Today's Reading

Most of the myths about remote work—that it's isolating, that it's only good for companies of a particular size, that it's only right for tech companies—are patently untrue...when you do it right. Here are some of their discoveries:

* You cannot succeed by hanging on to traditional office models, expecting them to work in a remote form.

* Successful remote work requires a unique asynchronous/autonomous mindset—the ability to focus on outputs instead of outmoded inputs such as vanity metrics, small talk, and 360 human resources reviews that leave employees fatigued and disheartened.

* The asynchronous/autonomous mindset cultivates freedom and ownership for every participant.

* Remote work thrives on deliberate, purposeful communication. If you're communicating the same way you did when your colleague was sitting in the other room, you're probably wasting time, energy, and
efficiency.

* By the same token, those extroverts who have climbed the corporate ladder because of their ability to glad hand will find themselves disempowered in the remote environment.

* Detailed metrics and crystal clear KPIs (key performance indicators) are not only not constraining in remote work, they can free employees to succeed autonomously when implemented the right way. (Conversely, flying blind is one of the worst experiences any employee can have, and it's especially hard on remote workers.)

* Remote work rests on a strong but flexible process—one that not only delineates workflow and keeps communication lines open, but also explicitly conveys company values.

* The remote company is, at heart, an autonomous meritocracy. In general, the async pioneers don't care when you work, or for how long, or how you get it done, as long as you deliver the goods.

* This autonomous meritocracy must permeate the organization at every level, so that process, metrics, and communication converge to empower every player.

* Once you grasp the asynchronous/autonomous mindset, the principles that make remote work shine can also be applied to on-premise and hybrid companies with relative ease.

Some of these you may have already guessed, but some we're sure you haven't—we call those the Counterintuitive Async Bombs:

* Counterintuitive Async Bomb #1: Companies move faster when they collaborate less.

* Counterintuitive Async Bomb #2: Introverts climb to the top in remote-first organizations faster than on-premise ones, because their thoughtfulness is seen as an asset, not a liability.

* Counterintuitive Async Bomb #3: The experience of autonomy, choice, and participation is actually created by deeper structure.

* And the most important Counterintuitive Async Bomb of them all: Management itself is practically moot in a remote-first organization. The async process, properly deployed, is the manager. Best of all, the Async Mindset executed properly leads to a host of unexpected benefits that the pioneers have all witnessed firsthand.

* Async work tends toward greater inclusivity and richer cultural exchange.

* Women and minorities can reap special benefits from the remote environment, and a whole new generation of leaders is transforming the playing field.

* Async work dismantles useless hierarchies and office politics. No more of "the loudest voice wins the argument."

* There's less gossip when people work remotely. Unlike the traditional office, people are not stuck at a desk for a set number of hours, and they don't suffer the same breed of displaced antsyness. Work calls tend to be more focused, and employees are less tempted to waste time squandering their energies with bitterness and triviality.

* Remote work requires a whole new rethink when it comes to hiring and onboarding new employees, and remote-readiness will likely soon be a rated hiring factor for companies of all sizes. Hiring remotely
requires less time to onboard and scale than any on-premise model available.

* In the future, all fast-growing companies will have to hire remotely to be able to scale competitively.

* Leadership has a whole new tenor and practice in remote work. In order to be "agnostic" toward everything but results, the remote leader must learn how to relinquish control as never before.

* A global talent pool means global competition, and instant adaptability is a mandatory survival skill.

Taken as a whole, these ideas are more than a skill set. They are a whole new work language, with some surprising modes, benefits, and challenges. This book is a complete course in that language. We will give you the right formulas to share the Async Mindset and let it grow, so that it can touch every aspect of your venture.


This excerpt ends on page xxiii of the hardcover edition.

Monday we begin the book Broken to Better: 13 Ways Not to Fail at Life and Leadership by Michael Kurland.
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