044 Leading Remote Teams During Covid’s Second Wave with Céline Williams

“One of my taglines is human-focused business strategy because I truly believe that humans are the core of every business, and we have to remember that.” – Céline Williams

As a leader in 2020, you were hit with the pandemic gut punch in April. And depending upon where you are in the world right now, the second wave of Covid is already underway or expected.

In today’s episode we talk with Culture Strategist and Executive Coach Céline Williams about leading through the rest of 2020. Céline is the founder of Revisionary, a consulting firm focused on leadership, culture, and strategy.

In this episode you’ll learn:

– What has worked effectively this year when leading remotely
– What hasn’t worked about remote leadership (and why)
– 4 simple ways leaders can re-adjust their approach for the second wave of Covid (and how to make those changes stick)
– Why productivity tools and apps aren’t all they’re cracked up to be…and more!

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Talk about your (second wave) remote work plan NOW

There’s a lot of really temporary, band-aid solutions that are happening that are not sustainable, especially if we don’t know how long the second wave is and especially if you care about your people being happy and healthy and having a good employee experience, team experience, culture experience.

The first thing I would say is, everyone needs to be taking a look at how cobbled together their remote plan is. For a lot of companies, and for a lot of teams inside certain companies, this remote work plan is not a plan. It was a “We are all working from home starting Monday” – full stop.

That’s not a remote work plan. When you are actually implementing a remote work plan, it’s a 6-12 month plan to get everything lined up from technology to hardware, to ways of working, the new rules around meetings, to how we communicate. All of that stuff, in an ideal situation, is 6-12 months of planning. People had less than a week. It’s crazy!

I want to acknowledge that I recognize that everyone is doing their best inside these circumstances, and that is phenomenal, and people are doing as well as they can.

If you are leading a team that was thrown into remote work without that plan, and is still either fully, half, partly doing that, the more planning you can do for the second wave, the more you can start to have conversations around what people really need, what their experiences have been, what has or hasn’t worked for them.

The earlier you can start to have that [conversation], i.e., now, the more successful the second wave of remote work is going to look for your team and your company.

Be open to other people’s remote work experiences

I think the thing that as worked well consistently when people have done it is really not assuming that your experience is everyone’s experience, and asking questions and being very open to other people’s experiences.

I have seen lots of leaders who have made assumptions that because they are having a specific experience – their kids are older, or they don’t have kids, they have a home office that’s set up separately – they assume that “This working from home is easy! This is great! I don’t have to commute!”

That is not the experience of all of your people, and when we assume that, you are doing them a disservice because you are not acknowledging their experience and you are not creating a safe environment for them to share their experience.

Is that meeting really necessary?

One of the things that has not worked well is, people have not changed the type or number or quality of their meetings and just moved them on to Zoom. That is a massive failure.

When we are working remotely, we have to change the type of meetings we’re having, we have to put a different structure around them. I know executives who literally spent 8 straight hours a day on Zoom meetings for the first part of this pandemic, because that’s just what their schedule had.

I think the starting point for all of it is evaluating the types of meetings that people are having – are these the best use of our time right now?


Links and Resources

Connect with Céline: LinkedIn



Death by Meeting: A Leadership Fable…About Solving the Most Painful Problem in Business by Patrick Lencioni

The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization by John C. Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell

Productivity TIP: Find the type of music that, when you’re working, doesn’t draw your attention away from the work that you’re doing.