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Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics
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Teamsmith Virtual Team Olympics

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  • Virtual teams are comprised of individuals that play different roles. Team members must utilize a variety of collective and individual skills to enable a virtual team to become high performing. However, as Carte, Chidambaram & Becker (2006) revealed, not all roles are equal and some tools should be used more often than others; however, it is still wise to carry a complete set of tools. Using the right tools can help move a virtual team from mediocrity to mastery. You must be wondering, then, what tools should be in your virtual toolbelt? Which ones should be used most often? And how you can acquire the tools you need most? Well, Teamsmith is here to help. We’ve been crafting virtual teams since 2012 and our top-of-the-line tools will improve performance, guaranteed!
  • Research suggests that while quadrants II and III promote effective group functioning, they focus primarily on outputs, neglecting to prioritize quadrants I and IV--those that relate to creative, shared problem-solving. Therefore, we have created a ninth tool for our belt, a role that sits at the center of all the quandrants: CXO (Chief Experience Officer). Borrowing from the world of user-interface design, the CXO is the person on the team most responsible for overseeing the user-experience of team members and outside constituents. They are the lone point of contact for ensuring that all voices are heard and that creativity and innovation  are contributing to goal attainment at the highest level possible. Moreover, the CXO is not only responsible for increasing efficiency, but also effectiveness. The CXO role incorporates the best of all four quadrants and builds on three fundamental schools of leadership--visionary, directive, and participatory.All nine tools contribute to team performance, but the combination of monitor, producer, and CXO create extraordinarily high performing teams
  • This is the VT sport that Teamsmith invented! Borrowing from the world of user-interface design, the CXO is the person on the team most responsible for overseeing the user-experience of team members and outside constituents. They are the lone point of contact for ensuring that all voices are heard and that creativity and innovation are contributing to goal attainment at the highest level possible.
  • It was fascinating to see all of the different forms the role of “Innovator” could take. Each team member contributed his or her expertise to the creative process. This was particularly useful in the beginning stages of the project, since subsequent actions were based upon the vision that was created through this role.
  • Kets de Vries (2011) writes, “Social networking skills are an aspect of emotional intelligence. Close observation shows that stars have more extensive communication networks than most, both within and outside their own organization. Through these networks, they create social capital, access to information, support, and knowledge crucial to their long-term effectiveness” (pp. 295-6). The team wisely tapped into resources outside of the team. Maintaining and adding to these relationships will be key in navigating the world of collaboration. Not only will it benefit the TeamSmith members, but it will also open doors to opportunities to serve other teams and individuals. Teamsmith should be intentional about stewarding these relationships well and not just tapping into them only when a need arises.
  • Each Teamsmith member was faithful in completing his or her tasks, even in the midst of working on final assignments for other classes. Sharing schedules and requesting materials or information by a certain time were strategies that aided the completion of all tasks and motivated teammates to complete them efficiently.
  • The team did not discuss specific roles as separate from tasks ->  Perhaps role clarification in the beginning of the process would have helped the team move forward more quickly, since team members would likely take responsibility for their role and would monitor whether progress was being made.  There was a period of time during which communication between team members had tapered off; as a result, tasks did not progress.  However, assigning roles might not necessarily be the answer to this communication issue.  Carte, Chidambaram, and Becker (2006) write;  “...a combination of individual and collective leadership behaviors is needed to ensure the success of self-managed virtual teams” (p. 340).  Perhaps if all of the team members were more strongly focused on the team goals early in the life of the project, progress would have taken place sooner.  TeamSmith had a hiatus of communication between the beginning stages of its work and the middle stages. Nevertheless, once the team did resume its work, members produced in an efficient manner. Designating a director might have prevented that lapse in action. Middle-stage conversations focused on tasks and who would accomplish or oversee them. Had the group discussed the role of a director in addition to the specific tasks that needed completion, the group might have progressed more quickly in its middle stages. For this lapse in role clarification, the bronze medal was awarded.
  • Teamsmith did well in this category, working around the various internal weaknesses and external threats outlined in the SWOT analysis. Technology challenges, complex travel schedules, and different time zones created hurdles that the team had to clear. But clear them they did! Levi asserts, “Virtual teams need more structure, such as clear objectives and detailed plans, so that team members can monitor their own behavior and more easily coordinate with others…Because most of the work is done individually, a well-defined structure and periodic meetings are needed to ensure coordination and collaboration” (p. 270).
