Many people have written about how to work remotely.
In fact, remote work is so commonplace these days that I would bet everyone knows someone that does it from time to time.
It is no longer the scary frontier it used to be. Employees and employers alike have embraced the efficiencies it brings, from cost to time savings. No desks, no commutes, less sick days, etc.
Managing a business remotely however is something different entirely.
Just like working remotely, managing remotely is firstly about trust. As CEO you need to trust your employees that they will be able to do what needs doing in your absence.
Technology makes it easy to keep on top of things. Use whatsapp or skype to keep in contact. By getting everyone in the habit of sharing what is going on in realtime via instant messaging you not only keep everyone in the loop, you also create a new level of accountability. Communicating in a closed company group is similar to communicating in the hallways. Suddenly the team members begin to step up and assume a more responsible role when the boss is only an instant message away.
Getting employees to make the right calls when they cant get hold of you is more tricky. The first step is to make sure everyone is on the same page, and that everyone knows where the business is headed. That way, if the direction is clear, the actions won’t be off course.
Think of it like herding cats. Business is complex and the way to get to the goals not always easy. Getting cats to go where you want them to is equally tricky. You know what you want but the goal post keeps changing, and plans needs to adapt on the fly. When you are not there your team needs to get the cats in the pen, and they need to know the rules of the game, and the boundaries.
Explain this and if everyone is on the same page, then herding happens wether you are down the isle or on a plane in another city.
So why is it so uncommon for CEO’s to remote manage?
In one word, control. Most CEO’s are control freaks. They get to where they are by controlling the outcomes of everything they touch.
It is not easy to let go and to trust your employees to do the right things when you are not there, but that is what it takes. Let go of being in constant and complete control, and trust your employees. You will be pleasantly surprised to see them step up to the plate, and in turn your business will blossom, even when you are not physically there.