Leading a Virtual Organization

Digital Ways of Working

Leading a Virtual Organization

As the whole world is undergoing a shock, we all have to adjust our ways of doing business, accelerating digital ways of working and leading teams and organizations at a distance. And although there is physical distance, these trying times can bring us even closer together. We would like to share with you some of the most interesting material we…

As the whole world is undergoing a shock, we all have to adjust our ways of doing business, accelerating digital ways of working and leading teams and organizations at a distance. And although there is physical distance, these trying times can bring us even closer together.

We would like to share with you some of the most interesting material we have come across, drawing from our own experience at Kienbaum as well as the plethora of information available online. We have grouped insights regarding leading and working in virtual organizations into four parts – 1) digital readiness (culture), 2) structure and organization, 3) creating a sense of belonging and 4) the importance of communication.

1) Digital Readiness

Digital readiness is of course of utmost importance in times of social distancing. LinkedIn’s Talent Blog offers an interesting read regarding leading, managing and working in virtual teams, including an introduction to the most popular online communication and collaboration tools (for those totally new to remote work, they also have a comprehensive course). Since the 1.5-meters society is becoming the new normal, it is crucial to look beyond tools and technology and create a sustainable, digital-ready company culture and business model. A big part of that is developing digital leadership skills, which are imperative to leading teams effectively at a distance. We have been dealing with this topic for a long time at Kienbaum, leading to a profound understanding of the Triad of Digital Leadership Skills.

To be able to keep pace with the continuous disruptive processes with far-reaching consequences, it is important to have insight into the key components that are critical to your future success. Therefore, based on our own experience and transformation, we have developed a tool to help determine your employees’ digital maturity levels and uncover their starting points and individual development potential at the levels of mind set, skill set and tool set.

2) Structure and organize

There has been a global corporate culture change on the rise which, as many other things, has been accelerated by this pandemic. Namely, top-down structures don’t work anymore, as autonomy and creativity are sought after. Connect to your people, your culture, take advantage of the technical tools available and adapt your model. Once your structure is in place, start planning and working on scenarios with each of the cross-functional teams. May you find yourself in need of assistance for organizational transformation, feel free to reach out.

3) Sense of belonging

Sense of belonging is always important, but nowadays particularly vital for mental wellbeing, morale and the functioning of remote teams. There are numerous tips on how to lead digitally, set up your teams to thrive and reproduce belonging in virtual circumstances, but our top advice is to know your people, their situation and what kind of support they need. Besides showing genuine interest, empathy and compassion, doing (online) assessments can also be helpful. They give valuable insights into personality, leadership style and team roles, and hence insight into how to manage your team members effectively. After all, each individual has their own personal manual. For example, extraverts might be especially struggling with isolation and lack of social interaction, while introverts might need to be addressed explicitly during video conferences.

Most of us have heard the phrase “it is lonely at the top”, and it is lonely at home as well. Take care of your leaders. Digital coaching can be of value to (middle) Management Teams in these challenging times, focusing on you as a leader, you and your team, and you and the organization.

4) Communication

Communication could very well be at the top of this list, but we just wanted to reiterate that communication is key to the successful execution of your remote work strategy and daily business. We would like to highlight the importance of frequency of both formal and informal communication as management, accompanied by transparency and realism. HBR summarizes the best pointers for being (emotionally) smart about your digital communication.

We look forward to starting an exchange of opinions on this topic. Whether you would like to share your experiences or reach out for advice, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to offer you digital coaching, assessments and other advisory services. In the meantime, take good care of yourselves and each other!

If you have any questions please contact Klaas Bovenhuis | E-Mail: klaas.bovenhuis@kienbaum.nl | Tel.: +31 206971410