  • Team members engaged in quite a bit of individual monitoring throughout the project, but at some points, shared monitoring was not as prevalent. Most likely, this was because each team member was focused on his or her part of the project, so there was not always time to fully monitor every update that was sent. When it came time for TeamSmith to assemble all of the information for the two deliverables, one team member offered to serve as the closure “super-monitor.” He collected all of the information and pulled it together, creating a sense of continuity. While every team member fulfilled this role throughout he project, one person was needed at the end to assemble and send off the final product. Once again, a Teamsmith member came through and accomplished the task!
  • Area of improvement: According to Carte, Chidambaram & Becker (2006), high performing teams exhibit “shared monitoring and concentrated producing behaviors” (p. 340). The expedited nature of our particular VT experience necessitated delegation. However, the needed delegation prevented a higher level of shared monitoring that would have improved the quality of our communications and progress along the way.
  • Many of the behaviors listed under this role point back to the Teamsmith contract. The team agreed to respectfully listen to all opinions, make sure the full team is comfortable with the project’s direction, and peacefully compromise when necessary. The team adhered to its contract beautifully. There were no conflicts or other interactive difficulties that interfered with the work of the team.
  • Note: Our team especially excelled in this sport. Each individual would be quick to offer resources and skills that benefitted the group. There was a culture of sharing and mentorship, versus selfishness and competition.
  • Again, Teamsmith worked on an accelerated timeline from the mid-point of the project through the end. Perhaps time constraints, travel, and other assignments prevented team members from fully assuming the role of CXO. In future virtual team experiences, Teamsmith members will be aware of the importance of this role and the need for every team member to take responsibility for the overall experience of team members and outside constituents.
  • Area of improvement: A dedicated team member focused on evaluating and improving team performance at a meta level would have been useful.
  • Consideration for Teamsmith is based on the amateur level of a high performance virtual team. Had Teamsmith been an experienced virtual team, medal results would have been different.
  • Strengths (Internal)What is working well?Our diversity as a team. Our team of four members presented was ethnically diverse (African American, Filipino American and two European Americans) and in gender composition (50% female, 50% male). We represented the nonprofit and educational sectors, with two members (Jess and Charesse) having had ministerial leadership roles in the church context in the past. We also had a diversity of skills and access to resources. Our pre-existing trust and sincere affinity for each other. We had shared context and history in the cohort and had informally and formally worked together physically and virtually in teams for over two years. Our culture of participatory decision-making and collaborative leadership. Every member was eager to participate and preferred participatory processes in decision making, helping discussions have a natural inclusive and engaged flow. Firm rules and the establishment of roles helped the flow and efficiency of our process. Our appreciative and affirming spirit, individually and as a group. Each member was quick to express gratitude and affirmation for efforts of other members, creating an immediately supportive team environment.  Our shared commitment to project completion and success. We all had a common drive. Efficient and punctual project completion as well as a good grade were shared goals.Weaknesses (internal)What needs improvement or modification?Our incompatible schedules. We lived in two different time zones, which made meeting planning somewhat challenging. Jess also started a second job and had a challenging travel schedule during the VT process. Three of the four members travelled for work at different times, significantly reducing the time that all four of us were available simultaneously to meet, Our geographical distance. We were on both west cost and eats cost, and three of the four of us travelled around the country and overseas during the VT project process. Our high sense of trust has caused assumptions that have caused lags in communication and periods of unproductivity. This is the downside of trusting each other too much. In addition, our preference for participatory decision-making slowed down our process, especially at times we needed to make quick decisions. Our initial slow start in communication. This resulted in us jumping to reactive vs. proactive mode. We rushed the timeline and delegation of tasks initially, sacrificing thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and quality.Opportunities (external)What opportunities are around us?Our project serves as a hands on learning laboratory for virtual team performance.  Our varied contexts. Our individual environments and contexts multiplied our ability to test our virtual team learning processes. As we were learning to be a high performance virtual team ourselves, it helped that each of us had ongoing team or organizational contexts we were already committed to in addition to the virtual team. This gave us additional contexts to apply, test or reflect on lessons we were learning about high performance teams. Our lessons are extremely applicable. Our lessons and deliverables will be applicable to the burgeoning field of virtual teams and communications, with relevant and immediate translatability to all the organizational contexts each of us were already involved with (school VTs, non-profit VTs, inter-organizational VTs, etc.) Our opportunity to learn and master virtual communication mediums. VT mediums are at their infancy stage and we were able to sample several of them (Wimba, Adobe Connect, Skype, and Google hangout) to test, compare, and master the mediums.Threats (external)What obstacles do we face?Our connectivity challenges. Our varied access to reliable internet connection and consistent internet speeds. Internet connection speed or consistency often affected the quality of our communication. At times, the process of logging on and ensuring visibility an audibility consumed at least 50% of our actual meeting time. Our virtual communication systems were interrupted and deleted. We lost WIMBA half-way through our virtual team process. Our novice experience in cultivating a high performance VTs. We were often intimidated and discouraged by the impersonal nature of VTs, and we had little experience focusing on effective VTs.  Our limited timeframe. Our limited timeframe often made us feel we were “manufacturing” or “rushing” lessons before adequately digesting them.
