“Advancing a business requires more than just a good product”: How to lead a global workforce

internal hackathon

As startups and small businesses, we all think about growth – increasing it, achieving it and sustaining it. But advancing a business requires more than just a good product or service; it demands energetic people and thoughtful leadership.

As organisations grow, inspiring leadership can be a challenge to maintain – especially when considering international expansion where one must consider cultural differences, skills, education and employees’ expectations.

The good news is, thanks to technological advancements and international travel improvements – it’s not impossible. In fact, it has never been easier to meet, integrate or connect with staff from across the globe – essential elements of leading a global workforce.

Successful leaders will think “out of the box” to inspire and motivate their workforce. They will forget email as a primary method of communication. Email was invented in the 80s and as such does not meet all the needs of a modern business. Whilst emails have a time and place, bear in mind the number of emails that will go unread, and how easy it is to misinterpret written words.

Whether it’s company information, new processes or even a change in focus to share with employees, important and meaningful information should be shared in an important and meaningful way – an email simply won’t cut it in terms of engagement.

As organisations grow and cross time zones, it can be difficult to get everyone in the same room for a catch up. But it certainly should not be overlooked. Annual meetings are essential for sharing ideas, best practices and spending time with colleagues. In between, companies should utilise the whole host of tools available that make face-to-face meetings possible online. Email should only enter the equation as a follow up to summarise a discussion.

In addition, keeping staff up-to-date is a sure-fire way of driving engagement across a business. A good leader will never assume people are aware of happenings from other offices. It is vital to highlight achievements and business successes throughout a company. Equally, sharing challenges and goals allows a network to work together to solve problems and learn from each other.

Every organisation will have a different method for providing updates to employees. Whilst social media and internal platforms are growing in uptake, good old-fashioned newsletters and regular meetings are also here to stay. A business’ culture will play an important part in determining which updates work and which do not. It’s up to a good leader to understand their team, identify how they receive and consume information and update them per the company’s unique style.

Finally, this may sound old-fashioned, but no organisation or leader should be without one or many whiteboards. Whether moving offices or opening a new one, a whiteboard is essential and should be central to any business. Whiteboards are an ideal tool for sharing ideas and discussing issues. They say a problem shared is a problem halved, and that’s exactly what a whiteboard represents. Now, a whiteboard will not solve all a business’ problems but they do invite problem solving and creativity in equal measure and should be used whenever possible to cultivate and nurture ideas.

Successful leaders are not only dynamic businesspeople; they are those who demonstrate care of and consideration towards their resources, regardless of where they are in the world.

As startups grow, it is easy to forget people and culture, so senior executives must lead by example, talk to each other and share and encourage new ways of working.

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