The news media regularly reports on yet another famous individual caught out in inappropriate, injudicious behavior. This includes leaders in industry and government as well as ‘stars’ in entertainment and sports. These individuals, despite their brilliance, talent, wealth and power, are shown to have feet of clay. This metaphor is from the Book of Daniel, written over 2000 years ago. Clearly we’ve known about our self-destructive capacity for a very long time. These dramatic instances of poor behaviour are both fodder for tabloids and for great enduring literature. Today we ascribe this self-defeating behaviour as a lack of social and emotional intelligence.
EQ, also known as Emotional Intelligence, has four broad dimensions – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. It’s a natural complement to Cognitive Intelligence, or IQ (Intellectual Quotient). Like IQ, EQ is also needed at all life stages. EQ has four broad dimensions – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.
Our collective “EQ Gap” plays out in our own lives at school, work, and the community. While it usually doesn’t become a news story, the consequences are just as dramatic and destructive….
"When teams are diverse, meaningful innovation is more likely to happen."
"We know intuitively that innovation goals are well served by cross-functional “SWAT” teams that are diverse in their membership. As Andy Zynga argued in an earlier post, diversity is a means to overcome the cognitive biases that prevent people from seeing new approaches or engaging them when found. But while this seems only logical, is there empirical evidence to support it? When such diversity is enforced can we expect it to produce results? How do we know “more is better”?
Stanford professor Lee Fleming and his colleagues have been working on these questions by looking for patterns in the teams behind patents. They find that higher-valued industrial innovation (by its nature also riskier) is more likely to arise when diverse teams are assembled of people with deep subject matter expertise in their areas. Other interesting findings in Fleming’s body of work include the observation of a bimodal distribution of outcomes for diverse teams (that is, a relatively high rate of failure and high rate of big successes, with not much middle ground); and the discovery that different kinds of communications networks foster different levels of diffusion of innovation. Fleming focuses on cross-pollination in the context of “big D” Development, which often involves recombination of existing knowledge to serve commercial goals.
Along similar lines, Ben Jones and colleagues at the Kellogg Business School of Northwestern University published a paper in Science last year focusing on diversity in the production of new knowledge, as reflected in the research literature. Looking for patterns across some 17.9 million papers indexed in Thomson Reuter’s Web of Science, they demonstrated that the most influential papers (most highly cited) were those that exhibited an intrusion of interdisciplinary information. They also found that groups were more likely to foster these intrusions than solo researchers. This is entirely consistent with Fleming’s findings for industry, and his attempts to dispel some of themythology around lone inventors. (One difference in the studies is that, thus far, Jones hasn’t observed the bimodal distribution that Fleming does; there is apparently no cluster of papers with abnormally low citations which also feature intrusions of outside knowledge.)
Taken together, the studies led by Fleming and Jones make a good case for assembling that SWAT team that can bring multiple disciplinary perspectives to bear on a problem. It isn’t always obvious how to do so, but we at NineSigma can point to an instructive example at AkzoNobel. AkzoNobel is a multi-national, multi-divisional manufacturer and distributor of coatings systems, or more simply put, paint. But paint is really not as simple as just paint; for example, coatings for automotive applications are very different from decorative finishes. Among AkzoNobel’s divisions are more and less conventional manufacturers of chemicals and polymers. Having grown by acquisition, the company has the typical silos, with organizational and geographic boundaries inhibiting the diffusion of knowledge…."
To be original, you need messiness and magic, serendipity and insanity.
Here’s how John Lennon wrote “Nowhere Man,” as he recalled it in an interview that ran just before he was murdered in 1980: After working five hours trying to craft a song, he had nothing to show for it. “Then, ‘Nowhere Man’ came, words and music, the whole damn thing as I lay down.”
Here’s how Steve Jobs came up with the groundbreaking font selection when Apple designed the Mac: He had taken a class in the lost art of calligraphy and found it “beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture.” Ten years later, it paid off when Apple ushered in a typeface renaissance.
