. Distribute the template to the team, requesting they review it on their own. They should consider which tools and practices they’d like to try out, noting their preferences and preparing explanations for their choices.
20. Schedule a meeting to discuss the TA.
DISCUSS THE TEAM AGREEMENT
Note: ideally the TA template would be visible to all, such as on a physical or virtual white board or even on a document printout. If time allows, the goal is to decide on a mutual agreement at the end of the discussion.
21. During the TA discussion meeting, walk your team through the template, having them weigh in on their preferences. Remind them that the point is to consider what the team will try out (first); nothing is to be set in stone.
22. Adjust the template as the meeting progresses, as applicable.
23. Request a final vote on the adjusted agreement.
24. Distribute the approved document or ensure it’s accessible to all (such as in a Google Doc).
ACTUALIZE THE TEAM AGREEMENT
25. Schedule and assign all action steps called for in the final agreement. This includes:
26. Ensure all team members have access to the selected tech and tools—and that they get savvy with them.
27. Provide training and/or extra support as appropriate.
28. Schedule a time to check in regarding completing the actualization process—meaning, getting all the elements in place. Thereafter, the team will put all items in the TA into practice.
29. Schedule a time to check in regarding how that TA practice is going.
30. Schedule a time to check in (perhaps three to six months after implementation) regarding the TA to reassess its efficacy. Tweak the TA as applicable.
31. Schedule regular, periodic TA check-ins. (Some teams revisit their TA every six months or every time there is a change in personnel, whichever comes first.)
RUN EFFECTIVE MEETINGS
32. Read the “Run Effective Meetings” section of Chapter 10: Bring It All Together.
33. Consider your tech/tools back-up plan in case your tech fails. This includes knowing to whom you can assign the role of dealing with on-the-spot tech challenges.
34. Consider which icebreakers would likely be effective for your team. List out as many as you can research within a reasonable amount of time so you have them handy for weeks to come.
35. Consider how you could keep track of action items to recap later.
36. Consider how participants could indicate they wish to speak. (With video meetings, this could be to raise one’s hand until acknowledged. With audio-only meetings, a participant could use instant messaging to indicate that they want to jump into the conversation.)
37. Consider how you as facilitator can acknowledge a participant’s wish to speak.
38. Consider ways you and/or participants could use ELMO if they want to reign in a wandering discussion.
39. Consider what tools you could use to help participants visualize the discussion.
BOOST MORALE—BY EXPRESSING APPRECIATION AND CELEBRATING SUCCESS
40. Read the “Boost Morale” section of Chapter 10: Bring It All Together.
41. Consider practices you could implement to ensure that everyone feels that you value their contribution—such as offering Tinggly experiences or sending a Kudobox.co “kudo card.” Note that this would be in addition to whatever ways you participate in the peer-to-peer appreciation practiced by the team as a whole (and as decided on in the team agreement).
CONTINUALLY STRENGTHEN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH EACH TEAM MEMBER
42. Create a checklist of items to discuss with each team member—including expressing appreciation for their specific contributions and efforts. Some discussion questions include:
* Do you feel comfortable with all the tools we’ve chosen to use?
* Do you feel you get enough support from me?
* Are you happy with the work you’re doing?
* Is there anything you need to help you be more productive?
* Are there any impediments that I can help to address?
* Do you feel valued on the team?
* Schedule repeating, periodic conversations with each member.
43. Schedule any action items that result from each discussion.