3 tenets of a strong remote culture – Harvard Business Review

In our last curation, Hailley Griffis talked about what applicants should look for during the job interview to gauge a company’s remote culture. We now revisit the topic from a company’s perspective: what are the secrets to a strong remote culture?

In his Harvard Business Review article, Nicholas Lovegrove, professor of practice management at Georgetown University and a veteran consultant, remembered his lessons learned from his 30 years spent at McKinsey & Company. While many of us are just settling into remote work, Lovegrove said consulting firms have been doing it for years.

“If you go into a consulting firm office on a typical day, you’ll wonder where all the people are. The answer is — or should be — that they’re with their clients,” wrote Lovegrove.

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

1. Build strong social and learning environments

Lovegrove said every McKinsey office holds a “Super Friday” event where it calls in all of its employees into the office once per month. Managing partners of the office would arrange meals and happy hours for the attendees. They would also schedule offsite retreats and celebrate promotions and milestones. Moreover, every office must dedicate a day every year to reiterate the company’s values and beliefs.

2. Focus on teams

At the onset of every project, all of McKinsey’s teams collectively agree on a team charter that outlines how they will schedule meetings, divide up the workload, provide feedback, and make decisions. In many cases, the glue that binds the team together isn’t the company’s well-being, but compassion between teammates. When people form a team, they also create a micro-culture. And it’s this dynamic, intimate culture that aggregates to a whole. Lovegrove pinned this as the true reflection of a company’s cultural success. McKinsey regularly performs pulse checks with their teams to ensure every team has members that share their values.

3. Refine the cultural core

Cultures are founded upon people, and people are constantly changing. Thus, a company’s culture is never static. It can change due to a crisis, or evolve under good management. For the former situation, McKinsey has “leaned into” the crisis by “committing itself to a more conscious social purpose.” Many other companies need to adapt their leadership style and “lean into” the inevitable transition to remote work. But if McKinsey & Company is any indication, the transition shouldn’t be a daunting one: it does work.

Click the button below for the original story. It provides a fascinating peek into the internal workings of one of the world’s top consulting firms.

Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

ITW in your inbox

Our experienced team of journalists and bloggers bring you engaging in-depth interviews, videos and content targeted to IT professionals and line-of-business executives.

More Best of The Web