Articles

Galvanize global virtual teams with clear operating principles

-By Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights and Robert Whipple, LeaderGrow, Inc. The best way to get a new team out of starting gate is to pull everyone into one room for a few days to carve out goals, hammer out differences, develop team norms, and agree on deliverables, schedules and roles. Investing in this process allows […]

Real-time conversations crucial for networking in a virtual world

By Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights and Patti Anklam, Hutchinson Associates This issue of Communiqué focuses on planning and facilitating conversations most likely to help you cultivate mutually-rewarding relationships. We also discuss ways to follow up to keep both parties engaged and interested in moving forward together. In this issue, we refer primarily to voice-to-voice conversations, […]

Ten must-know email tips for teams to make an impact and get results

By Nancy Settle-Murphy, Guided Insights and Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts, Sheryl Lindsell-Roberts & Associates Are you having trouble keeping up with the fusillade of emails your team members churn out each day? Are you wondering why team members don’t respond to your messages or if they even read them? Email is the cornerstone of communications for most […]

Get and Give What You Bargained for With Clear Agreements That Make Sense

Setting false deadlines has become as chronic as breaking them, according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal. Managers might get away with this practice once or twice, but when team members finally catch on, chances are they won’t fall for it again. And worse, they’re more likely to ignore authentic deadlines when […]

Get New Team Members Up To Speed Quickly

You’ve been asked to contribute your subject matter expertise as part of a team collaborating on high- stakes project. While most team members work with the client face-to-face, you and a few others work three time zones away. You’re uncomfortably aware that your work is on the critical path. Just as you’re about to turn […]

Mentoring From Afar – Go the Distance To Grow Top Talent

Your organization is lucky to have retained some extraordinary talent despite the best efforts of your top competitors to lure them away. Among these key employees are a few dozen freshly minted MBAs and several mid-level managers who have been hand- picked to take on senior positions once the current crop of baby boomer executives […]

Worth a Thousand Words: Connecting Virtual Teams Through Imagery and Metaphor

Using images and metaphors can work wonders to break the ice, create a shared sense of purpose and cultivate an environment of real collaboration. But when a team is confined to connecting only through virtual means, the use of visuals as a springboard for meaningful discussion is typically limited. Not because it has to be […]

Drive Out Distractions and Reclaim Your Time

As I write this month’s Communiqué, I’m completely focused on my topic. I can get this written in about an hour, if no one interrupts me. An email flashes on my screen. What if it’s really important? Twenty-five minutes later (okay, so I read a few emails and replied to three of them); I’m ready […]

Six Management Practices That Don’t Cut It in a Virtual World

Do you think that just because you’re a successful manager of traditional teams that you’ll automatically be a hotshot manager in the virtual world? Maybe not. In fact, it’s often those managers who assume their leadership skills are eminently transportable to a virtual team are those who struggle the most. Why? They haven’t taken the […]

Open Communication, Mutual Respect Keys to Intergenerational Harmony

With multiple generations working side by side for several years now, much has been written about the key differences that affect the ability of multigenerational teams to collaborate successfully. Some organizations have taken this advice to heart and work to consciously reflect these differences when it comes to selecting and cultivating teams. Others have dismissed […]

Cultivating Trust from Afar in Tough Times

Today’s astonishing economic situation affects virtually every working individual around the globe. As organizations are forced to make drastic cuts and other difficult changes to remain viable, the need for competent, credible, trustworthy leaders has never been greater. At the same time, the very nature of our global economic collapse has bred deep distrust for […]

Accelerate On-the-Job Learning With (Virtual) Peer Roundtables

If you’re like many of our clients and colleagues, you work some distance away from your key colleagues. This may mean that you rarely get the chance to brainstorm ideas, share lessons learned, or explore difficult issues with your peers. With technology as an enabler, virtual roundtables can be an effective way to exchange ideas […]

Building Relationships, One Conversation at a Time

Can you build a trusting relationship when you’ve never had an actual conversation? (And no, IM, email, text, Twitter and blog “conversations” don’t count!) While it may be possible, it’s pretty unlikely. Most business conversations tend to focus on tasks and priorities, whether to review the progress of a current project, delegate actions or make […]

Guidelines for Great Global Team Meetings

Thanks to advances in technology, project team members scattered around multiple time zones work together as a matter of routine. However, without a keen understanding of important cultural differences that are most likely to affect collaboration, many virtual global project teams struggle to achieve their goals, or sometimes simply fall apart. In this edition of […]

