See this on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/reality-virtual-teams-andrew-grant-1c
Virtual working is not just about moving the office online. This is why, and how you can improve the ways you work virtually.
The shift to virtual working has been a disaster for some.
If not managed effectively working virtually can challenge communication and stretch relationships. There are stories now circulating of unmotivated, disengaged and isolated teams.
For many this approach is just is not sustainable over the long term. Yet it is also possible for teams to thrive in these contexts.
It is actually possible to create high performing virtual teams that become more effective and productive than office-based teams.
Would you take the gamble of 50% failure?
Research shows that over 50% of virtual teams fail to reach their objectives. These teams can so easily drift apart and lose loyalty to their organisation. This is often due to the dynamics of the team feeling ignored in the new digital platforms.
Many organisations have reacted to the new working conditions by simply sending people to work from home without thinking about the new requirements. Bosses often expect team members to function in exactly the same way as they did at the office. Virtual teams need to learn to adapt to this new medium more deliberately and strategically if they want to improve the experience.
The CEO of WordPress Matt Mullenweg has run a ‘distributed teams’ model for years. He refers to the approach most organization are resorting to as ‘recreating the office online’, which he identifies is only level 2 of 5 levels of virtual team development.
The dangers of simply ‘recreating the office online’
Mullenweg’s ‘recreating the office online’ approach refers to situations where employees have access to videoconferencing software (eg. Zoom), instant messaging software (eg. Slack) and email – but instead of redesigning the work to take advantage of the new medium, teams ultimately end up recreating their office experiences as online versions.
When organisations simply ‘recreate the office online’ many of the bad habits that permeate the modern office can just be repeated and amplified. The ability to actively engage in the thought processes involved in everyday decision makings and actions can also be suppressed.
Think of how many ten-person video calls are often now suggested when two people meetings would have sufficed. How we can end up having up to 60+ interruptions a day — now also via messaging and phone calls and through the more sporadic checking of and responding to email constantly throughout the day.
Wired to desktop dings or targeting strategic responses?
All this now demands an increasing hyper-responsiveness from all employees, “leaving them wired to desktop dings like Pavlov’s dog” (Steve Glaveski).
Virtual teams will need to learn to adapt to this new medium more deliberately and strategically if they want to be effective. This will require:
- Addressing the unique challenges through redesigning working processes through creative and critical thinking strategies.
- Targeted communication strategies based on a clear understanding of the unique dynamics of remote virtual teams.
Taking such a clear strategic approach will help with adapting to the rapidly moving goalposts and not only stay on track for success, but redefine the journey and the way we make the journey.
Executive Director Tirian
Gaia Grant (PhD)
Executive Director Tirian, Adjunct Faculty University of Sydney Business School
Interactive Zoom-based webinars & workshops, coaching, facilitating remote workshops, Biz facilitation, with gamification / experiential learning
Creative & Critical Thinking for dealing with wicked problems.
Why now? Leaders will need to learn to tackle wicked undefined challenges, where both the problem and solution are unknown and are morphing daily. To overcome this requires the use of a tested design-thinking style process.
Future-Ready Leadership for greater agility and sustainable innovation and growth
Why now? Leaders will need to effectively deal with the competing demands a crisis bring. This involves managing the tension between those who recognise the need to explore new options and innovate, and those who want to preserve the current status quo. This added tension can either rip a team or company apart – or if led well– can fuel sustainable innovative growth.
The Reality of Virtual teams: Dealing with virtual and remote team challenges (with gamification)
Why now? Leaders and teams need to understand the unique dynamics of virtual teams. They will need to be able to adapt to effective remote communication, and not just think they can simply recreate the physical office online. A well led virtual team can outperform most office-based teams, but only where the communication is maximised.
The Collaboration Deception: Workshop with a gamification social experiment.
Why now? Collaboration under crisis and competition can be a significant challenge. We are learning from world leaders what happens when true collaboration is utilised to solve difficult problems – and the consequences from when it is not. So how does a leader promote collaboration in a complex competitive environment?
The Creative Appliance Project: Reinventing the future to build confidence and capability. (Revisiting the Mission Vision Values Brand)
Why now? Companies need to reinvent themselves as the world constantly changes. In doing so they will need to be clearer than ever about the core values that should never change, and what will need to change to adapt around that. This can allow an organisation to remain true to their core purpose while redefining their unique offering.
Your knowledge, professionalism, and willingness to work with us were key to the success of these digital virtual seminars. I learned a lot from you, and really enjoyed working with you.
Global Strategic Initiatives