Remote work models were gaining interest from companies worldwide because of their potential for better production, flexibility, efficient use of technology, and the option to build teams all over the world. A remote work world presents unique challenges for workers on all levels of a company.
C-suite executives, for example, hold a great deal of power and company responsibility at all times, so they’ll be required to step up their ability to promote efficiency in this new work environment.
Here are five tips for decision-making quality and efficiency that C-suite professionals can implement to navigate a semi-remote or remote work landscape successfully.
Five Tips for C-Suite Decision-Makers in a Remote World
Remote work becoming the norm has undoubtedly transformed the way workers on all levels of the company do their jobs, communicate with one another, and prepare for the future.
C-suite executives face unique challenges in a remote world because of the responsibility and power in their respective positions. Quality decisions and increased efficiency will be top of the list of priorities for maintaining a connected, productive workplace.
Here are five tips for C-suite executives looking to make quality decisions and increase efficiency in a remote work landscape.
Build the Right Team Around You
You’ve probably taken a closer look at your team since shifting to a semi or fully remote work model. Who is on your team, how well they work together, and how productive each member is individually are essential components to building the right team.
C-suite executives must surround themselves with the right team of people who can think and work at a high level. For example, as a Chief Executive Officer, you want to surround yourself with fellow senior executives that understand your company’s overall growth goals and their respective roles in achieving those goals. Your Chief Information Officer should be ready to lead the charge in technology. Your Chief Operating Officer should be on top of all things operation. And your Chief Accounting Officer should be prepared to assist your Chief Financial Officer with organizational bookkeeping, regulatory compliance, and other accounting essentials.
Not only should your primary team of senior executives be tight-knit, but you should also build a team of great employees, partners, suppliers, distributors, and so on. The right team around you will make the work more manageable in a remote world. With forward-thinking, flexible, dedicated team members across the board, you’re more likely to maintain productivity in a less controlled environment that the remote work brings.
If you haven’t already, take a thorough look at your team and how they work together. Also, analyze how well you work with your teams and their response to your leadership.
Keep Open Lines of Communication
Communication is critical in any relationship, but especially in a business relationship. Even when senior-level executives, employees, and other workers were coming into the office, efficient communication was challenging. So, in a remote work world, communication between the C-suite and employees must be high-level, transparent, and continuous.
Keeping open communication lines with the C-suite, employees, contract workers, freelancers, and other partners prompt quality collaboration and teamwork. When in-office work was shut down, so were face-to-face team meetings, casual conversations with coworkers, and visits from C-suite executives looking to deepen their relationships and understanding of how their company is run.
The efficient and qualitative communication that executives have with their remote teams is highly dependent on the tools they use and the expectations they’ve set for how everyone will communicate. Google Suite, Slack, and Appwise are great communication tools to use. Asana and Trello offer great solutions for collaboration. While Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft teams are perfect for video-conferencing and screen-sharing.
As mentioned above, you’ll also want to set expectations for how your teams communicate. Do you require them to partake in synchronous communication where they’ll be expected to answer in real-time? Or are you expecting them to participate in asynchronous communication where their work comes first, and responses come second?
Get All of the Data Before Making a Decision
Many C-suite executives make the mistake of making a final decision without considering all of the necessary data beforehand. They may be facing a deadline and only have half of the data in hand with a few days left and are forced to go with what they have. They could honestly think they have all the data they need to make the right decision. But decisions made without getting all of the necessary information first usually aren’t well-rounded or well-informed decisions — and ineffective communication concerning decision-making could lead to a security breach.
Remote work models complicate the decision-making process because it’s even harder to gather all of the information you need from all of your team members and employees promptly. Time Zone differences, scheduling conflicts, late replies, unsent emails, missed messages, and other factors are constant contributors to an inefficient data collection process.
For you to successfully navigate the remote work world as a C-suite executive, you have to ensure your team is on board with getting you the information you need before you make a final decision. They should understand how vital a prompt response is to your making the right decision for the challenge or project at hand. They should also understand the importance of providing full, complete information when asked for specific data. Ensure that you’re giving everyone enough time to collect the solicited data, a clear deadline for submission, and an open line of communication should they have questions.
Create a Routine for Making Decisions
Many of us make decisions differently each time we’re asked to do so. We don’t run through a set of questions, we don’t consider all we need to, and we don’t take an adequate amount of time to make a thorough decision. Unfortunately, C-suite executives aren’t exempt from making rushed decisions and facing the adverse consequences of those decisions.
You have a huge list of responsibilities that’s only been tripled since transitioning to remote work. Your fellow C-suite team members, employees, and other partners are leaning on you even more for guidance through the turbulence caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. More decisions will be placed in your lap because of the uncertainty, and the between work and life may become blurred, causing undue stress and accelerated aging. So, creating a routine for how you go about making decisions is a great technique to implement the current environment.
Your routine for making decisions could start with a list of questions you run through before making a final decision. Those questions could include:
- Are we able to afford the implementation of this strategy?
- How does this impact our overall financial health?
- Do we have the right team members in place to lead this project?
- Is this decision beneficial on all levels of the company?
- Will this decision benefit or hurt my employees?
- How can I support my employees in a smooth transition if I make this decision?
- Have I talked to everyone involved?
- Have I gathered all of the pertinent data needed to make this decision?
- Have I thoroughly analyzed the given data?
- Who can I work with to make this decision?
After answering the list of questions you’ve set for yourself, you can run your thoughts by a decision-making teammate like another senior-level executive. You can also set a minimum amount of time you’ll take before making a final decision, like three days for pressing situations and one week for less important decisions. A process for your decisions ensures that you can manage the load of decisions you’re sure to face in a remote work environment and make the best decision for your business.
Get Involved on All Levels
When your company transitioned to remote work, you may have noticed how out of touch some departments are with others, how ineffective communication is among team members, or how little you know about the work some people do in your organization. Remote work puts a spotlight on where you are versus where you want to be on your business’s connectedness and productivity scale. If your company culture wasn’t strong before the shift to remote work, chances are your employees and partners will suffer in a world where they’re required to self-manage, be productive on their own, and motivate themselves.
To build a strong company culture and ensure your employees, C-suite coworkers, and partners are equipped with all they need to succeed in remote work, you need to get involved on all company levels. There weren’t nearly enough visits, team meetings, and one-on-ones conducted by C-suite decision-makers when we were in our offices. These interactions prove incredibly beneficial to productivity, employee retention, and growth.
So, find ways to get to know individual team members. Ask for frequent one-on-one meetings, sit in on a day with employees from different levels, or participate in team activities put on by HR. You should also get familiar with each team’s responsibilities so that you can put together an effective plan to support them remotely based on actual experience.
C-suite executives are crucial to any business’s success because of their experience, skill, and dedication. They, too, have a role to play in the transition to remote work models if they want their company to survive and thrive.
To successfully navigate a remote work world, increase efficiency in it, and make the best decisions as a C-suite executive, you should first build the right team around you and create a work environment that encourages open communication. Get involved on all levels of your company and ensure that you have all the data you need before making any decision. It’s also helpful to create a routine around how you make final decisions to ease the stress that comes along with being the decision-maker.