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!

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”

Social Business: Das Team ist der Star(t)!

Social Business: Das Team ist der Star(t)!

Im Post “Social is out” habe ich den derzeitigen Implementierungsstand der Social Business Aktivitäten in Organisationen zusammengefasst. Es zeigt sich, dass es in Unternehmen und anderen Organisation inzwischen eine Reihe von Aktivitäten mit sicher unterschiedlichen Entwicklungsstand gibt. Die Praxis hat also definitiv begonnen. So das Fazit. In den Organisationen, die die Projekte erfolgreich umgesetzt haben, zeigen sich dabei einige Gemeinsamkeiten: Continue reading “Social Business: Das Team ist der Star(t)!”

Remote Team Success: The 3 Areas To Invest In

Remote Team Success: The 3 Areas To Invest In

The last 10 years have seen the rise of social online tools. It has become very easy to connect and stay connected over large distances and across time. We have found our high school buddies again and are given the means to stay in touch with them and everyone we meet. Criticism about the depth of these social connections aside, social online tools have radically reduced the cost and effort to connect and communicate with others.

In the same period the structure of most companies has changed quite dramatically, too. From relatively simple but slow and often bureaucratic hierarchical organizations many have evolved to become highly complex matrix organizations who organize around international project teams. Distributed work has become the norm rather than the exception.

Yet, only marketing departments and agencies have fully embraced social online tools and much of the rest of the enterprise world has, somewhat jealously, watched from the sidelines. Continue reading “Remote Team Success: The 3 Areas To Invest In”

Virtual leadership cannot be delegated

Virtual leadership cannot be delegated

The old leadership concepts and principles remain valid and important. The new challenge for virtual leadership, rather, lies in the mechanics of managing a workforce whose primary obstacle to communication and collaboration is distance. In a context dominated by distance, command and control fail systematically, so, leaders now have to take decade-old leadership lessons serious and practice them.

Executives also have to realize that virtual leadership is different! Distributed and virtual work is not face-to-face with new tools. It requires the domination of new technologies and a re-thinking of how work is organized.

Read the full article by Hans Gärtner and Stephan Dohrn.