Leading from Anywhere Book Summary - Leading from Anywhere Book explained in key points
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Leading from Anywhere summary

David Burkus

Unlock the Power and Performance of Remote Teams

4.4 (165 ratings)
21 mins
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    Leading from Anywhere
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    Understanding and shared purpose will hold a remote team together.

    Coronavirus unexpectedly swept across the world while most workers were still working in offices. Suddenly, companies everywhere, regardless of industry, scrambled to assemble remote teams.

    Many businesses struggled as lockdowns made in-person interactions impossible. But others adapted quickly, turning a challenging situation on its head. Innovative Fitness was one of those businesses. It offered an elite personal training service, which somehow had to transition into virtual workout sessions. Not only did it manage this transition, but it flourished – bringing in more customers than before.

    Teams that succeeded, like that at Innovative Fitness, shared two things: a close understanding of what each employee needed to be successful, and a big, company-wide purpose.

    Here’s the key message: Understanding and shared purpose will hold a remote team together.

    The best teams understand each other’s skills, habits, and remote-working situations inside-out. First, they know what every individual is good at and, taking into account personal preferences, assign responsibilities accordingly. Rather than trying to force people into unsuitable roles, everyone does what each does best. 

    Second, these teams accommodate each employee's unique work situation. Identifying some of these situations may be easy, like cultural contexts and time zones. But others may not be as obvious, like caring for children and other domestic commitments – even if the team is local. Or the fact that everyone has slightly different routines at home from at the office. Being considerate of other team members makes for more effective remote collaboration.

    Along with understanding each team member’s needs, the best teams have a company-wide purpose. This holds the team together and keeps its members motivated, even in the difficult days of a pandemic. 

    The truth is that most people want to feel like they're contributing to something bigger than simply creating shareholder value. They want to feel like their company is solving a problem or contributing to a wider cause. 

    So, to create this purpose, ask the ever-important question: What are all of you fighting for? This is what will bring everyone together every day. 

    Generally, there are three types of fight in this context. There’s the “revolutionary fight,” which is about changing the status quo in the industry or in society. Then there’s the “underdog fight,” which is about taking on big industry names and winning by doing things better. And lastly, there’s the “ally fight,” which is about fighting for your customers and stakeholders. 

    Whichever it is, this shared mission will make your team stronger.

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    What is Leading from Anywhere about?

    Leading from Anywhere (2021) is a guide to leading a remote team, covering everything from building a company culture, managing performance, and running virtual meetings to providing feedback to team members. In addition to setting out the best way to manage a team remotely, it makes a strong case for remote work in general. 

    Best quote from Leading from Anywhere

    People dont want to join a company; they want to join a crusade.

    —David Burkus
    example alt text

    Who should read Leading from Anywhere?

    • CEOs and team leaders
    • Remote workers in dysfunctional organizations
    • Anyone interested in setting up a remote business

    About the Author

    David Burkus is a best-selling author, podcaster, and former business school professor. He has been ranked as one of the world’s top business thought leaders by Thinkers50 and has worked with leaders from organizations across many industries, including Google, Stryker, Fidelity, and the US Naval Academy.

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