  • Virtual teams are comprised of individuals that play different roles. Team members must utilize a variety of collective and individual skills to enable a virtual team to become high performing. However, as Carte, Chidambaram & Becker (2006) revealed, not all roles are equal and some tools should be used more often than others; however, it is still wise to carry a complete set of tools. Using the right tools can help move a virtual team from mediocrity to mastery. You must be wondering, then, what tools should be in your virtual toolbelt? Which ones should be used most often? And how you can acquire the tools you need most? Well, Teamsmith is here to help. We’ve been crafting virtual teams since 2012 and our top-of-the-line tools will improve performance, guaranteed!
  • References:sharing a strong common goal (Kets de Vries, 2011)working interdependently to accomplish a goal (Levi, 2011, p. 2)  sharing a strong sense of community (Gratton & Erickson, 2007)building trust and respect and engaging in open dialogue and communication (Kets de Vries, 2011; Levi, 2011) maintaining a high level of trust (Kets de Vries, 2011)engaging in both task- and relationship-oriented behaviors (Kets de Vries, 2011)engaging in open dialogue and communication (Kets de Vries, 2011)subscribing to distributed leadership (Kets de Vries, 2011)emphasizing shared monitoring and concentrated producing (Carte, Laku, Chidambaram & Becker, 2006)
  • Transcript

    • 1. An interactive analysis of Teamsmith’s real life formation and development as a high performance virtual team
    • 2. The Competition• Teamsmith is the sole contestant, but depending on how well it does as a virtual team, it will receive a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal in each of the virtual team “sports”• The medals: GOLD = high performing VT SILVER = a regularly performing VT BRONZE = a virtual working group
    • 3. “In order to understand the complex nature of leadership in a virtual/self-managedteam environment, we apply the leaderplex framework (Denison et al. 1995; Quinn1984) (see Figure 1), which consists of eight different roles:Innovator, Broker, Producer, Director, Coordinator, Monitor, Facilitator and Mentor”(Carte, Chidambaram& Becker, 2006, p. 326).“While support can be found in the leadership literature to support all eight of ourleadership behaviors positively impacting group performance, our specific context ofvirtual, self-managed teams may benefit from some of these behaviors more thanothers” (Carte, Chidambaram & Becker, 2006, p. 329).“Our findings suggest that in such environments [self-managed virtual teams], sharedmonitoring and concentrated producing behaviors were more likely to be exhibited byhigh-performing teams” (Carte, Chidambaram & Becker, 2006, p. 340).
    • 4. Which VT “sport” envisions, encourages,and facilitates change?
    • 5. Which VT “sport” acquires resources andmaintains a network of external contacts?
    • 6. Which VT “sport” seeks task completionand motivates others to do the same
    • 7. Which VT “sport” engages in goalsetting and role clarification?
    • 8. Which VT “sport” maintains structurethrough scheduling, coordinating, andproblem solving?
    • 9. Which VT “sport” collects anddistributes information to provide asense of continuity
    • 10. Which VT “sport” encourages theexpression of opinions, seeksconsensus, and negotiatescompromise?
    • 11. Which VT “sport” listens actively,supports legitimate requests, andattempts to facilitate development?
    • 12. Which VT “sport” oversees andimproves the overall experience ofteam members and outsideconstituents?
