The Reality of Virtual Teams

Facilitated Online Experiences


Efficient teams need clear direction and alignment. This need is even stronger for distributed (virtual) and diverse teams, which have become the norm. Yet the skills required to lead these complex teams are not the same as those required for leading face to face. The leader must take on the additional role of managing unique team challenges complexities. Developing mutual goals and implementing these independently is hard work, so early wins are paramount.

Research on Antarctic teams in Isolated and Confined Environments (ICE) provides a wealth of information about the challenges of achieving success in these contexts. In this program we draw on decades of research from ICE teams and apply it to contemporary teams using an authentic Antarctic theme. This provides a memorable and engaging experience with clear actionable outcomes. This session includes 2 interactive gamified simulations to recreate the dynamics of a complex teams and then uses this experience to debrief in a safe environment and facilitate action planning outcomes..

The research conducted on complex distributed teams over the last 20+ years shows that :

  • 50% of these teams fail to meet their objectives
  • There is little or no loyalty to the team and is limited trust between team members
  • Well managed virtual and diverse teams can access precious skills and expertise and are more flexible (in terms of resourcing and support.)
  • This session is based on the ON THIN ICE program suite & research.


    This online interactive online virtual session recreates the issues of complex teams in a safe space, and then provides for a facilitator to walk the team through the issues that emerge. The session provides a targeted discussion focused on designing more effective team strategies. It provides experiential learning, online games, and covers key areas from issues as simple as improving on communication such as conference calls, through to deep dive mapping sociographs for more effective communication, and provides practical solutions such as creating a customised code of conduct and ensuring everyone is involved in the process.


    This session will address and provide solutions for 3 main areas ALIGNMENT, COMMUNICATION, RELATIONSHIPS, including how to:

    1. Improve team dynamics in a complex environment
    2. Redesign what was ‘the Office' to become an effective online version that takes advantage of new mediums
    3. Effectively communicate, and what media to use
    4. Recognise and manage the tension of a complex team to learn how to prioritise what's important (and how to choose)
    5. Build relationships and a code of conduct
    6. Discover what new skills leaders will need to develop

    Smaple Resources

    Both the Face to Face and Digital Virtual Online sessions, use a wide range of tools to ensure the best possible learning is learnt and captured by all participants.


    To ensure the best use of time is achieved we have flipped the classroom. The optional independent self-pace online sessions we have designed, blend any workshops (face to face or digital) to ensure participants can upskill themselves and dive deeper in the topic. It ensures that any face-to-face / digital workshop time is effectively used for active facilitation & collaborative activities, that clarify concepts and contextualize knowledge through application, analysis, planning and problem solving. These courses will help leaders and teams to reflect on and find real solutions to business needs offering a risk-free high impact engagement. These courses are educationally sound, academically researched, and business orientated.


    ICE Blended Learning flow

    1. Pre-Course and Essentials pack: introduction, pre-reading, videos to introduce the topic, and pre-reflection about how the session could be applied to people in a work context (Faces & Places) + the digital notebook.
    2. The Core Content: this is the actual interactive workshop / webinar / facilitated online experience delivered by a professional facilitator.
    3. A Learning Journey: A 7 week self-paced online summary and extended learning course, to ensure applications & goal setting. Review, Refresh, Reflect & React.
    4. Extended options include: Certification of completion can be awarded for participation, with the option of extended business facilitation, coaching, assignments and accreditation)


    The Reality of Virtual teams. Deep Dive exploration
    Workshop OR Virtual interactive Online (Zoom +)
    Interactive Workshop with gamification experiential learning tasks that lead to facilitated group discussion, reflection and action planning.

    1-3 X 2 hours
    Session 1) Introduction to Virtual Teams (includes: ‘Winter Over Mystery Game’)
    Session 2) Simulation and debrief of a VT (includes: ‘Virtual Navigation Game’)
    Session 3) Deep Dive Implications & Applications

    Pre learning reflection and post follow-up learning journeys (7 weeks / PDFs), Surveys, Polls, YouTube videos are all available.

    Video: The Reality Of Virtual Teams Promo

    From the ON THIN ICE leadership and team suite comes a digital version (interactive gamified webinar) that specifically looks at how high performing teams can work remotely as effective distributed teams.

    Watch on Youtube >

    Video: Fireside Chat with Andrew Grant and Gaia Grant: The Reality of Virtual Teams

    COVID-19 has led to a rapid shift of companies moving to working from home (WFH). More and more organisations are also planning to continue the arrangement even after the pandemic.

    Watch on Youtube >

    This is another original and unique program exclusively designed and presented by Tirian.

    Interactive Zoom-based webinars & workshops, coaching, facilitating remote workshops, Biz facilitation with gamification / experiential learning

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    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.

    Doug Wieringa
    Global Strategic Initiatives
    Boeing USA