Continuing our series on decentralised companies, here is the next part.
Over the last few years, remote job structures have gained immense popularity, and this trend seems to be continuing. As a result, more and more companies are adopting this model without proper planning and preparation, leading to several unsuccessful implementations.
To avoid any potential problems, it is crucial to have a comprehensive understanding of decentralised companies. In our previous post, we mentioned what decentralised companies are and why they are important. Now that we have taken the initial step towards implementing the dispersed model, let’s concentrate on the next important step, which is to devise a strategy that utilises this approach.
Works has always embraced the distributed model for conducting business, and we’d like to share some of the key considerations that we have given special attention to over the years.
Challenges Faced by Businesses in a Distributed Global Environment
To make the move to a decentralised business model successful, it is essential to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the challenges that need to be addressed. While this approach offers many advantages, such as increased readiness for a post-pandemic world, it is critical to remember that transitioning to this model can be complicated, and it must be done with a sensible plan to mitigate any potential risks.
Keeping this in mind, I propose that we begin by creating a list of the most prevalent problems that are associated with decentralised methods. The issues listed below are some of the most commonly observed difficulties that arise with this approach:
Idea communication challenges:Companies that operate in multiple locations, such as cities, countries, or regions, can face obstacles when it comes to real-time communication and collaboration. Without a well-defined set of principles that includes expectations, rules, and tools, any attempt at decentralisation is likely to be unsuccessful.
Cybersecurity threats:Because of the decentralised nature of your team, there is an increased risk of being attacked when accessing the company network from multiple locations. This is especially true if team members are expected to utilise personal devices or a shared network connection.
Risks to smooth operation:It is essential to recognize that shifting from conventional in-house work to a dispersed model will necessitate adjustments of different intensity levels. This is owing to the fundamental distinctions between the two approaches, indicating that the typical practices and procedures are not suitable in a distributed business environment.
Team mentality:Operating in dispersed teams can result in greater diversity in terms of culture and ethnicity, which can be an incredible asset. However, it can also affect office morale, potentially leading to disagreements and a lack of unity within the organisation.
Cultural and language barrier communication challenges:Although English is commonly used as a language of business worldwide, there may be issues arising from varying levels of English proficiency and cultural disparities among team members. Without adequate consideration, individuals who share the same language may encounter difficulties expressing themselves adequately, leading to misunderstandings and potential offence.
Creating a Strategy
The challenges mentioned earlier are not the only challenges that you could face when moving to a decentralised model, but they could be the most significant roadblocks. As a result, it is recommended that you take these questions into account when developing your strategy. Nevertheless, certain rules and considerations should be observed regardless of your company or operations.
This list contains the most critical considerations.
1. Invest in Essential Infrastructure
Having adequate infrastructure is critical to overcoming challenges that a dispersed organisation may face. It should be noted that the technology accessible to staff, such as computers, software, and networks, is necessary to ensure their effectiveness in their respective positions.
It is clear that there is a need to reevaluate the strategy for constructing the system. Traditionally, businesses have chosen to develop their own server infrastructure in a private network to keep their data and processes internal. Although this is a possibility, cloud computing provides comparable benefits as a private network with less administrative burden.
Investing in appropriate infrastructure can help alleviate some of the challenges identified while enhancing cybersecurity, improving productivity and boosting communication. Although infrastructure is not a comprehensive solution, it does provide the foundation for all other components of a remote system.
2. Adapt Your Approaches
Having adequate infrastructure is just one aspect of the equation. Clearly defined processes must also be implemented to guide team members in order to make progress efficiently. Additionally, existing office dynamics may not support a remote approach, indicating that current procedures may not be appropriate for such an approach.
It is vital to assess current procedures to determine which ones need to be modified, which ones can remain unchanged, and which ones should be replaced. Communication should be closely examined; despite the prevalence of digital communication, in-person meetings may still be necessary. To ensure effective communication, a system must be implemented that accommodates the decentralised approach.
To modify processes effectively, it is critical to consider not only how communication is conducted, but also procedures for data management and storage, reporting, collaboration, and execution. It is thus advisable to conduct a comprehensive review of the entire organisation to identify procedures that need to be adjusted for remote work.
3. Redefine Your Management Approach
Although it could be included in ‘Operations,’ it is worthwhile to examine it separately, as managing a remote workforce presents a unique challenge. There are many elements to consider.
One of the primary problems we encounter is the absence of cohesion between team members with regard to goals and objectives. Furthermore, it can be difficult to monitor progress without resorting to micromanagement. Lastly, as a leader, it is crucial to guarantee that everyone in the organisation feels like they are part of a unified team working towards the same objective.
Moving towards a more advanced business model can be difficult. To guarantee a successful transition, it is crucial to abandon the traditional approach of monitoring employees’ time spent on tasks and instead concentrate on the output of their efforts. A careful equilibrium should be established to provide employees with the freedom to feel at ease in their role, while also ensuring that their responsibilities are completed. It may be necessary to recruit new middle managers and test different management strategies.
4. Expand Your Recruitment Efforts by Utilising Innovative Methods
In a decentralised organisation, the recruitment process must be adjusted to attract the best and most qualified candidates. It is necessary to engage with potential hires early on, allowing them to gain an insight into the company’s values and team dynamics. This may necessitate a revision of current practices, such as promoting job openings, searching for potential hires, and the type of questions asked during initial screening. Additionally, the onboarding process for new employees should be thoughtfully considered.
If you are currently using online recruiting and conducting remote interviews, it may be tempting to maintain this approach without making any changes. However, I strongly suggest examining how you evaluate candidates and addressing any possible blind spots to meet the expectations of the current workforce.
To recruit the most skilled and competent individuals from various locations, our approach may need to be adjusted. In certain instances, it may be advantageous to explore locations that have not been previously considered. Moreover, potential incentives to make a position more appealing to applicants may need to be reassessed if physical attendance at the workplace is required.
5. Do Not Develop the Strategy Alone
It is customary for only the top executives and managers of the organisation to be involved in such a crucial decision. Whilst I acknowledge why this may be the case, it is crucial to bear in mind that everyone’s involvement is required for the successful implementation of the transition to a new working approach, particularly one as groundbreaking as a dispersed model.
By ‘everyone,’ I refer to all individuals within the organisation. It is advised to schedule meetings, gather input on proposed ideas, and initiate a conversation about the organisation’s future. This will assist employees in adapting more quickly to the upcoming changes. Additionally, it is possible that new information may be gathered to further support the transition.
Supplementary measures may be required in this scenario. If you are uncertain or need additional assistance during the implementation of the change, do not hesitate to seek external support. There is a variety of professionals available to provide assistance, including strategists, software developers, digital transformation specialists, HR professionals and more. This should help facilitate the transition to the distributed environment.
Approaches for Progressing
It is vital to understand that the five suggestions outlined above are only the beginning in formulating your dispersed strategy. You will need to offer more comprehensive information than what has been covered here, and it is probable that unforeseen challenges will arise. Nevertheless, do not allow this to demotivate you.
Making the move to a distributed organisation comes with several challenges, however, the potential rewards are substantial if the process is handled effectively. If you are committed to pursuing this route, you should now have a clear comprehension of the initial steps needed to ensure a successful outcome.