Staring at the map won't take you anywhere
Making decisions - that's where the magic begins
I am sitting on the stairs in the entry hall of the British Museum in London, exhausted after exploring the history of Japan, Africa, and Money. The museum is crowded, as you’d expect on a Sunday. A potpurry of languages surrounds me, hushed voices from adults trying to figure out where to start, interspaced with the occasional scream of a delighted child marveling at the echo bouncing back from the huge walls.
This place is huge. There’s no way you you can explore it all in one sitting. The map in the entry hall makes that pretty clear. There are (today) 94 rooms to discover - you do the maths depending on the time you have at your hand.
Subscribe for free to receive new posts.
The conversations around the map are fascinating. They tell you a lot about how you can approach prioritization.
Do you have areas of interest to investigate first? Do you start at room 1 and go in order until your brain shuts down from information overload? If you are coming with a friend, how do you decide where to go first? Do you stay together or do you split up? What changes in your decision if you know you can come back tomorrow or next week - or not? Do you already know which live tour to catch? Did you know there were live tours? Do you invest the GBP5.00 to download the official audio guide app? Or do you rely on your own memory of Greek history classes?
So many choices, all of them triggered by a giant map in the hall. Choices that will shape the entire visit - and subsequent visits should you decide to come back. Whether you did them on purpose or by chance.
Your company’s operational setup isn’t very different. Your team’s company culture develops on the operational choices you make at the very beginning, often without the awareness of what they could mean for the future.
Of couse, you can always go back to the map. You can always pay those GBP5.00 for the guide halfway through the visit - though by then it will be later in the day and your energy level won’t be the same.
Making decisions now is hard. Making decisions later is even harder, mostly because non-action is a decision already. Usually not the wisest one.
What does that mean for your remote operations?
Decide where you want to hire - for real. Hiring from anywhere sounds great - and it also increases complexity a fair bit, both on the recruitement and the day-to-day operations. Maybe it’s a good choice, maybe not. Be intentional.
Decide which communicaton modes work best for you. Asyncronous work is supposed to be the gold-standard for remote companies. And yet, you can document things while taking advantage of syncronous workflows. If you don’t enjoy writing, don’t build your company on that skill. There are alternatives.
Decide how you are going to create a culture of belonging. This is especially important if you are combining employees and contractors across different locations. How can you create the joint story and experience that binds people together as more than just colleagues?
If you need help figuring out any of these topics, either for yourself or for your leadership team - get in touch, or catch me in person (info see below).
Why now? From April onwards I have increased availability for both consulting and mentoring clients. After four years as first Head of Product and then Head of Remote Operations at Klaus, it’s time for new challenges. I’ll still be involved with some Klaus projects, but the bulk of my energy will be going to helping companies and founders to figure out operating with more intention.
Let’s have a conversation
Whenever, Barcelona, Spain. Generally, I am based close-ish to Barcelona. And otherwise there’s always Zoom. DM on LinkedIn and we can figure something out.
In London until Wednesday afternoon (March 20/21/22). Send me a message on LinkedIn if you want a last-minute coffee - I am on there more than I should ;) . I am sure we can figure something out (Center or Whitechapel).
Business of Software, March 27/28 in Cambridge, UK. I’ll be speaking about Distraction Management, or how to be productive when you have kids. Yes, that’s just a week from now! Use VALENTINA20 to get a 20% discount on the ticket prices.
Running Remote, April 25/26 in Lisbon, Portugal. This is the European edition of THE conference on the future of work. I’ll be there the entire week to re-connect with friends that I rarely see in real life - and if you will be there, let me know.
👑 I am Val, the Empress of Remote
✨ I consult, mentor and speak on remote operations and management - in 🇬🇧🇪🇸🇩🇪🇧🇷
Subscribe for free to receive new posts.