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Effective Communication With Virtual Teams

Explore the 3 challenges inherent in leading and participating in virtual teams.

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Effective Communication With Virtual Teams

  2. 2. Agenda• Welcome and Introductions• Virtual Teams Overview• Challenges• Solutions• Wrap-Up
  3. 3. ObjectivesAt the end of this session you will:• Identify your virtual team challenges• Implement a strategy for conducting virtual meetings• Use resources to explore next steps for virtual communications
  4. 4. Virtual Team DefinitionIndividuals pulled together from various locations to serveon a group to achieve some important, urgent and specificobjective such as:• planning and/or launching event• designing and/or running new program or initiative• developing and/or testing new product• running major campaign• designing and/or implementing improved business processes• planning and/or executing change management• regular team meetings
  5. 5. Virtual Team CharacteristicsWhat are some of thecharacteristics of virtual teams?••••
  6. 6. Virtual Team Characteristics• A collection of geographically distributed, functionally and/or culturally diverse entities• Linked by electronic forms of communication• Assembled and disassembled according to need• Different work shifts or time zones• Collaborative network of people working together, regardless of location or who "owns" them
  7. 7. Virtual Teams – Observations• 41 million corporate employees worldwide work virtually one day per week and are likely to be part of a virtual team – Gartner Group• 36% of virtual team members have never met their team members face to face• 65% of virtual team members report they have never had an effective team-building session• Productivity drops over time - virtual teams operating 1- 3 years are much less likely to be high performing teams compared to teams that had been together 6 to 12 months.• In general, management still has an “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” mentality when it comes to paying attention to virtual teams and giving them the support and resources they need to be successful.
  8. 8. Virtual Communication Challenges• Leadership• Team Development• Technology
  9. 9. Leadership Challenges• Underestimating impact leaders have on success of virtual team• Manage expectations by clearly establishing and maintaining ground rules and assumptions• Establishing and aligning team and corporate goals/objectives• Importance of using tools to communicate effectively in a virtual meeting environment
  10. 10. Leadership Challenges• Recruiting, introducing and including new members• Assigning personnel with skills necessary to lead or participate on virtual teams• Recognizing the importance of preparing and training people to be part of virtual teams• Measuring, motivating and tracking progress of team• Performance Evaluation - Developing performance objectives and expectations for team members
  11. 11. Team Challenges - Stages of TeamsTuckman (1965) discovered thatteams normally go through fivestages of growth:•Forming•Storming•Norming•Performing•Adjourning
  12. 12. Team Challenges• Retaining productivity, peak performance and enthusiasm over time• Establishing and developing a foundation for collaboration and relationship building• On-going team building• Accountability issues where the team find it much easier to break virtual commitments than verbal ones
  13. 13. Team Challenges• Dealing with communication issues like culture, language, learning styles• Not being face to face creates unique challenges and difficulties in managing the involvement, commitment and trust building of a team
  14. 14. Technology ChallengesRapidly accelerating business environment with the “do itnow” business culture +Complexities in Virtually Networked Teams (Virtual,Network and Technology Factors) =Getting things done is all that more difficult
  15. 15. Technology ChallengesLearning how to usetechnology to fostercollaboration and effectivemeeting processes
  16. 16. Technology Challenges• Introducing and using new technology – making it work for the team – can be difficult to adopt• Accurately confirming and recording meeting agreements, next steps and ownership• Technology problems can derail or distract meetings
  17. 17. Leadership Solutions• Conduct initial meetings to establish team process• Learn about new team members, share their information or ask them to share their background with team• Virtual meeting to focus on how team work aligns with corporate goals and objectives• Onboarding employee to virtual environment – find buddy or mentor• Ask team members to lead a meeting or take a topic of the meeting• Share copies of presentation, agenda• Decide on roles, note taker, time keeper, etc.
  18. 18. Team Solutions• Set guidelinesmeeting protocols with teams participation• Create team notes – disband with action items and persons responsible, share with team• Rules when team member can’t meet commitment, ask “how can team help”• Round Robin – Make sure you have heard from everyone at least once during meeting• May need to coach a member offline
  19. 19. Technology Solutions• Provide different ways participants can use tools, raise hand, type on slide, chat• Initial meeting to teach tools and application. Provide tutorial, training or mentor• Ask team member with technical challenges to just listen in. Troubleshoot later. Provide a copy of the presentation beforehand• ManagerFacilitator use tools, games, polls, visuals• Keep virtual meetings to an hour or less
  20. 20. Meeting Tools• Webex• Microsoft Live Meeting• Elluminate• Adobe Connect• GoTo Meeting
  21. 21. Interactive Meetings • Raise Hand Feature • Chat Feature • Use Annotation Tools • Allow team to see who is attending, gives sense of team • Participation is key!
  22. 22. Sample Team Meeting Guidelines• Quick check in• Contribute 1 idea per meeting• Assume positive intent• Identify problems and focus on solutions• Make sure objectives are realistic in scope• Keep to timelines• Leave with next steps and task assignments• Expect work outside meeting via sub groups and task forces
  23. 23. Summary• Most teams are virtual in some way in our world today• There are some similarities in team dynamics and challenges between virtual and face to face teams• Skills needed for virtual teaming are different than face to face teams• Focus on People first: Continue to “learn” about others and how they learn• Focus on Technology second: Continue to embrace technology as a resource• Focus on accountability and team engagement
  24. 24. Resources• The Gartner Group• Quality Digest – Leading Virtual Teams• Information & Management Best Practices Study on Virtual Teams – PDF• Tuckman, Bruce (1965). Developmental sequence in small groups• Handbook of High Performance Virtual Teams, Nemiro, et al
  25. 25. Thank You! 503-891-1108Strategies for Success and Working Creatively