Annotated Bibliography

Annotated Bibliography

Sooner or later you’ll find your-self leading a team where one or more of your people work

remotely. You can turn this situa-

tion into an advantage by leverag-

ing diverse backgrounds and

highly motivated employees. To do

this, you’ll need to avoid the possi-

ble communication and effective-

ness pitfalls and make sure you’re

making use of all the means at

your disposal to operate effectively

from a distance. Interestingly

enough, my experiences in P&G as

both a remote manager and a

remote employee have made me a

more disciplined manager.

Various situations, be it with

remote teams who work from

their homes or international

employees in different time zones,

bring unique characteristics to

which you’ll need to adjust your

management style. That said, the

basics for any manager remain the

same—you just have to do them

better. Do them well, and you’ll

have a highly energized and driven

work team. The consequences of

not doing so are twice as disas-

trous with remote teams.

What You Can Do Let me share some of my favorite

must-do items for any remote


1. Energize your team with a

vision. To win as a team and as an

organization, it’s critical to involve

your remote group in the creation

and deployment of a common

vision. Ask yourself what your

most important breakthrough will

be, and set this as the direction

that propels your people and your

action plan. If it isn’t possible to do

this face to face, take time to have a

brainstorming forum, group chats,

and calls with video where you

come to a clear, meaningful state-

ment of the accomplishment your

team will be known for.

2. Engage them with a robust

action plan. This is probably one

of the most critical aspects of

remote leadership. Each team

member needs to feel engaged and

have a clear understanding about

what will be requested from them

or their teams, how it will be mea-

sured, and when you will expect it.

To do this well is to set a solid

foundation and clear the way for

what will come. Draft an action

plan with a clear link to your

vision, and engage each team

member individually with the

objectives assigned to them. Align

on the way updates will be pre-

sented and on key milestones.

Give examples of the way you like

updates to be presented and the

data you expect to see in them.

3. Be in touch with your team.

You need to be disciplined about

having periodic touchpoints in

order to stay connected. Watch out

for overly independent employees

who think they don’t need direc-

tion and allow the distance to

grow. It’s important to align prior-

ities, review action-plan progress,

and talk about career develop-

ment. It also doesn’t hurt to build

a personal relationship that fosters

trust and open communication.

Though there are various con-

straints, mostly financial, make

sure to schedule face-to-face time

as much as possible, and, again,

make use of the vast array of avail-

able videoconferencing technolo-

gies. It isn’t a requirement, but a

leader with a personal touch is

very effective and builds trust. I

remember Bud Kulesza, former

IMA Chair and leader of an IMA

volunteer group to which I

belonged, being aware when my

father passed away and also con-

gratulating me when I told him my

wife was pregnant. We made it a

point to try to meet up once a year

to have a beer and a laugh. He is

By Esteban Quiros, CMA


Remote Leadership Can Bring Out

Your BestDepending on the situation,many employees are able to work remotely these days. If you

find yourself managing such

teams, be sure to create the right


1 6 S T R AT E G I C F I N A N C E I J u n e 2 0 1 2



1 8 S T R AT E G I C F I N A N C E I J u n e 2 0 1 2

one of the leaders I most admire,

and he has impacted my own style.

4. Celebrate success. As action-

plan goals and objectives are

accomplished, make sure to take

time to recognize your team.

Involve your immediate supervisor

in periodic updates, and get the

right exposure for your team or

individuals. Pay special attention to

communicating effectively and cel-

ebrating breakthrough results and

contributions. Above and beyond

shouldn’t be invisible. Make sure

your immediate supervisor is aware

of what you’re doing, is involved,

and knows your team. He or she

needs to be able to represent them

well during performance appraisals

or promotion recommendations.

5. Build a team identity.

Schedule regular team meetings

where you discuss and review rele-

vant topics with team members.

Encourage them to create sub-

teams to work on organizational

development items that benefit the

group and, if possible, the entire

organization, such as training, Web

information-sharing portals, pro-

cess improvements, network, etc.

6. It isn’t for everybody. The

advantages of having a remote

team are possible only if the indi-

viduals have strong ethical values

and principles. Micromanaging is

much harder and rather unproduc-

tive in these situations. Monitoring

when an employee logs in or out, if

he or she is connected from a cer-

tain place or another, or simply

monitoring daily productivity just

isn’t effective in many businesses.

Having the right people and behav-

ior is crucial, so take time to pro-

vide honest and effective feedback.

You need to point out behaviors

that aren’t acceptable, and be espe-

cially careful when people are

falling behind. This might require a

strong intervention.

Contrary to common beliefs,

people working remotely often

end up putting in more hours

than those who are in the office.

Make sure you stay aware of this

situation, and avoid overloading

the person who is out of sight. A

good work/life balance is as

important here as anywhere else.

Stay on top of career interests and

morale to ensure you maximize

productivity and minimize costs.

Setting a Good Example One of the best remote managers I

have seen in P&G was managing a

small team of financial analysts

out of Cincinnati while many of

his peers were doing so locally.

Tom Kennedy was adored by his

group. He was on top of their

development plans, engaged in

career and progression discus-

sions, and always had time to set

direction and follow up with his

people. It wasn’t unexpected for

him to drop by my desk when he

was in the country to chat about

his team, recognize them in local

events, and have some face time

together. It was no accident that

he came out on top of all his peers

during our annual coaching

assessments. He used to tell me

how happy he was with his group

and how lucky he was to have

them. He showed genuine interest

and cared for his people, which

was quite an inspiration.

As many of you have already

experienced, being an effective

leader and setting direction is very

hard work that takes skill, time,

and dedication. It’s also one of the

most rewarding things you can do.

You have a unique opportunity to

make a difference in people’s lives,

and, if you are truly dedicated,

you’ll earn their respect as a real

leader. Remote leadership isn’t a

new art—it’s the perfection of an

art you already know and have

practiced. If you can do it, it will

bring out the best in you! SF

Esteban Quiros, CMA, is the North

America Supply Chain F&A manag-

er, Procter and Gamble, San Jose Ser-

vice Center, San Jose, Costa Rica. You

can reach him at +1150622041167



I believe we’ve laid a firm foun-

dation for the future growth of our

organization, which, starting July

1, will be guided by a new Chair

(I’ll be moving into the Chair-

Emeritus role). This marks my

final column in these pages, so I

want to thank all of the volunteers

and staff who have made this past

year such a remarkable one of

learning and service for me.

Thanks to all members, too, for

giving me this opportunity to

enjoy a small part in shaping the

future of our organization. I wish

the very best of luck to incoming

Chair John Macaulay, a long-time

IMA member who embraces a

strong commitment to service, as

well as to Chair-Elect William

Knese, another devoted IMA

member and former ICMA Board

of Regents Chair.

As always, I remain eager to hear

your thoughts on this or any other

topic. Please share them with me at SF

Perspectives c o n t i n u e d f r o m p a g e 6




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