“I consider myself unafraid of pushing the status quo if it advances objectives and leads a better result for the business.”
Nancy Fijan President & Chief Creative Officer at Nancy Fijan Consulting Inc
Nancy Fijan (Class of 2013) is passionate about coaching talent, fostering employee excellence, and ensuring all voices are heard within complex organizations. In a recent interview with CFAME Connection, Nancy shares her thoughts in the next post in our series on virtual teams:
How should leaders engage within the age of technological change?
Nancy: There is what I like to call a digital ethos in the world today. Thanks to the internet, Apple and now the Internet of Things, customers are driving this sentiment globally and disruptors are forcing businesses to join the community or become exiled into extinction. Mobile workers and virtual teams are a natural evolution for companies and institutions in such times. I would ask those leaders and companies who are still resisting this evolution as to why? What are they concerned about? How are they evaluating the risk to change their ways of working? I would say to them that people are their greatest asset – trust them. People want to make a meaningful contribution, period. And will do so under the right leadership, no matter where or how they work, nor whether millennial or long tenured.
Has mobility increased your ability to communicate in real-time?
Nancy: Yes, of course. Mobility creates communication efficiency and effectiveness. I am able to process many sources of information at once and much more quickly, and respond during the in between times, (i.e. waiting for a meeting to begin or someone to join me for dinner, or sitting on the train or waiting for the plane to board), when a quick reply is all that is required. Whenever I engage with new leaders, peers, work groups or team members, I establish how and when we will communicate as not everything requires an immediate response and/or reaction. It is important to use medium wisely for decision making and momentum – patience and thoughtfulness are still very much needed in a world of digital addiction, distraction, and instant gratification. And I always shut my phone off in the car as I don’t believe in hands free when I’m driving.
BYOD and work life balance: how do you keep your personal and business separated when your contact list/phone numbers are in one device?
Nancy: This is an interesting topic. I think it depends on the company/institution culture and individual choice/preference. For work life balance, this seems to be evolving as a concept into work life integration which promotes a healthier approach to blending personal and professional priorities. I foresee new designs and developments in this space to provide mutually viable cost-effective software solutions. I also think that the onboarding process for new employees in companies will evolve from, ‘here is your company laptop and cell phone, and all of our security procedures, intranet sites that you need to follow and use’, to ‘here is your universal company ID and relevant link to connect with us to access a system or submit work.’
What do you enjoy most about being involved within a virtual team?
Nancy: I thrive on the energy and pace, and truly value the diversity of contribution and connection. It forces you to really listen, ask good questions and share ideas or opinions, whether you are coming from a place of courage, creativity or expertise. Diverse perspectives from colleagues in other countries or locations always lead to a better outcome, whether a new playbook, proposition, product or process. Always. As mentioned earlier customers are a driving force, and virtual teams create a closer connection to the actual customer experience because of how they engage to complete tasks. There are powerful insights to be garnered in this regard that sitting in a meeting room does not evoke.