Remote teamwork is different! Should we care?

Remote teamwork is different! Should we care?

How is working remotely with others different from the co-located face-to-face settings we are used to?

The main difference lies in the fact that projects have become very complex. As companies and organizations become international, project teams become more and more distributed.

While in the past there might have been 1 or 2 remote team members, today, we find a lot of teams distributed across many time zones, where physical distance and cultural differences create a very diverse setting.

It is not just the complexity within the team that has increased. Also, the organizational and team contexts have become more diverse. Continue reading “Remote teamwork is different! Should we care?”

Trust in remote teams: Three tools and the larger picture

Trust in remote teams: Three tools and the larger picture

For some time, we have been observing a general tendency within society to seek simple and clear-cut solutions to complex questions. And, when you think of trust in distributed teams, there seems to be a similar approach. The work situation in those teams is usually quite complex: Team members work in several locations and different times zones. Teams consist of members with different national and corporate backgrounds. The channels of (mostly virtual) communication are thin. When team leaders have questions about building trust in their distributed teams, they usually opt for fast and preferably simple solutions, such as tools and checklists. This is understandable, considering the pressure they feel. They quickly have to deliver ambitious results in their projects or in matrix organizations. Continue reading “Trust in remote teams: Three tools and the larger picture”

The story we are making up…

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We will be talking more about Building Trust in Remote Teams in our upcoming webinar on Thursday, June 23, 2016 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM (CEST).

This webinar will take a close look at the concept of trust in teams and its importance for virtual collaboration. Among others, we will examine the questions: Can a team be productive without trust? What is trust? How do you make sure trust is established in your team?

As in all our webinars we will not only share and discuss the concept, but also share a tool that you can apply in your own team context.

Register here!

3 ways to use slides and captivate a virtual audience

3 ways to use slides and captivate a virtual audience

Ever heard of Death by Powerpoint? Even if you have not, you probably have sat in on presentations where the presenter uses presentation slides more to remind himself of the things he wanted to say than to help you understand his message. To me, the worst version of this is when each slide is packed with words in small font, and they are read off the slides by the presenter.

But slides can be quite useful and help your audience stay engaged. In a virtual meeting, slides can serve a number of purposes: Continue reading “3 ways to use slides and captivate a virtual audience”

Are your virtual presentations as good as your in-person ones?

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Let’s face it: presentations are often not captivating.

In a face-to-face meeting people usually don’t just leave the room when they get bored by what they hear and see. But in a virtual meeting it is easy to disappear, check emails, surf or do something else. No one notices that participants have left. It is the responsible of the presenter or facilitator to keep the audience engaged and attentive.

Continue reading “Are your virtual presentations as good as your in-person ones?”

How to deal with intercultural issues in remote teams

How to deal with intercultural issues in remote teams

Intercultural communication has been a topic in teams and organisations for quite some time. Still, in recent years the situation has changed and now requires a different approach to dealing with cultural differences.

Until only a few years ago, most members of a team were sitting in one location. They had rarely more than one dominating culture. The responsibility to bridge the distance (and the cultural difference) was mainly with the team leader and other high level managers, who would travel around to world to keep in touch with their people and ensure that the work done in the different locations was coordinated and coherent. In some cases the managers were sent to a different country, where they had to learn how the culture differed from their own and adapt to the local practices.

This situation has changed quite considerably in most organisations. Today, most teams spread across many countries, if not continents. There might still be a large group of people in one location (typically in headquarters) but the team is predominantly distributed, and includes people from a number of different cultures. Furthermore, most if not all communication is virtual, and virtual distance (physical, but also operational and most importantly affinity distance) heavily influences the effectiveness of a team.
Continue reading “How to deal with intercultural issues in remote teams”

Kommunikation auf Distanz: Nur lauter oder anders?

Kommunikation auf Distanz: Nur lauter oder anders?

Im Rahmen eines Beratertreffens mit Kolleginnen und Kollegen neulich in Hamburg hatte ich die Gelegenheit, über verteilte Organisations- und Teamsituationen zu diskutieren.

Verteilt arbeitende und lebende Menschen arbeiten und kommunizieren hauptsächlich über technische „Tools“ und Plattformen zusammen. Entweder sie treffen sich in Telefon-, Video- und Webkonferenzen zeitgleich –synchron wie wir es nennen –  oder sie arbeiten zwischen diesen Meetings zeitversetzt – asynchron– zusammen. Sie erarbeiten Texte, Präsentationen gemeinsam auf Wiki-Plattformen, sie senden Kurznachrichten, sie quatschen über Chatsysteme. Die Technik verändert den Phänotyp des Miteinander-Redens erheblich. Das ist schnell einsichtig. Diese Kommunikationen sind so sehr unterschiedlich, dass Menschen die Andersartigkeit der virtuellen Kommunikation physisch spüren, oft auch erleiden. Befragt nach ihren Erlebnissen, schildern sie die virtuelle Kommunikation oft als weniger dicht, d.h. mit weniger Signalen verbunden und kompliziert, weil sie mit der Technologie nicht zurechtkommen oder die Technik nicht klappt. Insgesamt wird in der Regel die sog. Face-to-Face (F2F) Kommunikationsform als die „eigentliche“ und auch vernünftige und erstrebenswerte Kommunikationsform erachtet. Continue reading “Kommunikation auf Distanz: Nur lauter oder anders?”