Your organization runs virtual teams, and perhaps some of them are very virtual — maybe even global. With some pain, and some stumbles, they do get the job done. Still, you have a nagging feeling that they could be more effective than they are.
If this describes your sense of your own organization, you aren't alone. And your instincts are probably right. Virtual and global teams are relatively new on the scene, and it would be surprising if we managed them as well as we manage face-to-face teams. Probably we never will manage them as well as we manage face-to-face teams, but we can do much better than we're doing now.
When you assess the performance of the global and virtual teams in your organization, you'll learn about:
- Short-term improvement opportunities that free up resources to fund additional improvements
- Stand-alone improvement opportunities that can be accomplished with a minimum of disturbance to the organization
- Functional improvement opportunities that enable conventional functional units such as Human Resources and Purchasing to better support virtual or global teams
- Decision support improvement opportunities that help senior management by providing decision support tools better attuned to making projections about the performance of virtual operations
- Training improvement opportunities that enhance the skills of groups and individuals so that they can operate more effectively in the virtual or global environment.
Check out my workshop on Leading Virtual Teams for Real Results. It's the most effective way I know to bring the skills of your organization to the level it needs.Project sponsors, project managers, task leaders and individual contributors who may be skilled in participating in face-to-face projects and operations might have difficulty dealing with the issues that arise in virtual or global teams. They might be unaware of the importance of cultural differences, or they might become frustrated by the problems of linguistic variety. For instance, a project manager who knows how to deal with language differences can better manage the risks that arise from translation or misunderstandings. Teams that understand that acronyms might be be difficult for non-native speakers to grasp might choose code names instead. By training your staff in the issues that arise in the virtual configuration, you gain rapid performance improvement without dealing with the issues or coordinated organizational change.
Short-term improvement opportunities are changes in strategies and tactics that make your organization more capable in the virtual environment. Although knowing what those changes are is helpful, even more helpful is knowing which ones pay off fastest. By focusing on improvements that yield short-term results, you can free up resources to work on more such opportunities, or to devote to the more difficult issues.
Some issues stand alone, or relatively alone. For instance, in a distributed project, communications play a central role and help to determine team effectiveness. Plans for distributed projects should include a communications plan, which we rarely include in face-to-face project plans. Adding a communications plan to standard practice is something you can do relatively easily because it requires little in the way of coordinated organizational change. We'll highlight these stand-alone opportunities for early attention.
Sometimes functional units within organizations that have historically focused on face-to-face operational or project environments continue to operate as if their internal customers are still face-to-face operations, even though the reality is that they are more and more frequently participating in virtual or global efforts.
Decision support opportunities
When we decide whether or not to engage in a particular virtual or global activity, we often rely on financial models to support the decision. Yet these models themselves sometimes fail to address the special nature of the virtual environment. They can overlook or underestimate the special risks of the virtual configuration, or the differences between the cost profiles of the virtual configuration and the face-to-face configuration. Later, when the reality becomes evident, these same defects in our decision support infrastructure can prevent the project from making adequate course corrections. By assessing the ability of your financial modeling infrastructure to deal with the virtual configuration, we can help your organization make better resource allocation decisions.
You have a choice of formats for receiving the results of your assessment.
- Written report
- We can deliver the result as a document and a PowerPoint™ presentation. This lets you digest our results, and incorporate them into a working session of your own design.
- In this form we deliver the result as a document and a PowerPoint™ presentation, which we deliver to you in person. We're then better able to converse with you and your team about the meaning and implications of our observations.
- Facilitated working session
- In this form we deliver the result as a document and a PowerPoint™ presentation, which we deliver to you in person. We then facilitate a working session with your team to help you develop an action plan.
Our methods include telephone interviews, in-person interviews, document inspections and group observations. Pricing depends on the scale of the organization and the delivery option you specify. Availability is excellent with a 30-day lead time. End-to-end duration can be as little as two weeks, depending on your staff availability. Call Rick Brenner today at (866) 378-5470 for a quick conversation.