Thanks for joining me again. Since my last entry, I have been busy with my new virtual team. All members are becoming a little more familiar with one another, even learning about one team-mates adventures in moving house over the weekend and another’s impending nuptials!
So far, communications have been a little laboured with some people working, others with family commitments and others just caught up in the nitty gritty of day-to-day life. Added to these influences is the challenge of communicating across three time zones. Despite these impediments there appears to be a genuine eagerness by all parties to contribute to the discussion and to get going on all aspects of the project.
The real issue at this point, in my opinion, is the need for the group to move beyond the polite, getting to know you stage, and to arrive at a point where individuals are sufficiently comfortable to begin to highlight their particular strengths and areas of interest.
The success of a virtual team hinges on the ability of team members to trust in each other and in their common goal as well as to fully engage their own individual skill set within the parameters of their group. According to Keith Ferrazi of the Harvard Business review, it is vital that virtual team members also have the ability to work well independently of one another. It is important, therefore that we all stop being so bashful and announce the areas where we feel we could help to make this project a success. Awareness of team members talents, prior expertise and areas of interest will help to focus the group on the specifics of the tasks and facilitate, what professors James O’Toole and Warren Bennis called, a ‘culture of candor’. In an environment where individuals feel that their abilities are recognised and their opinions are valued, there exists a greater opportunity for creativity and productivity to flourish.
That’s the theory, anyway. I will keep you all abreast of the reality!