    • 13. Innovatorenvisions, encourages, and facilitates changeTeamsmith• All four team members engaged in innovative and visionary behaviors in the process of developing the two team deliverables.• Two team members generated ideas for the deliverables, and one of these suggested a target audience. Another teammate developed a web page and twitter account.• Another member facilitated a transfer to Google video conferencing when Wimba was eliminated as an option.• One team member suggested switching the group timeline onto a Google calendar in order to consolidate all of the team documents on one site, and oversaw that process.
    • 14. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 15. Brokeracquires resources and maintains a network of external contactsTeamsmith:• Three members of the team ran questions by the course instructors in order to most accurately meet the project objectives.• One team member communicated with another virtual group about a deliverable they were producing and entertained the possibility of aligning our groups’ deliverables since they are aimed at the same target audience.• One team member tapped into a resource who was able to assist with a technology issue.• These contacts were not necessarily maintained throughout the life of the project.
    • 16. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 17. Producerseeks task completion and motivates others to do the sameTeamsmith:• All four group members took responsibility for completing one part of the group task.• Team members were eager to move the project forward by taking on tasks.• They worked on their tasks independently for a time (concentrated producing), and then coordinated with each other in pairs in order to merge their parts together seamlessly.
    • 18. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 19. Directorengages in goal setting and role clarificationTeamsmith• All members of the team engaged in goal setting and clarification - asking questions, making suggestions, and checking for understanding.• One group member took inventory of project tasks and noted one outstanding assignment. A teammate agreed to cover that piece of the project.• The team did not discuss specific roles as separate from tasks.• Once the team did resume its work, members produced in an efficient manner.
    • 20. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 21. Coordinatormaintains structure through scheduling, coordinating, and problem solvingTeamsmith• One group member initially put forth a proposed agenda that launched the work of the team.• Two group members set up a timeline and then a calendar to ensure that group members were clear on task completion expectations.• All team members posted documents on a Google docs site, so that all teammates could add to, edit, and coordinate documents. This eliminated the need for additional video chats.
    • 22. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 23. Monitorcollects and distributes information to provide a sense of continuityTeamsmith• Each team member was diligent in checking email regularly and responding to teammates.• All teammates viewed, commented on, and/or contributed to the various documents throughout the project.• Members moved the group forward by coordinating activities.• Members identified missing pieces of deliverables and took steps to ensure they were covered.• Deadlines were monitored and met.
    • 24. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 25. Facilitatorencourages the expression of opinions, seeks consensus, andnegotiates compromise• The team has been very mindful of seeking consensus and making sure each team member is comfortable with decisions and actions steps. On several occasions, members have asked one another by name if they are okay with a particular direction.• Team members have made requests of each other and asked each other’s opinion on questions of coordinating final pieces of the deliverables.
    • 26. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 27. Mentorlistens actively, supports legitimate requests, and attempts tofacilitate developmentTeamsmith:• One team member supported another team member two times by providing a phone connection during virtual conference sessions when audio problems interfered with communication• A team member reminded the rest of the team about one member’s travel schedule that would necessitate strict adherence to deadlines and would result in an inability to communicate.• One team member facilitated a video conference session fraught with technical challenges by patiently walking team members through various problem solving steps, resulting in all four members eventually being able to participate fully.
    • 28. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 29. Chief Experience Officer (CXO)oversees and improves the overall experience of team membersand outside constituentsTeamsmith:• At various points, each team member contributed to the overall team experience, albeit in a piecemeal fashion.• Ideally, all team members should take responsibility for assuming this role.
    • 30. Bronze, Silver, or Gold?
    • 31. for Teamsmith: Bronze, Silver, or Gold?Teamsmith has been awarded a GOLD medal for the all-aroundcompetition, due to its effectiveness as a high performance team.
    • 32. Strengths WeaknessesWhat is working well? What needs improvement or modification?Our diversity as a team. Our incompatible schedules.Our pre-existing trust and sincere affinity for each Our geographical distance.Our culture of participatory decision-making and Our high sense of trust has caused assumptionscollaborative leadership. that have caused lags in communication and periods of unproductivity.Our appreciative and affirming spirit, individuallyand as a group. Our initial slow start in communication.Our shared commitment to project completionand success.Opportunities ThreatsWhat opportunities are around us? What obstacles do we face?Our project serves as a hands on learning Our connectivity challenges.laboratory for virtual team performance. Our virtual communication systems wereOur varied contexts. interrupted and deleted.Our lessons are extremely applicable. Our novice experience in cultivating a high performance VTs.Our opportunity to learn and master virtualcommunication mediums. Our limited timeframe.
