Volume 15 • Issue 1
Welcome to Virtual Team Building eNews!
For many colleagues across the globe it’s refreshing to step outside and see leafy trees where not long ago snow and ice covered the ground. Nature’s cycle of seasons offers renewal, and in some ways human activity mirrors this. Speaking of renewal I’d like to share some important insights about virtual team building, starting with refreshing your team.
- Refresh Your Team!
- Do A Tune-Up
- Put It in Park (Wrap Up)
- Refresh at AIM Strategies!
- About AIM Strategies®
Why is it important to do this? Remember, during a team’s natural life span changes occur as original goals may undergo revision, and the team’s makeup changes as new members join while others depart. Members need to remain connected in spite of these inevitable twists and turns, and the need for ongoing virtual team building exists throughout the life cycle of the team. Consider the lifeline of a virtual team as you would driving along a highway. Just as you need to shift gears, perform tune-ups and refuel on a long journey, so you must engage in virtual team building from time to time.The Refresh stage of virtual team building contains the following team building strategies: (1) doing a tune-up, (2) refueling, and (3) putting it in PARK.
Even stable virtual teams require the leader to periodically check in to make sure that members have weathered the bumps in the road. These tune-ups allow possible conflicts to surface early so that they do not fester and potentially derail the project. It’s also helpful to evaluate the technology in use on a regular basis to identify new ways to facilitate communication.
Identifying areas for improvement, making new role assignments, and acquiring new members may further signal the need for additional training to keep knowledge and skills current. For example, a client company added Social Media postings to its online offerings, and the entire marketing team attended webinars on SEO optimization. Training should build upon prior learning from the group’s experience, incorporating best practices and insights on better ways to accomplish goals. In addition, if new tools and techniques have been created since the team’s inception, then all members should be trained in those areas appropriate for their own responsibilities. At this point, the team should reestablish norms or create new ones that reflect the team’s growth.
The more time spent on a team, the greater the possibility of dips in team members’ energy and commitment level. Virtual team leaders must be sensitive to people’s need to recharge their batteries, but within limits and in ways that are suitable to the organizational culture.
For example, team members can engage in happy hour, virtual style. Although gathering after work for dinner or drinks is not possible, VT members can agree on a specific time to instant-message (IM) each other for informal chats of a non-business nature, or engage in video chats. At first, questions can be scripted; then, as participants’ comfort level increases, these formal interactions should give way to natural conversation. Often, one or more members are congenial and enjoy bringing a social dimension to the group. Virtual leaders should stay alert to this possibility and encourage those who seek to energize colleagues.
Many times virtual teams disband when a project is completed. At this point it is helpful for the leader; the team members, and the organization to formally debrief the team’s work experience. Documenting team results, accomplishments, and lessons learned is a public way to acknowledge individual efforts and record best practices for future assignments.
As a final step in the Refresh stage of virtual team building, it is useful to ask team members what they would change if given a chance to redo the experience. This has a twofold purpose: It can help people formulate ideas for a future virtual team experience, and their insights can help you improve your own skills with virtual team building.
In AIM’s world, we are pleased to announce an upcoming update of http://www.yaelzofi.com/. For easier access to our comprehensive suite of resources, AIM’s blog and store will soon be integrated into our website. This improved functionality means a seamless experience for our users. Please click here and see for yourself.
Yaelzofi.com is not the only thing AIM is refreshing. Interest in two of our assessments, the People Management Assessment (PMA) tool and the TOPS Managing Up Survey has spiked.
PMA is a 360 feedback assessment that provides a checkpoint for people management action planning. We recommend it for managers transitioning from technical positions to people management roles, which often occurs when subject matter experts are chosen to lead teams.
The TOPS Managing UP Survey highlights similarities and differences in work styles of managers and direct reports as well as manager’s preferences. When employees align their work styles with their manager’s, friction is reduced and project milestones are more easily met. This survey identifies improvement areas such as communication and personality differences; dealing with these behaviors helps employees to ‘manage up’ .
Speaking of ‘managing up’, Ebay and Paypal, two leading digital enterprises, know how critical this is to business success. Yael’s practical TOPS Managing Up Booklet is an integral tool in their training sessions about how to improve employee-manager relationships. Click here and check it out for yourself.
AIM Strategies® Applied Innovative Management® is a results-driven Human Capital Consulting firm specializing in the areas of: Global Leadership Development, Co-located and Virtual Team Facilitation, Cross Cultural Communications, and Change Integration Services. To request information about AIM’s experiential learning methods (5D’s™ Consulting/Proprietary Training Methodology and ACT™ Coaching Process), please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In upcoming issues of this newsletter, we’ll update you on tips and techniques related to raising your innovative management IQ. We are confident that the solutions we develop fit your needs and culture. Please forward this newsletter to your colleagues and visit www.aim-strategies.com to learn more about how our services unlock the people potential of your organization!