Navigating Icebergs with Trust in a Remote Company
Many teams are struggling to adapt to the new norm of remote work. In this talk, we look at the challenges of building trust and healthy information flow in a remote environment, then discuss strategies for creating a successful remote work culture.
The speaker’s previous company, Collage.com, was a pioneer in remote work, featured in a Harvard Business School case study. One principle that he applied was to treat every piece of bad news like the tip of an iceberg.
Word travels quickly in an office, but languishes in silos when people have no avenue for casual conversation. Remote leaders must recognize that issues are probably 10x worse by the time they hear about them and recalibrate accordingly.
Trust also forms naturally when people share the same space, but requires deliberate cultivation in a remote setting. A culture of transparency where leaders actually admit mistakes is aspirational in an office, but essential in a distributed environment. Without it, people won’t even reveal the tips of the icebergs and leaders will be blind to what is happening in their organization.
We conclude with a cautionary tale about what can happen when leaders apply the expectations of an office to a remote team.
After bootstrapping Collage.com from 0 to $86m revenue and a private equity sale, Kevin Borders started minware to make software engineering easy for everyone. minware embodies lessons learned growing a remote engineering team to make creating great software as easy as riding a bike.