Remote/Virtual Decision-Making: Simulated or Real-World – There’s Very Little Difference!

COVID required all organizations to quickly re-tool for a more digitized and remote work environment. If COVID had happened 5 years ago, before the maturity of tools like Zoom/WebEx/Teams and before the tight integration of video/audio within our laptops, business survival during COVID would have been a LOT more difficult.

Over that past 18 months we have been busy teaching business decision-making in mostly virtual classes. During this time, I’ve realized that the types of conversations, collaboration, and tools that you need to make decisions within our business simulations is no different than what you need for actual, real-world decision-making.

COVID didn’t only force organizations to change the way they did business, COVID accelerated our employee’s abilities to do so as well. If COVID had not occurred, employee comfort with remote/virtual collaboration and decision-making would have eventually occurred – but perhaps not for another 3-5 years.

I feel the future of work and business decision-making is exciting. As people get more and more comfortable and skillful with this new way of working, productivity and job flexibility/satisfaction will soar. Below is a list of some of the video conferencing best practices that we’ve observed that make the virtual decision-making process more efficient and effective. NOTE: I’m using Zoom as my video conferencing platform-of-choice.

  • Learn how to effectively use the annotation features. I would argue annotation is MORE powerful than sitting in a room with individuals and writing on a flipchart/whiteboard. There is no better way to focus someone’s attention. NOTE: If you are the presenter, make sure to try out Zoom’s “vanishing ink” annotation tool. Wow.
  • Use the spacebar to mute/unmute easily. For intermittent conversations – forget about clicking and unclicking the MUTE button. Just hold down the space bar and talk. And then let go.
  • On Windows computers get comfortable with Alt-Tab key combination. Easily bounce between all your open applications without having to click on the task bar. When you’re running Zoom plus other applications, you’ll need to be able to quickly jump from window to window.
  • Keep your video on as much as possible. This keeps you accountable and gives everyone energy.
  • Learn how to quickly share documents, URLs, etc. Zoom’s chat feature allows this.
  • Enhance collaboration by allowing others to remotely control your computer. This allows another team member to quickly get a task done that might take you more time. NOTE: make sure your computer’s permissions allow this.