Virtual Teams Trends ReportPresentation Transcript
AIM S TRATEGIES ® V IRTUAL T EAMS T RENDS R EPORT : C HALLENGES OF V IRTUAL T EAMS
Future of Virtual Teams
About AIM Strategies ®
Table of Contents
Report Background The lessons learned from past clients inspired us to submit a book proposal in August of 2009 regarding difficulties and techniques in managing a virtual team. A month later the proposal was accepted and we began interviewing virtual team members and leaders to collect their stories for the book. The interviews were conducted to enhance our knowledge of virtual teams and the challenges that they face in preparation for writing our upcoming book A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams . At the completion of the interviews we began an analysis of the trends summarized in this report. Their stories confirmed our experiences and our findings from our past client work. However, we also learned some surprising new trends around how virtual teams communicate and the conflicts and challenges they face.
Use qualitative data as it provides a richer amount of information
Each interview was approximately 1 hour, and limited to 2 hours
19 open-ended questions were asked in a semi-structured format that allowed for a natural flow of conversation
Interview topics include: communication, conflict, trust, accountability, cross-cultural communication, team set up, lessons learned, and the future of virtual teams
Label the 150 interviews with a set of common key words and concepts such as “misunderstanding”, in an electronic format
Use a custom computer program developed onsite utilizing Extensible Markup Language (XML) to automatically categorize the data
Calculate statistics regarding how many interviewees mentioned a particular issue or concept
Data Analysis Report Background
Key Findings With teammates located worldwide, members observed fewer established time boundaries and often worked around the clock (52%). Coordinating across time zones caused communication problems (44%) while another obstacle was excessive multitasking (18%) during conversations. Trend 1 Top Challenges – Communicating when every time zone is your time zone Even in the virtual environment, occasional face-to-face communication was found to be vital for certain aspects of team interaction, such as team set-up (24%) and conflict resolution (27%). On the other hand, one aspect of building relationships, through trust, did not require face to face communication as trust was reportedly enhanced through regular contact with other team members (63%), among other techniques discussed. Trend 2 Building a Human Connection while replacing hallway chats
Key Findings Cross cultural elements play a role in the effectiveness of virtual teams. The most common communication barrier found stemmed from misunderstandings related to the use of English (47%) which included both varying interpretations of the same words in different cultures as well as differences in overall competency levels. Trend 4 Cross Cultural Communication – Lost in Translation The sources of conflicts differ from on-site teams, as the lack of visual cues cause an increase in miscommunication (33%) or inconsistent expectations (21%). Virtual team members used a variety of resolution styles such as using the phone (40%) and mediation (18%). As easy as it is to hide behind a screen and ignore phone calls and emails when a conflict arises, only 7% of respondents used avoidance techniques. Trend 3 Conflict – When conflict arises, VT members do not hide behind their screen
Key Findings The speed of communication and timelines of deliverables vary significantly as compared to on-site teams. Virtual teams experience shorter deadlines (17%) often on a weekly or even daily basis, as well as more frequent checkpoints in between deadlines. Ninety percent (90%) of teams met “all hands” once per week, while some met team-wide three or more times per week (8%). Trend 5 Speed of virtual team delivery – slow and steady does not win the race
Future of Virtual Teams Looking toward the future, the global economy is fundamentally transforming the way business is conducted. According to 70% of respondents, virtual teams will increase in prevalence and will be considered the norm (9%) in conducting business. This trend will be experienced in part due to increased cost effectiveness and the pressure of globalization. As this shift occurs, new technologies will improve the performance of virtual teams (47%). In addition, new techniques will be developed to overcome the unique challenges encountered by virtual teams (11%), as more business leaders become exposed to this type of environment.
Email: ya [email_address] Linked In: www.linkedin.com/in/yaelzofi Facebook: www.facebook.com/yael.zofi www.facebook.com/AIMStrategies Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/yaelzofi Stay Connected VT Trends Report www.aim-strategies.com/AIMVTTrendsReport.pdf VT Book this August www.amazon.com/Managers-Guide-Virtual-Teams AIM Company Website www.aim-strategies.com
About AIM Strategies ® AIM Strategies ® Applied Innovative Management ® is a results-driven Human Capital Consulting firm specializing in the areas of: Virtual Team Training, Cross Cultural Coaching, Team Building Facilitation, Global Leadership Development, and general Transformational Change Services. Known for an innovative approach, which clearly links with the client’s business strategy, AIM Strategies ® can help you to develop global leaders with the skills necessary for business success in the 21st Century. We are confident that the solutions we develop fit your needs and culture. Please visit www.aim-strategies.com to learn more about how our services unlock the people potential of your organization.