Minimize and standardize channels for online communication with the team. It’s better to set standards for the company. Everyone should be available there within the agreed working hours.
As a part of our series about the five things you need to successfully manage a remote team, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nelia Kovbasa
Nelia Kovbasa is the CEO and Co-founder of GTM Plus, and the Co-Founder of Startup School University Edition. She is a get-things-done person with a passion for diversity and leveraging technology to make life digitally better.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. What is your “backstory”?
From the first day of my professional career, I have been heavily involved in the world of startups, investors, and innovations. Five years ago, I worked shoulder-to-shoulder with young and talented innovators that had bright ideas to change our future.
Starting as a Project Manager in Startup Depot, I helped tech startups to organize their work over product management and business development. In the following years I worked as a Managing Director of the coworking space for startups and as Head of Project Management Office in an IT company. During this time I developed myself further in the field of Management, Operations and Business Development. Although I greatly enjoyed my time working on these projects, I realized that I was ready for a new career challenge and therefore I founded my own company GTM Plus in 2017. This company provides assistance to startups and small businesses to transform their ideas into impactful software and augment their development capabilities with outsourced web and mobile development teams.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
After being with the company for only three months, I had planned a meeting with an important investor together with my chief. However, only one hour before the meeting my chief called in sick and he was unable to join the meeting. Without any preparation, it was up to me to lead this meeting, pitch our company, and obtain funding from the investor. As a result, I improvised, adapted, and succeeded.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My funniest mistake was during a job interview for an internship position. I was sitting in the hallway and waiting for the interview to start. I felt stressful and to relax a bit I decided to talk with the man who was sitting next to me who was probably also waiting for a job interview.
After asking him if he also applied for the internship position, he told me that he was the co-owner of this company. You can imagine how awkward it was, but this mistake taught me to check the names and photos of the higher management of a company when I am trying to partner up with them. Your knowledge about their business can impress people, but lack of knowledge can be quite harmful indeed.
Ok, let’s jump to the core of our interview. Most times when people quit their jobs they actually “quit their managers”. What are your thoughts on the best way to retain great talent today?
In my opinion, these are some of the best ways to keep talent within your company:
- Offer possibilities and promote self improvement of your employees by offering them training programs to help them reach their full potential.
- Work hard to create a proper work-life balance for your staff.
- Create a supportive and flexible working environment.
How do you synchronize large teams to effectively work together?
In GTM Plus we have a lot of experience in working with remote employees because we are building dedicated teams for individual startups and small businesses. Therefore, we understand the importance of synchronizing large and multiple teams to effectively work together.
Here are 5 tips that work for me and my remote teams:
1) Minimize and standardize channels for online communication with the team. It’s better to set standards for the company. Everyone should be available there within the agreed working hours.
2) If you have flexible hours for work in the office, for remote teams it’s better to have the standard working time for everyone in a team, so people won’t disturb each other in an inappropriate time. Having all people that work on a specific project online at the same time for a few hours is way more effective than having all these hours spread out over the entire week.
3) Daily synch-ups. They are very helpful because everyone commits to what he/she will do today and directly receive feedback. In addition, it’s a nice way to socially start of your working day together with your colleagues.
4) One-to-one. It’s very hard to know the mood, challenges, and working issues of everyone while working in the office. This is even harder for remote work. That’s why one-to-one meetings online are even more important in this case.
5) Follow-ups after all meetings. Sometimes people are distracted during online calls, so follow-ups are a good solution to remind about the outcomes of the meeting.
Here is the main question of our discussion. Based on your personal experience, what are the “5 Things You Need To Know To Successfully Manage a Team”.
- Planning and sticking to a strategy is a must. A team needs to know what the final goal of the project is and how to reach this goal. Make sure to create an effective teamwork strategy.
- First people, then technologies. Simple fact — open communication and relationships are everything for a manager.
- You can’t buy motivation. When an employee isn’t interested in the work or project, this will result in a less productive working environment, no matter the skill level of the employee.
- Time is money. The thing managers keep in mind forever: every decision, delay, mistake costs time, and there is a price to pay for these things.
- As a manager, you always need to balance the interests of your client and your team. This can be a hard task, as these interests can be conflicting in many cases. However, I believe that a manager needs to stand fully behind his team so the employees know that their manager is there to support them.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
The best thing any CEO or founder can do to support their employees is to establish a mission and communicate a vision that engages everyone. Every employee should feel that he/she is an important part of the project, that the project will not work without him/her.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I would focus on healthcare and ecological industry startups. First of all, it also involves my technical and business operation expertise. Secondly, it solves two main and most important problems nowadays. Thirdly, these industries will always be relevant.
Can you please give us your favorite Life Lesson Quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My top one life lesson is “Nothing is impossible, because your limitation — it’s only your imagination”. I always try to do more than I could expect from me. Sometimes it’s a failure, but sometimes it’s a great success. But it’s worth the risk, isn’t it?
How can our readers further follow your work online?