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Communicate Effectively in Virtual Teams

05 Aug

VideoConferenceIn today’s world, 1 out of 10 employees might have worked in a virtual team in one form or another.  With the current trend of globalization and outsourcing, the pressures associated with getting new products and services to worldwide markets is increasing tremendously. For any business to remain competitive, they have to choose the best people for their projects, regardless of their location. This rapid development in the business world has completely changed the dynamics of the business within past two decades. Have you ever wondered – how big companies like Microsoft, Apple and Google are leading their remote branches in India, China, Russia and Brazil?

Couple of years ago, I worked in a company that had its branch in India. I was one of the fortunate person, who got an opportunity to lead a newly formed team in India. During those times, economy was good but company’s project budget was slightly tight, the only way I could interact with that team was – video or voice conferences, e-mails, phone calls, etc. During that experience, I created my own best practices to effectively communicate with the virtual teams. In this blog, I am going to share those ideas with you.

For a virtual team to function efficiently and efficiently, it requires rich and synchronous communication. But majority of times, the distance and time differences between team members makes it very difficult. To overcome this barrier we can make an arrangement of meeting once a week, for 60-90 minutes on a video conference to identify and review the team’s purpose and key result areas, modify objectives, understand breaking issues, examine possibilities, make decisions, and assign actions. Due to the nature of this team and different time zones, this meeting might not happen during working hours. But you can still make it a painless experience. In the process of leading my team, I used to create raw proposals before our meeting and distribute them in advance to team members. We also used to have rotating roles for listeners, who would synthesize team member’s feedbacks and incorporate those into written team documents that can be accessible to all team members. This will not only provide a single point of reference for roles and responsibilities of each team members but also build-up team spirit that most of the virtual teams might be missing otherwise.

I hope this blog helps you build efficient teams of the future (Virtual Teams). – Bhavin Gandhi

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2010 in 21st Century, Leadership

 

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