Seven Attributes of an Exceptional Virtual Collaborator

Just because someone works virtually doesn’t mean that person really has what it takes to collaborate successfully. In fact, many who work remotely are poorly suited to make the connections they really need to thrive. In this edition of Communiqué, we look at characteristics that make for a successful virtual collaborator, and those that may […]

Holding Back: A Counter-Intuitive Approach for Virtual Leaders

When they first join a new team, members tend to be energized, motivated, and eager to learn the ropes. Many take pride in finding the information and resources they need to tackle their new assignments and may need just a bit of guidance to keep moving in the right direction. After all, absorbing and applying […]

Real Cultural Assimilation Takes Patience, Time and Willingness to Adapt

A colleague recently landed a job for Export Trading Co. LTD, an agro processing company in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, with offices throughout Sub Saharan Africa. I wondered: Is it any easier to become assimilated into a new culture today than it was for me when I took a temporary assignment in Hong Kong two […]

Leading vs. Managing Remote Teams

As more organizations work virtually, managers of traditional work teams are tapped to lead geographically dispersed teams. When thrust into this unfamiliar territory, many managers flounder, especially those who rely on command-and-control tactics to get work done across locations, functions, cultures and time zones. Joining me in writing this month’s Communiqué is my friend and […]

Moving to the Virtual Classroom: 8 Steps to Keep Learners Engaged

As our workforce becomes more scattered, organizations are being forced to rethink how they deliver training. While the array of solutions may vary, one trait these organizations have in common: They are scaling back or altogether eliminating classroom training in favor of distance learning. Most don’t have the experience or tools to make this move […]

Navigating Through Invisible Cultural Tripwires

It can be really awkward to candidly discuss cultural differences when your colleagues work across the hall. But when colleagues work across the continent or on the other side of the world, these conversations becomes exponentially harder. Yet, by missing the opportunity to openly explore how cultural differences affect its ability to collaborate, a team […]

To speed decision-making, get rid of the noise

To be, or not to be? Not all decisions are as profound as Hamlet’s, but some team decisions can be real game-changers. Making tough decisions can stress out members of any team, but when you’re working as a geographically-dispersed team, the decision-making process can be especially draining. Why?  Simply put, the decision-making process for virtual […]

Building Trust Within Virtual Teams – Small Steps Add Up

When we ask clients to name the toughest challenge associated with leading virtual teams, there is one answer that always pops to the top of the list: Building trust. Or in some cases, it’s re-building trust. Building trust is hard for any team, but it is especially hard for virtual teams, whose members have few […]

For High Impact Global Communications, One Size Never Fits All

You’re poised to launch a Big Change that will rock the world of everyone across your organization, around the world. You’ve spent weeks with C-level execs, Marketing, HR and Legal to hammer out a set of crisp, consistent messages. After weeks of haggling, everyone has finally signed off. At last, you have sent the key […]

Overcoming Time and Distance to Stay Connected, Engaged and Energized

In a world where what was blindly fast is now excruciatingly slow, what was private is now all-too-public, and where meaningful discussions have given way to a stream of 280-character exchanges, a feeling of disconnection has become rampant across the workplace. Despite the proliferation of devices that tether us to others at any time, from […]

Successful Virtual Collaboration Takes a Lot More Than Just the Right Tools

Your organization has finally gotten wise to the fact that employees need more than just email, a smart phone and a group website to work with their colleagues across the world, or even just down the hall. IT has just unveiled an array of exciting new collaboration tools with great fanfare, complete with training and […]

How to Tilt the Work-Life Balance in your Favor in a 24×7 World

Is achieving “work-life balance” really possible in an always-on, constantly connected world? When telecommuting and flextime were introduced, the thinking was that busy professionals could adjust their working hours to accommodate other important aspects of their lives. (“It’s great – I can coach my kids’ soccer games and then hop onto my late-night con calls.”) […]

6 Essential Guidelines for Making Better Decisions, Virtually

Let’s face it. We’ve all made some pretty poor decisions. Sometimes it’s because we feel we have to keep moving, in any direction. Other times we just don’t want to have to think too hard, so we make the choice that requires the least scrutiny. When we make a bad decision that has fairly minor […]

How Virtual Leaders Can Help Others Thrive in a World of Complexity

Consider this: Today’s companies set themselves up to six times more performance metrics than they did 50 years ago. Top leaders committed to just four to seven performance imperatives; today, CEOs commit to somewhere between 25 and 40. According to Yves Morieux of the Boston Consulting Group, author of a recent Harvard Business Review article, […]

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