Effective Virtual Team Membership

"Success with virtual team working is measurable. It is 10% technology, 90% people"

People across the globe are being tasked to work collaboratively with people that they may never meet. The virtual team is here to stay, using technologies such as the internet, intranets and groupware to collaborate on projects and processes across time zones and continents on an ever increasing scale.

This workshop is dedicated to equipping the virtual team member to be prepared for and cope with the inevitable personal and work challenges that virtual working presents and understand what it takes to be a fully effective member of a virtual team.

This development experience challenges Virtual Team Members to confront their assumptions, concerns and attitude to working virtually, understand the impact they have on team performance and then strengthen their contribution and effectiveness. Insights and practical tools, tips and practices tackle head on the challenges of virtual working in a pragmatic and insightful manner.

The virtual experience is brought alive with imaginative use of simulated situations and a final virtual post workshop challenge, where participants, many of whom did not know each other before this experience are challenged to complete the task virtually with completion triggering receipt of workshop certificates.

Workshop Outline

Gives details of all the standard sessions, however we are always happy to customise this workshop to meet your specific needs.

Duration

Typical two days

Target participation

This workshop is for Team Members of virtual teams irrespective of experience and status.

Of real benefit if team members can create the opportunity to attend this event locally (if budgets restrict travel) within a similar time period, thus providing a common language and approach and experience to build from.

Support Materials

This specialized workshop is also accompanied by an "instruction" manual for virtual teams. Genuine and refreshing post workshop support packed with virtual insights, tips and tools and a web link to some invaluable virtual teamworking facts.

Participants also receive a copy of the comprehensive Guidebook "The Practitioner's Guide to High Performance Teamwork" in which the usual dry textbook theory has been replaced with practical, action-oriented tips, text, worked examples, tools and key documents.

Useful 'Virtual' information

For information on world time and international dialling codes, click here

Ongoing development

One-on-One coaching is also available either by phone or in person.

Workshop Outline

Introduction

A lively, fast-paced introduction that sets the tone for the workshop and grabs immediate attention and interest. Includes: review of agenda, ground rules, expectation-setting and a virtual team 'icebreaker' exercise providing data on current team and leadership behaviour.

Introducing the virtual high performance team

High performance teamwork requires full-blooded commitment - there are no passive bystanders. High performance virtual teamwork demands that members operate in an effective, value based, swiftly reconfiguring, cost sensitive and decentralized way.

This session introduces the concept of the high performance virtual team, in which fusion and cohesion between individuals is essential; and contrasts it with a group, which basically remains a technologically connected group of individuals.

Belonging to a virtual team

The role and accountability of virtual leaders and team members are examined. The unique challenges and opportunities confronting both virtual roles are then explored and compared with the more traditional team membership and team leadership roles.

Coping with virtual team membership

A simple diagnostic helps participants examine how far virtual working fits with their working preferences and individual needs. With a review of the personal attributes that can aid or impede getting to grips with it.

This session then takes a good look at the day to day realities for the human being of working virtually and the emotional roller coaster that can follow, providing some great "how's" around the most challenging and common issues that can arise, e.g. how to cope with conflict between local and virtual demands, how to get and keep engaged to something that may feel intangible and removed.

Do we need to be a team?

Teams must have a compelling reason to work as a team. Otherwise, forget the task - just keeping the team "together" will be tough enough.

For virtual teams having a compelling reason is even more vital. This session equips participants with the insights, process and skills to create a compelling reason and assess the interdependence of the teams they belong to.

Joining a virtual team

Tools, tips and processes are provided to ensure that from the moment the person joins the team they feel present and able to contribute and be heard.

Topics covered include: contracting, getting to know your colleagues, getting established, agreeing objectives.

Relationships that matter; getting to know your virtual leader and colleagues

How on earth can you develop/sustain effective relationships with people across time zones, cultures and functions that you rarely get to meet? And why bother? Successful virtual teams pay special attention to trust at each stage of their development.

This session examines the true impact on relationships where those involved are apart - and works on how to build from the smallest gesture and action, closing the perceived gaps created by distance, background and culture.

Participants then works on how relationships can be forged so that the right interactions between the right people take place and how to move away from the tendency for the team to be leader led to have a series of one-on one relationships, with team members rarely connecting.

Doing the work

So how can a virtual team share and build on ideas, assign work, understand progress, monitor and measure, keep seeing the big picture, rapidly identify when things are not going to plan.

A fast moving series of practical session that gets to grips with how to organize and progress the work and the principles for when work can be done by individuals, subgroups and the complete team.

Managing issues in a virtual team

This session opens by examining how participants currently surface and respond to their issues, and shows that having an issue is not the problem - the problem arises from how we deal with it. Practical tools, processes and tips are provided on how to create a team culture where issues will be readily surfaced with the team and resolved by the team with everyone feeling informed and able to contribute.

The virtual communication skill set

The Effective Telephone Conversation:

As using a telephone is one of the most common forms of communication and the ability to use a telephone effectively is often assumed. The differences between the social and professional call are closely studied.

That Dreaded Conference Call:

Participants relive the horrors and pitfalls of the unmanaged conference call, before learning techniques and tools for making these effective teamworking sessions that keep everyone engaged and contributing

Making Video Conferences Work:

Like audio conferences it is a teamworking skill to be acquired, with ground rules and agreements to be reached. Participants are equipped with the skills and insights to make video conferencing work.

The Laws of Email:

Huge pitfalls await the un-prepared but enthusiastic email user and huge issues can be created when communicating across boundaries be they local or international. Understanding & setting up netiquette is essential.

Conversations that matter

Participants learn how to have the courage and confidence to have real conversations about real issues - to say the tough things that often go unsaid, to have conversations which are open and candid but remain safe to have.

Practice sessions involve preparing for and having conversations in a simulated phone call setting.

Scenarios to face

Participants work through a series of typical virtual team scenarios detailing how they would respond today and how they need to respond to get the best out of themselves and others. This session reinforces key points from the workshop as well as highlighting key tips and pitfalls to avoid

The post workshop virtual challenge

Participants will leave the workshop with a post workshop virtual teamwork exercise. This element is designed in to help and ensure transference of learning into the virtual workplace. It will also facilitate the creation of post workshop participant support networks. Certification for the workshop follows successful completion of the exercise.

Get back to work and have a question or want to check out an idea or share your experience of transferring lessons back into your workplace. We are always really happy to hear from you, answer your questions and assist.