Today’s my last day in Northern Ireland for 6 months. For the past 5 years I’ve managed a highly motivated part of the Learning Pool team who are absent from our Derry mothership & who work from home in England and Scotland. Tomorrow I become one of them. This past couple of weeks I’ve been really mulling this over & wondering what it will mean for me. I’m also slightly worried that I may not be the exemplary virtual team member that I imagine I will, a carbon copy of the perfect remote worker in the image I have in my mind’s eye.
In my view, these are the qualities & behaviours of a great virtual team member:
· superb communicator – in both directions – giving & receiving information; this applies equally to customers & colleagues
· highly organised in terms of managing appointments, follow ups, phone calls, CRM updates, keeping your online calendar bang up to date
· ability to work efficiently on the hoof (on trains, in cafes, at airports, in the car)
· knack to really bond with people you don’t see face to face much – other virtual colleagues but also the people in the powerhouse or mothership – the people you need to actually do things for you that you can’t do yourself
· planning your schedule to get the most out of each day by combining appointments & using common sense
· gift for really knowing what’s going on beneath the surface at HQ, think that comes about by really listening to what your colleagues say
· makes the best use of the available technology & doesn’t get bogged down in constant technofail
· books travel well in advance to get the best prices
· effective collector & disseminator of customer information back to the mothership team
· self starter with a lot of drive
· ability to complete & finish things (this one is tricky for me) in a fast paced & constantly moving environment.
From time to time I’ve been critical of how other people do some or all of the above. I guess I’ll know by this time next week how I’m doing myself. Any hints and tips from you, my dear readers, will be most welcome as always.
So what am I going to miss most over the next 6 months when I’m London based. Folks – there’s no competition on that score. The photo of Paul was snapped yesterday at Stansted airport. He’d just finished a conference call with our tech team & is posting something up on Twitter. As usual, we had a few right old laughs yesterday – despite both of us having a 3.30am start, a tricky meeting at the Cabinet Office and the usual mixed bag of rushing around London for meetings, juggling stuff as we go. Along the way, and starting at 5.30am, we also discussed everything that both of us are working on, we did some long term strategic planning, we both chatted to a number of colleagues, customers and partners, sketched out a couple of new products or markets for existing parts of the Learning Pool portfolio, swapped the usual load of gossip (mainly about other entrepreneurs or businesses), exchanged views on the content of business books we are both reading (cuts down on individual reading time if your business partner reads it & gives you a précis of course), managed to have both breakfast & lunch in the most random of places, went through some sort of time/space portal at Stansted airport, took two plane journeys & two long drives each, but were emailing again when we got to our respective homes last night. The relationship anyone has (should have) with their business partner is pretty intense and full on. I’ll refer you to a previous blog of mine if you’re interested in reading more about this – it’s here https://kickingassets.co.uk/two-heads-are-better-than-one-10-pros-of-havi
We’ve been working together like this for 8 years, we rarely disagree and you couldn’t put a cigarette paper in between us. I guess that’s what I’m going to miss most.