Now, timelier than ever, our President and founder Larry English shares his insight into managing a successful, mostly virtual company for over 20 years. He has recently told various publications about how to make the transition into remote work and then continue to thrive as an “Office Optional” company for years to come.
Larry sat down with IEEE TV’s Jaquelyn Worx to discuss how Centric Consulting started as a virtual company and what other organizations can do to get started.
The 11-minute interview explains why we became virtual over two decades ago, including our emphasis on work-life balance and employee happiness. Larry explains the difficult parts of leading a remote workforce, the importance of modeling vulnerability as a leader, and how companies can make the transition to permanently adopting remote work.
Here’s one piece of advice you’ll gain:
“There’s a skill to learning how to build relationships in a virtual environment,” Larry says. “It’s not just talking about business; it’s really learning to connect on a personal level so that you have deeper connections among your workforce.”
Larry spoke with The Columbus Dispatch about how Centric Consulting started as a virtual company and how it has remained successful for 20 years.
The article digs into how Larry co-founded Centric 20 years ago, and how he learned to make it a successful, largely remote company.
“English said it’s crucial for companies venturing into remote working to train employees how to work virtually, which includes building conflict resolution skills without in-person visual cues and permitting midday breaks to stay energized,” the article says.
The article further explains how Larry and the other company leaders learned to develop the best remote culture, sharing some successes and learning moments from earlier days.
A guest author for Ms. Career Girl, Larry shared six steps for building a sustainable remote work culture.
One of his main points explains how vulnerability is the key to building culture.
“Vulnerability is critical to building relationships and culture. I personally have struggled with learning how to model vulnerability as a leader. It was painful at first, but over time, it’s become easier. Leaders must be real about what makes them tick as people and show new hires how to do the same. It might feel like oversharing, but without face-to-face interaction, sharing your human side is critical.”
The article further explains how COVID-19 launched companies into remote work mode, but Larry also shares that this newfound way of working most likely isn’t going away even after the virus does.
Larry spoke to News Talk Radio – KFIZ about Office Optional, and how to build a sustainable remote environment for your business.
Host Spencer Wagen talked to him on the air about his experience working for a remote company for 20 years, and Larry shared wisdom for any company looking to stay virtual long term. The segment was short but filled with useful information.
The National CIO Review featured Larry in a recent article in which they tackle ways to manage online meetings effectively.
The article shares three main practices for remote workers to follow when trying to get the most out of their remote meetings: Share the playbook, Take the lead, and Level the playing field.
Larry spoke to taking the lead by implementing engagement tactics to keep everyone involved. “Sometimes, we include an agenda item where everyone shares their highest high and lowest low for the month. Some moderators kick-off meetings with a question like ‘What is the grossest food you have ever eaten?’ or ‘If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?’ Either way, for the first five minutes or so, we talk on a personal level before diving into business,” he said.
Larry English is president and co-founder of Centric Consulting, a management consulting firm that guides you in the search for answers to complex digital, business, and technology problems. Before Centric Consulting, Larry worked for a large international consulting firm out of college until he got burned out at 25. He and his newlywed wife backpacked around the world as he tried to find his path in life—and he did. Shortly after returning home, he and his like-minded pals founded Centric with a focus on changing how consulting was done by building a remote company with a mission to create a culture of employee and client happiness.
Today, Centric is a 1,000-plus person company with offices in 12 US cities and India. In his new book, Office Optional: How to Build a Connected Culture with Virtual Teams, Larry unpacks everything he’s discovered about creating and sustaining a culture of collaborative teams in a virtual environment. Connect with Larry on Twitter.