Hi All,

Our small, remote team frequently experiences long delays when requesting services from a team located at our corporate HQ. We assume the best, that the team is buys. We also are blocking on some deliverables.

We can force results, as it where, by engaging the right people but we also feel that we aren't building up a good working relationship with the people on the other team.

My question is, what steps can we take to oil this relationship?

I did do some searching and found a post on an unresponsive peer, but a difference here is that we want to build the relationship up toward the end of getting results. We would rather not use the organizational hammer so often.

Thank you!



svibanez's picture

I was in a similar situation several years ago, when I was sent overseas to set up a new office.  I continued to produce great results, but nearly derailed my career in the process. Had I known about the techniques Mike & Mark talk about, I would have done things a lot differently (things were pretty much in the tank by the time the podcasts started - and I wouldn't learn of them until a few year after that).

I probably would have done something like peer one-on-ones over the phone, kicking them off during a visit to the home office.  I was fortunate enough to get back to the home office about twice a year.  I would also have used those visits to build other relationships (especially with my boss's peers).

I hope you hear from others as to how they have handled this kind of situation and turned around remote relationships.  Remote assignments can be challenging - and very rewarding.  I loved it and look forward to another opportunity.


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naraa's picture
Training Badge

Building the relationship as Steve says is the key, and remember relationships are build one-on-ones and not team to team, so identify who on your team to connect with whom on the other side, encourage regular talks, video-conference and if you can and I highly encourage that to happen person-to-person contact.

You can also observe what your team can do differently to obtain a better response.  Common mistakes I have seen:

1 - Not setting clear expectations.  For example ask for something without clearly setting the deadline for it.

2 - Not sharing the vision you have of the importance of the issue with the people you are requesting it from. 

For  example, if you are asking something because you have a committment with a client and  that client is particularly important because you are negotiating something else with him, share some information about that with the people, of course no details or specific, but involve the people you are asking for something on your vision, and much better if you can connect that with a broader target of the organization.

3 - Only contacting the person to demand something, never sharing a good result when they actually deliver it, thanking them and informing them how the information was critical to the client satisfaction or something else.

4 - Not enough heads-up to the other side, not giving them sufficient time to respond. 

This happens either to a lack of organization and planning to be able to demand things in advance or  because one waits till the issue is fully confirmed while the matter could have been informed to the other side earlier on so that when the deal finally closed they were more prepared for it.  For example: "we have a 80% probably of needing your assistance on this issue in three weeks time, unfortuntely we will only get confirmation by  this date, I will then let you know, can you give me a response on the issue then within a weeks time?". 

5 - No understading of the other side´s committments and obligations and how a request from the remote operation impact their daily activities and committments in the HQ.

6 - No sufficient remainder to the other side of their commitements.  Not holding them accountable.

The issue to the local office is clearly much more important to the local office than it is for the HQ.  If the local office is not making them accountable, by remainind them of near to meet or unmet deadlines, the HQ people will clearly not put the right emphasis on the issue, because they are being pressed by their bosses to deliver something else. 

What I find really helps is get the key people from the operation, not just the managers, to visit the subsidiary location, and spend some time there to experience the importance of their actions in the day-to-day operation of the subsidiary office.  Three months exchange programs or people exchange programs can do wonders.

Something I have learned late as well from manager-tools is: never use the organization hammer before you tell the people  that you are going to do so.  Sometimes they actually need you to, because  they need their boss to prioritize the same issue you are requesting.  But tell them you are going to do so before you do it. 

I am working on increasing synergy from two separate offices in different countries.  It is not easy task.  The way we have been able to improve (still very far from optimum, it is a long  term goal) is through people exchange, people from one office coming to work on the other office either through temporary or indefinite transfers, and then through the connection of these people which have relationship on both sides we are getting better-quicker responses.

We also tried using online softwares to register and track requests and also to give people an opportunity to see how their action affects a bigger committment milestone (we use active collab and wrike), but it didn´t work out so well, as not everyone bought into it and we kept using emails.

Let us know how you manage to improve as these here are only suggestions, and trial and error tentatives, I am far from having the definite solution.  I find there is a lot of pre-conceived opinions that need to be broken first before things will work out better.