Building high performing teams in a virtual environment

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Working Virtually

Author: Adam Lipman

With the COVID-19 pandemic impacting all our lives, the way we conduct our day-to-day work has had to adapt, with many finance professionals making more use of online meeting provision instead of office space, meeting rooms and conferences.

With such a rapid shift in how we operate and work together, we ask the important question of how to build high performing teams in a virtual environment?

In the tenth episode of our ‘In Conversation’ podcast series, Bo Huang, CFA, talks to Emma Cleveland, Founder and Managing Director at Cleveland & Co, a legal advisory firm, about her views of working remotely,  managing diverse teams and how to be a good leader outside of a traditional office set-up.

Preparation is key

Emma explains that her business was set up with agility in mind. The tools needed to work remotely were already in use when the pandemic hit as plenty of preparation had been done previously.

She says: “We didn’t find it difficult as perhaps other firms that always had that face time…we were used to using the tools so that really helped.”

“In January we had tested our business continuity plan and had everyone work from home for a period of two weeks. We tested our systems and interactions of how to maintain collaboration within the team. There were lots of learnings which made it a much smoother ride when we shut in March.”

The challenges of working from home

Whether it is looking after your children or sharing the same internet connection with other house mates, we have all become more aware of the challenges of working from home.

Bo questions Emma about her experience of juggling work commitments in the home environment? Having two children, who were at home during the first lockdown, Emma believes it’s all about, “balancing all those things and working as a team, even at home!” Being adaptable is vital during this challenging time.

Recruiting diverse views and skills

A combination of personalities and skill sets are the drivers behind many successful organisations. “We focus on strengths; we focus on developing strengths, and we focus on bringing a composite of strengths that complement each other within the team,” says Emma.

Not everyone is good at everything. A multifaceted workforce, who are capable of delivering on many fronts, set organisations on the path to building high performing teams.   

Listen to the podcast to find out how to improve your leadership skills:


Emma Cleveland Emma Cleveland, Managing Director and Founder, Cleveland & Co


Bo Huang, CFA  Bo Huang, CFA, Founder and Director at Go Seed Alpha





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