Leading Virtual Teams to High Performance

"The true test of a virtual leader is not what he or she can do, but what their people can do without them"

Leading a virtual team is no easy challenge. It's a whole new world out there. If you want to find out what to do to meet these challenges, buy a book. If you want to find out how to do it your search ends here. This workshop is focused quite simply on "how" you do it.

How do you successfully convert a collection of physically remote individuals into a high performing virtual team? How do you set up infrastructures to support that team? How do you establish the purpose? How do you gain trust and agreement? How do I predict what type of team I'll need? How can I help individuals cope with being virtual? The questions seem endless.

Research systematically shows that virtual teams are suffering from a high failure rate, enthusiasm it seems, is not enough. Virtual teams don't just simply pop into existence and without structured thinking, careful planning and considerable influence the energy invested often dilutes into one task focused leader with a disengaged and under utilised team members watching on the virtual sideline. If the team is too large team members can quickly turn into an audience.

So. Finding out what to do can be valuable but finding out how to do it from a facilitator with up to date virtual team experience can be priceless. From start to finish, it's all there.

This unique and in demand experience supports and challenges virtual team leaders and virtual team members through the process of confronting the journey from the paradigm of the co-located to a new reality of the virtual.

The workshop is simply bursting with ideas, templates, scenarios, real life stories and instantly useable tips. The careful design also facilitates immediate transfer of content into the "virtual reality" of the business world, and as one client put it "This workshop is a must do for anybody carrying the responsibility for leading a virtual team."

Optional leadership effective diagnostic

Prepared prior to the workshop. This optional diagnostic is a simple web-based questionnaire providing leaders with an insight into their impact and effectiveness as perceived by themselves, their peers, direct reports and line managers. The collated report is brought into the workshop as the start point for discussion, issue identification, prioritisation and resolution.

Workshop Outline

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

Duration

Typically 2 days.

Target participation

This workshop is aimed at leaders of virtual teams irrespective of experience and status.

Support Materials

This specialised 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 to the workshop includes; review of agenda, ground rules, expectation-setting and "Flightplan" the team 'icebreaker' exercise that rather ingeniously also serves as a take away virtual team development activity.

How virtual are you?

Virtual comes in many shapes, sizes and varying degrees of complexity. By simply figuring out how virtual you are, can save a lot of time & effort in designing your infrastructure.

The leader's relief

The virtual team leader often suffers an inordinate and unnecessary level of guilt because his or her people are not "teaming". It's horrible to get caught between "teamwork" and the "real work". The answer to this conundrum may be simpler than you think and guess what? We have it.

Establishing team purpose

Purpose is the campfire around which virtual teams gather and once purpose is established, identifying a compelling reason to co-operate becomes critical. This session equips participants with the insights, process and skills to establish both purpose and compelling reason.

Some things don't change, some things disappear and some things become even more important. Purpose is one of the latter.

The virtual team start-up meeting

The strong universal recommendation to all virtual teams is to always have a face to face start up meeting. Find out why it is critical to do so and then how to make it happen. This session focuses in detail on how to prepare for and deliver a team start up meeting which is capable of establishing clarity, strong bonds and agreement on working practices. A great starter kit for the team start up meeting is in the pack.

Local v Virtual

Now here's the problem. The default position is local, the need virtual. How do you balance these opposing demands - indeed how can you make best use of the tensions created? Hint - leave history alone!!

Getting the team operating principles right

No debating by email. A simple, effective and easy to apply principle that can save hours, relationships and yes dollars. There are many more tips where this came from along with advice & guidance on how to set it all up. Imagine being able to give your team a ready made but readily adaptable kick start!

The culture thing

Each office, floor level, building and function readily spawns its own distinct culture. Add in different locations and countries and you have on your hands a real potent mix. Getting to understanding these cultures and being able to use their combined differences to your advantage sounds wonderful. Is it possible? We think so.

Weaving "the safety net" - coping with virtuality

Feeling threatened and alone is a common "virtual" feeling. Developing a "safety net" that facilitates a sense of security facilitates faster response times and progress when times are challenging.

Identifying technical needs and how to make the best of them

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.

Managing issues in a virtual team

Building on the previous session, this section 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.

Conclusions and closure for a virtual team

How teams are disbanded, and the individual efforts of team members reviewed and recognized, can significantly impact the willingness of an individual to join a fresh team. So this is about making the goodbyes as great as the welcomes.

Taking it back to the business

Leaders create a "Re-Entry Plan" to ensure that the skills and insights they have acquired can be appropriately introduced into the workplace and applied.