5 lessons learned from managing a scale-up remotely — Part 2 — “when good become great and bad…

5 lessons learned from managing a scale-up remotely — Part 2 — “when good become great and bad become critical”

In my previous blog post, I’ve explained the motivation behind my decision to manage ableneo remotely. In this part, I’d like to share with you the first lesson I’ve learned on this journey — how the absence of personal contact and interaction magnifies the organization’s strengths and weaknesses.

we don’t solve system problems by default

I doubt there’s a perfect organization without a single problem. Each individual, each team, and each organization I’ve ever met always had its strengths and weaknesses. The magic was always hidden in the way, how good the strengths were applied, and how good the weaknesses have been masked.

I’m sure you’ve experienced a situation, where things haven’t been working as they were supposed to. I guess you just met with that person, discussed the problem, and somehow things got sorted out, right?

The immediate feeling of satisfaction after coming to an agreement in such direct conversation often hides the fact, that you’ve only solved a recent problem and not a deeper one which might have more systemic characteristics.

The truth is, that even if we know about that, in most cases, we choose not to care as we have X more things to do on our list, are in a constant hurry and the one and recent problem is solved for now, so why care any more…

This way of solving problems seems to be a standard for many organizations nowadays and in some cases might even be the right way. But this approach does not solve the real root causes of your organization’s problems. It only masks them.

In the same way, as medicines can sometimes conceal a more significant health issue, personal contact can often mask a more serious organizational issue.

Each of us has a certain level of immunity which helps us stay healthy. If we feel sick, normally we take medicines to cure the illness, but unfortunately in many cases, we take the medicines to only cure the symptoms of something more significant, which we choose to ignore.

But what if all pharmacies were closed and you couldn’t purchase the medicines anymore? You would no longer be able to cure the symptoms, and you would have to face the illness in its full potential.

It isn’t the most heartening parallel, but the same happens, when you stop personal contact in an organization that has diseases that have been concealed from your sight…

when good becomes great and bad become critical

The absence of personal contact will immediately uncover the real organization’s strengths and weaknesses leaving almost no possibility to mask anything.

All the aspects of your organization that have been working smoothly will now become your top strengths. In the era of uncertainty and social distancing, all these strong and working assets of your company will become the strong pillars, that your company was built on and your team can rely upon. Such situations often uncover areas and skills, you’ve been overseeing for a long period and will provide huge chances for your organization.

If you had a strong #community, these people will find a way how to come together even in the times of social distancing. If your key operational areas are mature and support lean processes, your operations will continue to thrive and prosper.

On the other hand, all the cracks, which you have overlooked for a long time will now pop up drastically. When people can no longer conceal the organization’s systemic problems by simply talking to each other, things will get critical.

If your operations are based on ad-hoc principles only and not on solid processes, you will run into issues. If you’ve failed at company-wide communication before COVID, you will now fail much harder. If you haven’t valued discipline enough, it will backfire with more recoil now.

All the mentioned cracks, that reveal themselves during COVID, are the reason why #digitalization is so hyped right now.

Your problems aren’t bad only anymore, they’ve just become critical. Fix them, or die.

everything bad brings something good

There is no doubt, that COVID brings a significant risk and uncertainty for individuals and organizations.

But it also brings a lot of chances. A chance to become a better human and a chance to become a better organization. I believe, that this situation is an impulse for us all and it only depends on us, how we will use it.

In my next blog post, I will deep dive into my second lesson learned — why the process is key.

Stay tuned for the next part!

5 lessons learned from managing a scale-up remotely — Part 2 — “when good become great and bad… was originally published in ableneo People on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.