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3 Principles of a Strong Distance Culture - Harvard Business Review

In our last term, Hailey Griffis talked about what applicants should look for when interviewing for a job to explore the remote culture of a company. Now we revisit the subject from the company's point of view: What are the secrets of a strong remote culture?

In his Harvard Business Review article, Nicholas Lovegrove, a professor of practice management at Georgetown University and an experienced advisor, recalled his lessons learned from his 30 years at McKinsey & Company. While many of us are settling into remote work, Lovegrove said consulting firms have been doing this for years.

“If you go to a consulting firm on a typical day, you wonder where all the people are. The answer is - or should be - that they are with their customers, ”Lovegrove wrote.

So how does a company with such a dispersed workforce maintain its collective values? Lovegrove noted three simple features.

1. Build strong social and learning environments
Lovegrove said that each McKinsey office holds a "Super Friday" event, where it calls all its employees to the office once per month. The managing partner of the office will arrange meals and happy hours for the attendees. They will also schedule offsite retreats and celebrate promotions and milestones. In addition, every office should dedicate one day every year to reiterate the values ​​and beliefs of the company.

2. Focus on the teams
At the beginning of each project, all of McKinsey's teams collectively agree on a team charter that outlines how they will schedule meetings, split workloads, provide feedback, and make decisions. . In many cases, the glue that binds the team together is not for the good of the company, but there is pity among teammates. When people form a team, they also create a micro culture. And it is this dynamic, intimate culture that connects the whole. Lovegrove described it as a true reflection of the company's cultural success. McKinsey regularly performs pulse checks with his teams to ensure that every team member shares his values.

3. Refine the cultural core
Cultures are founded on people, and people are constantly changing. Thus, company culture is never stable. It may change due to a crisis, or develop under good management. For the former position, McKinsey has "fallen into crisis" by committing himself to a more conscious social purpose. Many other companies must adapt their style of leadership and "grow leaner" to the inevitable transition to remote work. But if McKinsey & Company is any indication, the transition won't be a daunting one: it works.

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