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3 simple tips for empowering your virtual team

28 Nov

Wow! What a busy last month? With holiday season approaching, I wanted to make sure that I finish all of my work before people leave for their holiday break. Just a few months back, I worked with a company in India, where I worked as a liaison between the company and ERP consultants to implement a new inventory management module. This month, my biggest challenge was to train their personnel in using the new system with the help of those consultants. The road was full of obstacles with many challenges of virtual teams, but I somehow managed to do finish that task on time. And with this blog, I will discuss some of the methods that I used to make my virtual teams succeed.

Set clear expectations: To get your teams off to a running start, you must set clear expectations. Before coordinating the training effort, I had created a training plan, which was far more detailed than my current MBA classes. It clearly stated roles and responsibilities of each person involved in the training with the training schedule and a back up plan. This plan really helped me in reducing those redundant e-mails and other wasteful coordination efforts.

Pass on the torch: In real life, it is not a good idea to keep all your eggs in one basket; in virtual team environment, it is not a good idea to have only one contact person. Thus, my policy is not to allow team members to dominate a team by force of personality. I like to rotate team captains. In my team, every member will rotate leader and follower roles. This mechanism helps me to get to know each individual, and helps each team members to practice their leadership skills during the project.

Give tools to communicate: I believe that in a team project, team members should have as many tools as possible to communicate with each other. When I got the names of team members in my team, I distributed their e-mail addresses, skype id, and telephone numbers to everyone. I also establish team specific synchronous chat rooms in which conversations are automatically archived, giving all members a record of discussions. I also provided team with a private asynchronous message board. I would recommend you guys to use tools like Google Groups, Windows Live Space (Skydive), etc.

I hope my article was helpful, and I am eager to hear your feedback. Thanks. – Bhavin Gandhi

 
 

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3 responses to “3 simple tips for empowering your virtual team

  1. Phil Montero

    March 1, 2011 at 6:25 AM

    I really like this post as these are 3 simple things any virtual team leader can do to quickly improve their teams. I especially like the idea of passing the torch and rotating team captains. This helps everyone gain a new perspective on what it means to lead. I think rotating meeting facilitators is another similar strategy that leads to better virtual team meetings as well.

    Good advice Bhavin!

     
  2. Bhavin Gandhi

    March 1, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Hey Phil,

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Actually, I work with 3 different virtual teams at my work, and I have implemented this strategy, which gave me really nice results. So, I thought of sharing that.

    Thanks – Bhavin Gandhi

     

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