And here’s how Oscar Wilde defined his profession: “A writer is someone who has taught his mind to misbehave.”
We’ve bottled lust. We’ve refined political analysis so that nearly every election can be accurately forecast. And we’ve compressed the sum of education for an average American 17-year-old into the bloodless numbers of standardized test scores. What still eludes the captors of knowledge is creativity, even though colleges are trying to teach it, corporations are trying to own it, and Apple has a “creativity app.”
But perhaps because creativity remains so unquantifiable, it’s still getting shortchanged by educators, new journalistic ventures, Hollywood and the company that aspires to be the earth’s largest retailer, Amazon.com.
An original work, an aha! product or a fresh insight is rarely the result of precise calculation at one end producing genius at the other. You need messiness and magic, serendipity and insanity. Creativity comes from time off, and time out. There is no recipe for “Nowhere Man,” other than showing up, and then, maybe lying down.
The push for Common Core standards in the schools came from colleges and employers who complained that high schools were turning out too many graduates unprepared for the modern world. That legitimate criticism prompted a massive overhaul affecting every part of the country. Now, the pushback, in part, is coming from people who feel that music, art and other unmeasured values got left behind — that the Common Core stifles creativity. Educators teach for the test, but not for the messy brains of the kids in the back rows.
At Amazon, the quants rule. Daydreaming, pie-in-the-sky time and giving people room to fail — the vital ingredients of creativity — are costly, the first things to go at a data-driven company. As a business model, Amazon is a huge success. As a regular generator of culture-altering material, it’s a bit player.
"We just completed a major study of human capital trends around the world (Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends, 2500 organizations in 90 countries) and the message is clear: companies are struggling to engage our modern, 21st century workforce.
This is a worldwide issue. Gallup research shows that only 13% of employees around the world are actively engaged at work, and more than twice that number are so disengaged they are likely to spread negativity to others.
...And when we asked companies to evaluate their management practices they were particularly critical of the way they manage performance, leading us to the conclusion that performance management is broken. (Read The Myth of the Bell Curve for more on this topic)…"
People don't underperform because they lack technical skills. People underperform because they lack soft skills.
"A few years ago, a senior engineering executive at a high-tech Silicon Valley company asked me to teach a two-hour course on assessing "soft skills". His company had mastered the art of judging candidates' technical skills. It conducted day-long interviews focused on programming languages, server skills, and data analysis. Then, in the final 45 minutes, the hiring manager would turn his attention to the soft skills. If felt like an afterthought, perhaps because it was.
...His immediate response was a stunned silence; the expanse and impact of a candidate's soft skills had perhaps not occurred to him before. I think he realized quite quickly that 45 minutes tacked on the end of an all-day interview was not enough."
Two centuries ago, the United States was founded on the ideal that the pursuit of happiness is a human right. The Statue of Liberty with its torch held high perhaps best symbolizes this enduring aspiration for those seeking the American Dream, even now during a global economic crisis. In The How of Happiness, Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky explores the relation between intentional activity and happiness. Research shows there are simple and proven ongoing ways to enhance happiness. These include counting one’s blessings, performing kind acts, and seeing negative situations in a positive light. Circumstantial happiness in contrast is dependent on external factors, which often we have no direct control over as recent events sadly show.
The idea of intentional happiness is similar to the ‘broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions’ first formulated by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson in 1998. This holds that positive emotions and intentions help broaden awareness. And this helps encourage new exploration, creativity, and social bonds. Positive emotions are seen as expansive and inclusive. Negative emotions are linked directly to narrow survival-oriented behaviours such as flight or fight.
"Japanese researcher Hiroshi Nittono just made the Internet's day. According to a new study lead by Nittono for Hiroshima University, looking at pictures of puppies and panda cams and grumpy, grumpy cat videos at work doesn't just improve your mood, it can also increase your productivity.
Results show that participants performed tasks requiring focused attention more carefully after viewing cute images. This is interpreted as the result of a narrowed attentional focus induced by the cuteness-triggered positive emotion that is associated with approach motivation and the tendency toward systematic processing.
