Can you imagine how much easier business could be if you and I could be in seven different places at the same time? Now obviously, today we don’t yet have that technology, so until that happens, we have to figure out how to build teams remotely. Today in this episode I talk to you about how you can effectively manage multiple teams in multiple locations.
Let’s start off by looking at two different examples. One is building a business where every team member is within 30 yards of you. What I mean by that is that you run an office and everyone’s around you. They are around 30 yards to your left or right and 20 yards in front of or behind you. You do the math, and it’s about 3,000 square feet. Most of us can manage that but have a very hard time with the other option, which is building remotely nationally. So let’s look at the pros and cons of each one.
First, when you build within 30 yards, you have a lot of control. For the most part, not all, but most entrepreneurs start off being control freaks. The whole reason you became an entrepreneur is that you want to control your destiny. You also want to control what everybody does, right? So the pro is you get to see and drive everybody. People can feel your heartbeat because they’re around you.
When you build your team within 30 yards, it’s easy to ask people where they’re at with something. I can walk down the hallway and when someone walks by say, “Hey, where are you at today? What did you do today?”
If there’s an issue, I can solve it right off the bat. There may be office politics or an argument. There are differences and friction. If I know it, I can say, “Let’s have a quick, 30-minute meeting” and we can solve the problem. So there’s a quick fix.
When people are closer to you, turnover is typically lower.
There is one big con to building a team within 30 yards, and that is exponential growth or expansion. Whatever you control more, grows less. Whatever you control more has less possibility of exponentially growing and exploding. You have to make sure to do this properly right from the beginning, so when it explodes, it does so with the right standards and expectations to grow on.
You can scale, with multiple locations, national, international, and from coast to coast. You can be all over the place.
Independent and Different Personalities
With remote teams, I can build independent leaders and attract different personalities because some people like to run their businesses remotely. They want to be left alone, so those personalities, the solopreneurs, will be turned on by this.
Here are the cons of remote teams.
Lack of Accountability and Emotional Connection
With remote teams, there can be a lack of accountability and a lack of emotional connection.
Sometimes people that work offsite, remotely from you, get bored because they’re not being sold the vision regularly. They don’t see the vision on a daily basis, and because of that, get bored.
And last but not least, there is lower retention with remote teams.
If you say, “This is exactly why I only want to build within my vicinity, where everyone’s close to me,” I want to challenge you. For the first five years of my business, I only built within 30 yards. Why? Because I wanted control. I had to know exactly what everyone was doing. I made a lot of mistakes, but I finally figured out what you have to do to go from 30-yards to remote. Here are the solutions.
#1: On the Job Training
First, before you open up anyone to be remote, always have two to four weeks of on-the-job training, field training, shadowing, or whatever you want to call it. Have the person come and watch how everything’s run. Have them observe the systems, protocols, and sales flow. They should sit through any skill that can be passed on through somebody.
I used to tell myself that I don’t do any behavior unless somebody’s sitting in the office with me, to watch exactly what I do. For instance, if I made phone calls, I wanted five people around me to see how I made the sales calls. I did this because I wanted more PBDs out there, to develop more leaders. You can’t give people a manual and say, “Here you go! Go learn how to sell! Go get ’em.” On the job training is the best way to teach.
#2: Build Leaders
Next, focus on developing leaders. I can guarantee you that anything that succeeds does so because of a strong leader. If there’s no leader, it doesn’t succeed. That’s always the case. Any extremely successful company is a success because they’ve done a very good job building leaders.
#3: Visit Other Offices
Next, this is the part most people don’t want to do. Most 30-yard type leaders are control freaks and don’t like to visit other offices. This is because their 30-yard office is their priority. It should be your priority because it’s your hub. But one of the remote teams could end up being better than your hub if you do quarterly visits. So I like to do quarterly visits. Quarterly visits allow me to stay connected to the heartbeat, build relationships, and see things that I need to fix.
So someone may say, “Pat, what if I have nine offices? What if I have five locations? What if I have this going on? What if I have that going on?”
In that case, use the 90/10 rule or the Pareto theory, known as the 80/20 rule. Spend 80% of your time on the top 20% of the performing offices. Develop them and develop those remote businesses that show up because you can build them into stronger leaders who can potentially develop other locations as well.
#4: Gatherings and Conventions
Next, two times a year, do annual gatherings and conventions, where everybody comes together. Say you have four offices. Those four offices all come together twice a year. Everybody sees everybody. Why? Because people learn from other offices. They see what other leaders are doing better than them. They collaborate, learn, and cross-pollinate. A lot of strengths come together, and they learn from each other.
#5: Weekly Accountability Calls
Next, have weekly accountability calls that can go for 90 minutes. Here’s how the call starts. “Hey, what did you do this past week?” I like to do accountability calls based on activities and results. Each one typically has four things I request. So there are four activities such as the number of emails sent and calls and appointments made. Then four results. For instance, the number of employees brought on board, and the number of products sold. So four activities and four results on a weekly basis.
I start off with the office leaders that are remote. They give me reports on what they did, and I ask what worked for everybody that week. They share with everyone, so we can all learn. Then, for literally an hour, we process any subject they want to process together.
#6: Daily Reports
Next, daily reports. The newer the leader that’s running a remote office, the more daily reports I want. Once someone’s a veteran leader and running things independently, I only need weekly reporting. But if you’re newer, I need daily reporting because I don’t trust you or know who you are yet. I don’t trust you running the operation all by yourself yet, so I need daily reporting. You can cover the same things in daily reporting as in weekly reporting.
If I see any red flags, I call or text and ask them to elaborate. I may also ask them to read a book or watch a video. There’s still education going on there.
#7: Fun Trips, Twice a Year
Next, twice a year, take a fun trip. A fun trip can be a BBQ together, or putting a contest together and going on a cruise. You may take a trip to Disneyland or Disneyworld, or go to a show or baseball game. Whatever it is, twice a year do something fun, where they see you outside a business setting. It’s a time to let it loose, hang out, break bread, and talk. Ask things like, “Tell me about your family. What’s going on with your life?”
#8: Accountability and Tools
Over the years I’ve seen that anybody that does remote very effectively are typically very good at accountability. This means they’re good at communication, but also very, very good at creating tools that allow them to constantly develop and improve.
Tools can be many different things. They can be for accountability, communication, documents, appointments, notes, calendars, and so on. But they have to be very tool driven.
#9: Leaders Bulletin
And last but not least, a solution to build remotely is a leaders bulletin. I’m a big fan of leaders bulletins.
I had a very intense staff meeting two weeks ago. I said, “As a CEO, I’m useless without numbers. I don’t even exist. I’m a nobody. You may as well fire me and send me home if I don’t have reports. I need reports. I need figures and trends. It’s important for me to know what this thing did compared to last year and last month. I need as much reporting as possible. The more reports I have, the more I can find leaks so I can fix them.”
So the leaders bulletin or reporting allows you to make a call to that one person that’s struggling with an area that you can help tweak. It can help sales in that office go back up. But if you have no leaders bulletin, and no reporting, who the hell am I competing against? How do I measure myself to improve? How can I figure out my prior best to beat? I can’t do it.
It’s your responsibility as a leader who’s trying to build multiple teams in multiple locations to have proper reporting, accountability, and a leaders bulletin, so you know how to improve your business.
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