Measure What You Value

Disruption Causes Businesses to Adapt

Many people are predicting that remote working will become much more mainstream going forward.  Not sure if that’s correct, or whether we’ll go back to ‘the way it was.’ But what if the disruption to ‘the way it was’ becomes the norm?

As a leader, you’ll have to adapt to the new normal. And if you’re a control freak, good luck.

Can you adapt?

Let’s start with a corner case to frame the rest of this conversation. We know of one local company here in our fair city, deemed nonessential, that set up all of their employees to work from home.  Great! The CEO of that same company insisted that the employees kept their cameras on all day so that the CEO could monitor them, to be sure that they were working.

Seriously, a true story.

This is a great example of how change will serve to reveal your values as a leader. This person:

  • Didn’t trust the employees
  • Demanded loyalty, whether earned or not
  • Valued time, and drew a straight line between hours-spent and job performance

How can a  manager like this ever hope to be successful in the new environment?  In this case, the leader is the CEO, and authoritarian rule will prevail.   If the employees of the company can’t be trusted, then they’re the wrong employees.  This is a lose-lose proposition for the company – the CEO incorrectly believes that the employees won’t perform without heavy-handed supervision or the employees truly cannot be trusted.  

This is an extreme case, but frames the rest of this piece

Micro Management vs Micro Measurement

If your workforce does shift to a remote working model, here are some things to consider as a leader:

If you obsess about time spent at a desk, you’ll have no choice but to shift your evaluation construct from hours to output.  Hours to output.  This shifts your ultimate evaluative tool to productivity.  What if someone consistently gets the job done ahead of schedule? Maybe they can handle additional tasks and responsibilities.  This is a win-win-win for the employee, the manager  and the company.

In a decentralized structure, strategic and execution goals become diffuse and can get lost.  More frequent re-enforcement of the company’s objectives is the only way to maintain workforce focus. This shifts the communication from a company’s leader(s) to continually frame every meeting in the context of the higher-level goals of the company.

Remote Workforce

Inevitably, there will be employees who take advantage of a remote work environment.  Not every person is a ‘motivated self-starter,  no matter what their LinkedIn profile says. Your HR policies have to be reconstructed that enable rapid reaction.  A remote performance improvement plan is very difficult to administer, but if you shift from an hours-to-productivity, your HR management will naturally shift to a more quantifiable and defensible decision-making model. How will your hiring process be impacted?

This is just a shortlist of the potential impact on your company if you are directly subject to the new normal.  But if you shift your leadership to one that focuses on micro-measurement, your company will be much more effective at adapting to this new operating environment.

At Black Ice Strategies we work with you to build and market your business, to achieve the goals that your enterprise aspires to accomplish.  We’d like to learn more about your business, and how we can help. Drop us a line at