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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Great Virtual Teams: Rule 1: Exploit Diversity | Welcome To Shrinkonia.

Great Virtual Teams: Rule 1: Exploit Diversity

Do you want to know how Social Media can be used to boost project success?
Do you?
We already know the answer for a couple of years. But not everyone is looking for it in the right direction.

Virtual teams.

In 2004 the Harvard Business Review published a great article by Ann Majchrzak, Arvind Malhotra, Jeffrey Stamps and Jessica Lipnack: “Can Absence Make A Team Grow Stronger”. (remember my video interview with Jesscia Lipnack?)
The article describes three rules to create successful virtual teams:
Rule 1: Exploit Diversity
Rule 2: Use Technology to Simulate Reality
Rule 3: Hold The Team Together
Although the authors don’t use the word “Social Media”, this technology fits like a glove to their research findings.
In the next couple of posts I will explain the 3 rules.

Rule 1: Exploit Diversity

Every single person is different. Put people from all over the world, different professions and different age categories in a team, and your team’s diversity will increase. With virtual teams, this diversity will probably be larger than with collocated teams.
Diversity creates different viewpoints, different ways of problem solving, other ways of looking at the world in general.

This clash of perspectives produces creative solutions.

To be able to exploit diversity in a constructive way, people have to get to know each other a little better. Build trust and respect by sharing their backgrounds, expertise and reputation.
The authors of the article see a role for conference calls in this area. These calls must be carefully planned and be real “can’t miss” events. By explaining their own Meyer-Briggs-indicator, people tell other team members about aspects of their personality.
Another cool way to share backgrounds and interests was mentioned to me by Andy Meyer: for each meeting, a person will prepare their own lifeline introduction or select an article that they believe is particularly interesting.
Make use of your teams diversity.
But you really have to work for it. It’s not going to happen all by itself.

About Bas

Bas is a writer who draws. About people in transition. He loves to make visual maps, travel guides and other storytelling structures for the collaborators of our brave new world. He lives in Zandvoort, The Netherlands.

Great Virtual Teams: Rule 1: Exploit Diversity | Welcome To Shrinkonia.

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