Leading Virtual Teams for Real Results

For years, your organization has perfected project management, and you got pretty good at it. Then one day, you decided to execute a project using a distributed team. Eleven time zones, three languages, five countries. It was a disaster, or at best, well below your organizational standards of performance. Want to get better at managing distributed teams?

Global teams are now officially the way of things. Everything about such projects or operations is more difficult than face-to-face teams — including figuring out how to declare victory when failure is what actually happened.

Managing Virtual Teams for Real Results

It's a big, big world, and it looks different to everyone

What's a global team? You'll find various definitions if you surf around a bit, but the main features of a global team are what make them so difficult to manage — the people are dispersed geographically, they meet infrequently or never, and they come from different cultures. And these three factors conspire to make what's usually easy, difficult — and what's usually difficult, impossible.

This program helps people who sponsor, lead, or participate in global teams. Participants learn:

  • How to build trust in a multicultural team where "trustworthy" means something different to everyone.
  • How to run a telemeeting effectively when attendees are speaking the same language with varying degrees of skill.
  • How to minimize errors when critical documents are translated from one language to another.
  • How to divide the work so as to minimize turf battles and battles over budget.
  • How to minimize resentments when only some team members can attend worldwide meetings.

"Great presentation! Rick is extremely knowledgeable on the subject. I learned so much!"
— Marg Pearson
Participants learn to appreciate the true challenges of the dispersed environment. They learn how the economics of the dispersed environment differ from the economics of the face-to-face environment, and how the picture conveyed by the organizational cost management system distorts our view of these differences.

Most important, they learn strategies and tactics for making the dispersed environment productive and effective.

Program structure and content

We learn through presentation, discussion, exercises, simulations, and post-program activities. We can tailor a program for you that addresses your specific challenges, or we can deliver a tried-and-true format that has worked well for other clients. Participants usually favor a mix of presentation, discussion, and focused exercises. This program is available as a keynote, workshop, seminar, breakout, or clinic.

Participants learn how they can:

  • Assess the degree and kinds of dispersion a particular effort might entail
  • Tailor a Communications Plan for the situation
  • Anticipate how dispersion reduces some costs — and dramatically increases others
  • Become more expert in resolving conflict in the dispersed environment
  • Create a sense of teamwork among people who rarely (or never) meet

Learning model

The full-day format of this program includes a copy of 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams for all participants and their supervisors. Ideal for those who like to supplement their learning by reading, or as a reference for later study. MoreWhen we learn most new skills, we intend to apply them in situations with low emotional content. But knowledge about how people work together is most needed in highly charged situations. That's why we use a learning model that goes beyond presentation and discussion — it includes in the mix simulation, role-play, metaphorical problems, and group processing. This gives participants the resources they need to make new, more constructive choices even in tense situations. And it's a lot more fun for everybody.

Target audience

Managers of global operations, sponsors of global projects, team leads, project managers and team members.

Program duration

Available formats range from 50 minutes to one full day. The longer formats allow for more coverage or more material, more experiential content and deeper understanding of issues specific to audience experience.

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303 Tips for Virtual and Global TeamsLearn how to make your virtual global team sing.
What People Say About Rick's Programs
  • "Rick is a dynamic presenter who thinks on his feet to keep the material relevant to the group."
    — Tina L. Lawson, Technical Project Manager, BankOne (now J.P. Morgan Chase)
  • "Rick truly has his finger on the pulse of teams and their communication."
    — Mark Middleton, Team Lead, SERS
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