Team Building Strategies for Team Setup on Your Virtual Team
Using team building strategies for setting up and building a virtual team is often a forgotten step. Top talent, good intentions and high expectations don’t guarantee success in the virtual space if this crucial step is missed.
Here’s Yael going into more detail about Team Setup principles:
It helps to think of using these team building strategies for setting up your virtual team as if you were preparing for a long road trip. To get you from your starting point to a successful finish, you will need to create your team’s Virtual Roadmap. First, determine your Team Destination. This is your team’s purpose, mission, and goals. Then you need to establish the Rules of the Road; the overriding structure for how your team will operate. Once these ground rules have been established, develop a Team Code of Conduct. The Team Code of Conduct outlines the agreements made by team members on how they will communicate. This code looks at acceptable and unacceptable behaviors that guide every aspect of team life, which takes on added significance in virtual situations.
Remember, Team Setup is not an exact science, and you may need to rethink certain rules and realign your team building strategies as necessary.
Team building strategies for setting up a virtual team is actually the forgotten step, that often happens, because virtual teams many times are set up because people have capabilities and they’re supposed to hit the ground running right away and create deliverables, and there’s a little piece around getting the team up and start and that’s why I compare it to riding a car, if you go on a road trip particularly a long drive you want to figure out what’s my destination?, where am I going? so that’s the first thing, that in a virtual environment is around goals, the clarity around who are our stakeholders, our direction, making sure the team members are aligned with each other, so it’s creating that destination, the common purpose and making sure it’s clear and upfront.
The second is establishing the rules of the road so kind of like when you’re driving the car if you break the rules you get a ticket, if you don’t know the rules it’s your responsibility as a driver, so rules of the road is coming up with what are our operating guidelines, what are the ways that we’re going to work more effectively together, how do we handle different situations that come up, and so oftentimes in the virtual environment it’s figuring out our operating principles and how some people call it norms, but it’s really the principles for how this team is going to operate.
The third piece is creating a team code, and team code is the communication, how do we want to communicate and oftentimes there’s assumptions that happen in the virtual space, I might assume that if I send you an email I want a response right away but you assume that, well I’m not in my office today so I’ll respond to you within certain time you know tonight or tomorrow, so rather than play the guessing game clarify upfront what’s your code, in this team what’s the expectation of response time, how do we handle team members who are coming in, how do we handle team members who are leaving because in the virtual team space usually that’s a natural occurrence, people come in, people go and how do we handle what if situations, what if we’re in a conflict, what if you’re in a disagreement, what if you’re on vacation, what if I’m not available, so coming out with our team code and many virtual teams actually publicize this code, at a whatever common location or space you have, and that actually leave the guessing game that takes some time six months to figure out and creates potential for trust or misunderstanding issues, it’s spelled out front.