How to Create a High-Performing Remote Team


In today’s hyper-connected world, it’s becoming more and more common for employees to want to work remotely. For businesses, it’s a competitive strength. You can hire people from any location around the world, which makes it that much easier to add talented people to your team. But creating a high-performing remote team can be hard when they’re all in different time zones.

At Afterburner, we’ve helped hundreds of clients transform into high-performing teams. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company or a startup, we use the same process for everyone, and it starts with the High-Definition Destination (HDD).

Defining your HDD

One of the biggest problems we see with business-building high-performing teams (especially when they have remote employees) is their lack of direction. What exactly is it that your employees are working towards? What is your end-all-be-all goal? 

Many times when businesses hire remote employees, instead of defining the Future Picture right away, they give them tasks to work on with no clear direction of what is ultimately the goal. When you hire on remote employees, you need to follow a process that’s proven to win: the Flawless Execution model.

Taking the FLEX Model Virtual

The Flawless Execution model is the foundation for everything we teach at Afterburner, regardless of your industry, size, or business model. Using the Flawless Execution model is just as important in creating a high-functioning remote team as it is anywhere else. The only difference is that your team is executing and communicating in a virtual space.

Step 1: Plan

Flawless execution starts with determining the future picture, the high-definition destination, and the clear communication of that picture to the entire team. Once you’ve communicated to all of your employees and generated buy-in to the plan, you can begin to map out day-to-day strategies and tactics to get there. Because the employees are remote, it’s even more important to make sure the framework for the plan drives accountability and scale, or else everyone will go off in their direction and have nothing against which to measure their progress or work.

Step 2: Brief

The brief is all about communication, knowing who will do what and by when. Communicating with a remote team can be difficult, so briefing before execution is vital for making sure everyone is on the same page at all times. This is the time to address questions. With a remote team, threats and questions will likely pop up, and if you leave them unresolved before diving headfirst into execution, you’re going to fail. Consider things such as when your remote employees are responsible for being available and what type of regular communication is needed.

Step 3: Execute

Executing should be an easy step! From the plan and briefs steps, your remote employees will know how their tasks impact the bigger picture and be able to manage threats. But be careful of task saturation. Your remote team needs to be able to prioritize tasks based on their impact on the HDD or missions at hand. As task saturation increases, impactful performance decreases.

Step 4: Debrief

Debriefing is a vital learning opportunity that many businesses don’t take advantage of. Debriefing allows you to meet up with your team after a mission, and talk about what went well, what needs to be improved, and ultimately what they learned. With remote employees, debriefing is vital. Since they’re not in the office every day to easily give you details of a project or important insights, jumping on a weekly call is critical to ensuring that mistakes aren’t repeated and winning processes continue.

Co-located teams have a ton of advantages, as long as you know how to manage them. If you aren’t sure how to get started, let’s chat. We’ll work directly with you and your team to align on goals and objectives so that you can increase your performance excellence.