    • 33. Teamsmith initially had to bring definition to the goals it was givento accomplish. Slowly, brainstorming began and role ownership tookplace; ideas emerged and the group was able to formulate morespecific plans of action. At that point, each team member had aspecific task to work on, but the tasks were all toward the sameend: the two team deliverables. In this way, all four members wereengaged in joint action. They worked on their part, ran it by theothers, invited input, offered feedback, and refined the finishedproducts. One specific example of interdependence was when oneteam member could not do her part until a teammate provided thebackground for it. This interdependence made each personaccountable to the others, and it built trust on the team, as eachperson depended on others to provide what was needed in a timelymanner. Levi (2011) writes: “Developing trust among teammembers is the foundation for both task and social communication invirtual teams” (p. 270).
    • 34. Teamsmith members expressed appreciation, or perhapscommendations, to one another at various points in the process,either directly or by way of complimenting a teammate’s work in anemail to the full team. Negative talk among Teamsmith memberswas non-existent, so the team exceeded TeamSpeak’s recommendedtwo-to-one ratio of positive talk to negative talk.
    • 35. Teamsmith had a great experience with risk taking. One teammember was out of the country, which already put constraints onhow accessible the project would be for him on certain days. Butthen his city got flooded, making internet access close to impossible.He did manage to email the team to explain his situation. Teammembers prayed and assured him that the project would getcompleted one way or another. Fortunately, the water subsided, andteam member was able to finish his portion of the deliverable; butthe team was ready to jump in if necessary! Support and opennesscharacterized the team, particularly during that period.
    • 36. As stated previously, the four members of Teamsmith entered thisassignment as fellow members of a close cohort. Trust andenjoyment of one another were already in place when the teamstarted its work. That being said, the four members had neverbefore worked together as a team, let alone as a virtual team, so wedid still have some growing to do in terms of learning how eachmember typically operates in a team context and the expertise thateach would bring to the project. In the end, each member madesignificant contributions to the overall work, and we were impressedwith the skills that teammates demonstrated! If this team were totake on another virtual team task, start-up time would likely bequicker since the social distance has decreased over the course ofthis project and the team has been reminded of the importance ofconsistent communication.
    • 37. The four team members of Teamsmith entered the project at thesame power level; there was no sense of hierarchy within the team.On the one hand, that is great, because each member can feel freeto contribute without being inhibited by or limited by powerstructures. In fact, Levi (2011) states, “Decision making is improvedin virtual teams by more equal-status communication” (p. 272). Onthe other hand, there was not a clear “leader” who was viewed asthe initiator. The role of CXO that we propose adding to theLeaderplex model would eliminate any hesitancy or confusion thatresults from not having a designated leader. The leader would nothave to possess more power, but rather serve as a facilitator and aperson committed to keeping tabs on the big-picture experience.Levi, D. (2011). Group dynamics for teams. Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc.
    • 38. Teamsmith members engaged in both inquiry and advocacy, with membersshowing particular expertise in asking questions to gain clarification or tostimulate thinking in another direction. Virtual team communication,however, leaves listeners with only words and tone of voice (unless thevideo provides a clear visual) to convey the meaning of the message.Without body language and facial expressions to read, virtual teammembers may not fully comprehend the message being communicated bythe speaker. That being said, members of Teamsmith listened to eachother well. They took turns speaking and asking questions. Teammembers spoke their mind, but in a respectful way. Some pushed an ideaor thought strongly at times, and occasionally, a team member gavepushback to something shared, but as with any team setting, members hadto be self-aware and exercise discipline in when to speak, when to push anidea, when to back off of a proposal, and when to put aside an individualperspective for the sake of team effectiveness.
    • 39. Criteria for this designation include the actions aboveand the following broad behavioral categories that aretrue of both virtual and face-to-face teams.• sharing a strong common goal• working interdependently to accomplish a goal• sharing a strong sense of community• building trust and respect and engaging in open dialogue and communication• maintaining a high level of trust• engaging in both task- and relationship-oriented behaviors• engaging in open dialogue and communication• subscribing to distributed leadership• emphasizing shared monitoring and concentrated producing

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