Published online last week in the journal PlosOne, the Japanese research paper, entitled "The Power of Kawaii: Viewing Cute Images Promotes a Careful Behavior and Narrows Attentional Focus," concluded that looking at cute images at work can boost attention to detail and overall performance."
In Japan "kawaii" (Japanese for cute) is a cultural phenomenon (think, the Hello Kitty craze). With their large heads and eyes, these type of images are thought to stir positive feelings because they resemble babies, according to LiveScience.com.
As consultations on the post-2015 development agenda move forward, expectations among youth organisations around the world in particular, have been expressed and raised through numerous fora, online and offline consultations. It is now important to build on the results of these consultations, amplify young people’s voices and advocate for their priorities to be reflected as concrete commitments in the post-2015 agenda.
On 18 February 2014, the President of the General Assembly will launch a Global Partnership on Youth in the Post-2015 Development Agenda facilitated by the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth to bring together a wide spectrum of stakeholders to be a unified voice for youth priorities in the post-2015 development agenda. The Partnership will aim to create an inclusive platform for young people to formulate concrete ideas that can be proposed for the inter-governmental deliberations, including:
The High Level Event on “Contributions of Women, the Young and Civil Society to the Post-2015 Development Agenda” organized by the President of the General Assembly in March 2014;The third ECOSOC Youth Forum from 3 to 4 June 2014 that will contribute to its Annual Ministerial Review in July 2014 on the theme of “Addressing on-going and emerging challenges for meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 and for sustaining development gains in the future”;The Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.
As a first step, a crowdsourcing platform will be launched to consolidate the outcomes of national, regional, global and online consultations into concrete proposals for the post-2015 development framework. These proposals will be informed by the latest available data and reports, including those from the United Nations and the High Level Panel on Post-2015.
The exercise will also build on consensus emerging from youth-led organizations and networks, including the Major Group on Children and Youth, the International Coordination Meeting of Youth Organizations, the Youth Advocacy Group for the Global Education First Initiative, amongst others. It will build on the framework of the top priorities that have emerged for young voters of the MyWorld2015 survey: Education, Employment and Entrepreneurship, Health, Good Governance and Peace and Stability.
Moderated by experts from the United Nations, youth-led organizations and academia, the exercise will result in a document, “Youth Voices” that will contain the consolidated proposals that the Partnership will advocate for in the post-2015 discussions. The partnership can potentially also monitor the implementation of youth priorities in the future development agenda.
The crowdsourcing platform will also serve as a space for online discussions in the lead up to each one of the PGA’s Thematic High Level Events (except the first one).
The partnership is supported by International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Millennium Campaign, the Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development and Crowdicity.
Not surprisingly, virtual teams are finding increasing use in healthcare as in every other sector. “The literature indicates that a virtual community in health care as a group of people using telecommunication with the purposes of delivering health care and education, and/or providing support, covers a wide range of clinical specialties, technologies and stakeholders. Examples include peer-to-peer networks, virtual health care delivery and research teams” (www.orcatech.org/papers/home_monitoring/06_Demiris_diffusion_of_virtual_community.pdf).
The following study is representative: “This chapter describes an in-depth analysis of the methods to increase the effectiveness of virtual teams in health care using the Northern Alliance Hospital Admission Risk Program (HARP) Chronic Disease Management (CDM) Program as the test case. A conceptual framework of the specific components required for virtual team effectiveness and a survey tool to examine a team’s performance (based on virtual team member perception) with each of these components is presented. The proposed conceptual framework of virtual team effectiveness categorises the determinants influencing the effectiveness of virtual teams into four key frames of leadership, team components, organisational culture, and technology. An empirical survey of 38 virtual team members within the Northern Alliance HARP CDM Program demonstrates high levels of agreement with leadership and some team components, however, limited agreement with the organisational culture and technology components” (four key frames of leadership, team components, organisational culture, and technology. An empirical survey of 38 virtual team members within the Northern Alliance HARP CDM Program demonstrates high levels of agreement with leadership and some team components, however, limited agreement with the organisational culture and technology components” (Chapter X Virtual Teams in Health Care: Maximising Team Effectiveness / www.igi-global.com/chapter/virtual-teams-health-care/23638).
