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Saturday, 13 April 2013

A Look Forward | Virtual Teams Guide

A Look Forward

Posted by Yael Zofi on
What’s ahead in 2013? By definition a new year is an opportunity to hit the restart button, offering the potential for progress, if only incremental, in meaningful ways.  Our global neighborhood is continually shrinking, and the pace seems to accelerate every year. For professionals in the ‘people’ development side of business, and project managers who rely on virtual teams to get deliverables out the door, the potential for connecting people has never been greater than today.

… and that brings me to my predictions about what 2013 holds for virtual teams!

  • Cloud Computing will continue to spread, with enterprise apps proliferating.  Mobile apps will continue to evolve, and I expect that companies will tie multiple systems together to leverage data, making it easier and faster to transform data into useful information.

How does this impact virtual project managers? Sharing information and communicating across time and space will become more fluid – but the potential for cultural misunderstandings will increase. To guard against this, sharpen your cross cultural antennas, and make a special effort to regularly enable regular interactions across your virtual team.

  • Social Media will continue to be important outreach outlets, and no organization should ignore their potential.  Enterprise-level Facebook and LinkedIn accounts will become as commonplace as corporate websites, with blog postings containing useful updates for a variety of stakeholders.

Virtual team members who automatically visit their Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, among others, to keep current with colleagues can further use this phenomenon to regularly share information.

  • Virtual Training takes a giant leap.  Each year I deliver more programs via webinars and video conferences than the previous year – and not only do I post to my blog regularly, I post comments on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook weekly.  The paradigm shift has shifted, thanks to increased availability, reduced business travel and greater audience participation in technology-enabled virtual training.

You and your virtual teammates can look forward to seamless sessions led by subject matter experts, delivered on demand.  Colleagues can more easily share resources, solve problems and tackle complex issues.

What do all of my predictions have in common?  If you work in the virtual environment take note – you’ll need to significantly hone your senses when not in the room.  Do the following: (1) improve your ability to read cues when you can’t look a colleague in the eye; (2) keep in mind that some team members may need extra help understanding your language; (3) stay sensitive to those from different cultures since your own communications may be misinterpreted, and (4) build trust within the team so that teammates represent each other’s interests when they are not present.

One thing remains consistent – be it today, twenty years ago or twenty years from now.  Teamwork is a joint effort.  The stronger the human connections within your team, the better your chances of success at getting deliverables out the door in the coming year.

Enjoy exploring the ever-evolving world of virtual teams.
A Look Forward | Virtual Teams Guide

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