Leader with Remote Teams

When Sam’s company decided to move forward with their new digital integration, they found a dev team in Sri Lanka to take the contract. Sam is in charge of the project and is now overseeing the remote team overseas, in addition to the local operations staff Sam was already managing.

Leader with Remote Teams

Sam has managed teams before, with good success, but this experience has all kinds of different challenges. There are logistical challenges as basic as navigating the time difference and having phone calls in the middle of the night, to more complex ones like making sure the project schedule is being implemented and updated as needed, to personally sensitive ones like everyone clearly understanding what the other is saying. After each late night call, Sam is not always sure the overseas team is really on the same page as the local team… and the time difference means Sam won’t actually find out until the next day.

There are also cultural challenges, related to both geography and company, that are adding to the confusion. Sam has never been to Sri Lanka, and it may be months before that changes. When the overseas team was hired, Sam read a few Wikipedia articles and travel blogs to learn a bit about the country, but still doesn’t have a strong familiarity with the region. Sam is aware of certain cultural differences and tries to be mindful of them when communicating, but it sometimes feels very awkward and ineffective, especially when trying to motivate and inspire the remote team on the other side of the world. For their part, the team is very polite and seems to tolerate Sam’s efforts, but everyone knows it could be better.

On top of that, the dev team is contract. While they are doing a fine job with the programming and tasks Sam gives them, they aren’t direct employees and it comes across frequently that this is just a limited gig for them. There’s not really a sense of collaboration toward a goal. The local team, on the other hand, does have a strong connection to the company and can even be defensive about this. Lately there have been a few instances of the local team blaming the remote one for some small errors, and that’s definitely not the way Sam wants this project headed. Sam wishes there was a way to make the two groups act more like one, and to have the remote team better integrated with the local one so it feels like everyone is on the same team.

Sam is frustrated. The local team is frustrated. And the remote team is likely frustrated (but too polite to show it). The project itself is critical to the company and challenging enough without these complications. Sam needs a way to get everyone on the same page and feeling like a team, despite all these barriers, if morale is going to improve and the project is going to be successful.

Unitonomy is addressing challenges like Sam’s with several workflows designed to help teams with multiple locations and diverse cultural dynamics work better together. Alignment of effort requires understanding the ‘why’ behind the effort and good communication. Efficiency in effort and good performance comes from smart planning fueled by each individual’s sense of purpose.

This is where Unitonomy comes in. Unitonomy offers the application called Our Alignment as a high-level communication workflow to match the ‘what I’m working on’ with the ‘why I’m working on it’ in a manner that telegraphs effort to others. Meanwhile Our Pillars is the application where definition is given to the organization’s mission, vision, values and other foundational beliefs. Each individual’s sense of purpose is built through their sense of belonging, which is their mapping of their professional identity and values back to items like the organization’s mission, vision, and values.

To address additional challenges of managing teams when the teams aren’t in the same room (or country), Unitonomy offers coaching to improve collaboration across regional cultures and time zones.