Sunday, February 15, 2009

Communication and Culture Top Virtual List


Virtual leadership challenge survey results are in.

Thank you to everyone that took the time to submit your ideas, insights and personal stories of the challenge of leading virtual teams. There is certainly a lot of passion on this topic.

While I should not be surprised, it was very interesting how closely the challenges aligned with the more standardized team maturity assessment categories. Topics such as communication, engagement, culture, relationships, trust, loyalty, roles and responsibilities and goal alignment are important for the success of any team, virtual or co-located. Note the similarity to Cynder Niemela’s “Leading High Impact Teams” and Patrick Lencioni’s “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” criteria. The difference I felt in reading and interpreting your responses was the amount of passion and the criticality of the attribute. For example, trust is important to a co-located team, but it is essential to a virtual team and will not evolve without overt effort. The learning I got from these “similar” topics was the need to deal with them in a far more forthright manner.

There were topics that are not as commonly mentioned for co-located teams. These included topics such as common tool sets, processes, times zones/holidays, leadership training and understanding non-verbal communication. These were interesting to me because I always considered them mechanical in nature and a decision away from being solved. There is clearly more to it than I gave credit. Looks like the virtual world will reinforce the need for strong leadership.

What observation do you see in the pareto chart than I might have overlooked?

3 comments:

Alex Kersha said...

John,
This is a great summary of the discussion topic and of your thoughts. Thank you for posting them here.

Cheers,
Alex

Anonymous said...

Interesting that there does not seem to be a clear grouping (e.g. all the emotional items together) so as you suggest, there is more ot this than just the mechanics.

scooter said...

To the blogosphere

When reading the initial survey request the first thing that I thought about was the necessity for trust. Trust specifically between organization leadership and the virtual worker, and likewise amongst teammates. I was a bit surprised that this topic was not higher in the virtual list results.

John specifically points to 'trust' and the criticality of this attribute. I was interested in any thoughts as to why this attribute did not rank higher, especially since it is a common assessment category for both virtual and co-located teams. It could be that the attributes that ranked the highest were unique to virtual environments, however it seems likely without the attribute and foundation of trust the virtual workplace will be a non-starter.

Thoughts would be appreciated.

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