The study is based on a
sample of 54 teams in 26 companies who rarely if ever met as a whole
teams are more productive than their face-to-face counterparts
if they keep three practices:
The team can't just
it has to
make the most of it.
The best teams credit their
breakthroughs to challenging people from
and the like to come up with something better together.
They use pretty simple
technology to simulate reality.
By today’s standards, what they
use is not very complicated. More than 80% of the teams use
teleconference calls and shared
websites. More than half
used IM even when their companies prohibited it. Only a
third used video conferencing. Some banned email.
They hold the team together.
It takes a lot of communication. Some leaders spent as much
as a third of their time just on the phone with team
"The ratio of
We's to I's is the best indicator
of the development of a team." ~
Lewis B. Ergen
for Virtual Teams3
The following tips come from
research into virtual teamwork.
Hold an initial face-to-face startup
Have periodic face-to-face meetings, especially to resolve
conflict and maintain team cohesiveness
Establish a clear code of conduct or set of norms and
protocols for behavior
visuals in communications
Recognize that most communications will be non-verbal
caution in tone and language
1. Modern Management, Ninth Edition, Samuel C. Certo
The Four Keys To Success With Virtual Teams, Erin Meyer
Teams, David Gould
What Is a Virtual
A virtual team (also known as a geographically
dispersed team or GDT) is a group of individuals who work across time, space
and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of
communication technology. Virtual team members primarily interact
electronically and may meet face-to-face occasionally.
Examples of virtual teams include a
project team whose members telecommute and
innovation team of people working in different geographic locations.
Why Virtual Teams?
The number of virtual teams is increasing
rapidly. Many companies pick members of project teams from across various
global locations and have them communicate virtually thereby involving the
best talents available and saving both time and money.
In virtual teams, people know each other but
all of them work independently from each other. Finding the key people to
make up the virtual team is 95% of team management success. To select the
right people, you must be clear about the key result areas and the standards
of job performance. Judge people not only based on what they have actually
accomplished in the past, but also on the basis of their
and self-leadership skills.
To achieve their goals in today's rapidly
changing business environment, corporations form, reform, and dissolve
virtual teams continually.
Leading a Virtual Team
9 Roles of a
To succeed, a virtual team needs a common goal,
a clear description of responsibilities of team members, a
milestone chart, and adherence
to best practices.
When your team members are not in one building
but scattered among remote locations or even all over the globe,
team leadership rules apply.
A recent research shows that those skills are not simply different from
those needed for running
co-located teams; they are often the exact
communicate virtually, we become
influential. So a different style of
should be practiced when you lead a geographically scattered virtual team,
culturally diverse one.
In virtual teams, team
formalize roles and responsibilities better and create a highly defined
process where team members deliver specific results in a repeated sequence.
"You must lead differently. While co-located teams often benefit most from a
leader who acts as a facilitator, virtual teams need a manager who provides
clearly defined direction and removes all ambiguity from the process," says
Erin Meyer2 from INSEAD.
You must also
differently. "Trust takes on a whole new meaning in virtual teams. When you
meet your workmates by the water cooler or photocopier every day, you know
instinctively who you can and cannot trust. In a geographically distributed
team, trust is measured almost exclusively in terms of reliability,"
continues Erin Meyer. In multi-cultural global teams,
different kinds of
process should be used.