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Can Remote Work Pave the Way for New Global Leadership Models?

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Can Remote Work Pave the Way for New Global Leadership Models?

To BCG’s network around the world,

Leaders have had to deal with massive challenges over the past few months, but there have been some positive surprises. Many of us, for instance, have recognized the effectiveness and benefits of remote working for our organizations and ourselves—a shift that got me thinking about what this can mean for leadership teams.

In an environment in which the fundamental nature of globalization is being challenged, can remote work make a distributed global leadership model more accessible? Can it transform the ways we run a business so that leadership teams are closer and more cohesive, even when their members are scattered around the world?

The notion of a globally distributed leadership team has been business-as-usual at BCG for as long as I can remember. Because of that, we’ve always brought our executive committee together in person four times a year, to share perspectives and set the direction for the firm. In addition, it has been important to me and my predecessors to travel to as many of our offices as possible, connecting with clients, staff, and our partners around the world.

When we were first confined to our home offices four months ago, I was skeptical that we would be able to stay connected, learn and innovate, and maintain the culture and values so deeply rooted in BCG. But now I find we’re working together as a team better than ever. Of course, some of the success we’ve had with going virtual is a result of strong relationships built through in-person meetings over many years. But there’s something uniquely effective about the way we’re collaborating right now.

From my home in New York, I’ve connected with thousands of my colleagues face-to-face, conducted meetings with dozens of leadership teams, and engaged with hundreds of CEOs around the world. We may be missing some of the informal elements of in-person meetings, but in many ways these conversations feel more up-close and intimate than the ones we have in large conference settings or formal offices. And the spirit of collaboration can be just as deep.

We are at the early stages of this virtual journey, but I am excited about the opportunities. Understanding local dynamics, particularly in major markets, is essential these days, and a distributed leadership team gives companies on-the-ground access around the world. It also opens up new ways to create diverse teams and shape careers.

Please see below for some of our latest thinking on leading in the new reality, including our new installment in the COVID-19 BCG Perspectives Series. I am also sharing an important new article on the essential requirements and policies to protect the vulnerable. Next week, I’ll be focusing on how to build a more resilient business.

Rich Lesser
Chief Executive Officer


Ensuring an Inclusive Recovery
A successful COVID-19 recovery should be inclusive, setting up a better future for all.
The Policies We Need to Protect the Vulnerable—Right Now
Keeping the vulnerable out of the hospital radically reduces the health care burden and dramatically raises economic options.
Remote Work Works—Where Do We Go from Here?
Assessing which roles are best suited to remote, onsite, or hybrid working models will help establish a long-term ambition for the future of work.
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