Also indicative of this growing healthcare trend is the study “Using Virtual Teams to Improve Chronic Disease Management in Primary Care: An Overview of Two Models of Virtual Team Care” (http://www.carecontinuumalliance.org).
The Brighten Project stands for “Bridging the Resources of an Interdisciplinary Gero‐mental Health Team via Electronic Networking”. This virtual program provides an “alternative approach to the identification, assessment and treatment of depression in older adults”. The Brighten Virtual Team consists of a: Geropsychiatrist, Geropsychologist, Social Worker, Physical Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Nutritionist, Psychiatric Nurse, Pharmacist, Chaplain and Primary Care Physician. Together this interdisciplinary team of health professionals makes up a “virtual team of supporting disciplines who review the in‐person assessment and offer collaborative and unique intervention strategies using commonly available technologies” (ibid).
Rate The Strength Of Your Virtual Working Relationships. Do you have good relationships with others on your virtual team? Perhaps you do, but how can you be sure? You need to evaluate yourself from their perspective.
Five broad spheres of activity have been identified that make use of virtual teams: Business/Industry, Education, Military, Healthcare, and Non Profit Voluntary Organizations. All basically share the same fundamental challenges and opportunities associated with virtual teaming generally. That is, how can ostensible virtual strangers become high functioning collaborators without ever meeting face-to-face?
"We see significant growth in new virtual learning environments: companies like GE, Motorola, Philips , and others are extending their training budget to reach 2-3 times the audience through the use of easy to use training portals and virtual learning experiences. While most big companies still have a lot of work rationalizing their training spend, the adoption of technology in training has accelerated."
"Leo Tolstoy, the Russian novelist, famously wrote, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
Tolstoy’s dictum is a useful starting point for any executive engaged in organizational change. After years of collaborating in efforts to advance the practice of leadership and cultural transformation, we’ve become convinced that organizational change is inseparable from individual change. Simply put, change efforts often falter because individuals overlook the need to make fundamental changes in themselves.1
Building self-understanding and then translating it into an organizational context is easier said than done, and getting started is often the hardest part. We hope this article helps leaders who are ready to try and will intrigue those curious to learn more.
Organizations don’t change—people do
Many companies move quickly from setting their performance objectives to implementing a suite of change initiatives. Be it a new growth strategy or business-unit structure, the integration of a recent acquisition or the rollout of a new operational-improvement effort, such organizations focus on altering systems and structures and on creating new policies and processes.
To achieve collective change over time, actions like these are necessary but seldom sufficient. A new strategy will fall short of its potential if it fails to address the underlying mind-sets and capabilities of the people who will execute it.
McKinsey research and client experience suggest that half of all efforts to transform organizational performance fail either because senior managers don’t act as role models for change or because people in the organization defend the status quo.2 In other words, despite the stated change goals, people on the ground tend to behave as they did before. Equally, the same McKinsey research indicates that if companies can identify and address pervasive mind-sets at the outset, they are four times more likely to succeed in organizational-change efforts than are companies that overlook this stage.
Look both inward and outward
Companies that only look outward in the process of organizational change—marginalizing individual learning and adaptation—tend to make two common mistakes.
The first is to focus solely on business outcomes. That means these companies direct their attention to what Alexander Grashow, Ronald Heifetz, and Marty Linsky call the “technical” aspects of a new solution, while failing to appreciate what they call “the adaptive work” people must do to implement it.3
The second common mistake, made even by companies that recognize the need for new learning, is to focus too much on developing skills. Training that only emphasizes new behavior rarely translates into profoundly different performance outside the classroom.
In our work together with organizations undertaking leadership and cultural transformations, we’ve found that the best way to achieve an organization’s aspirations is to combine efforts that look outward with those that look inward. Linking strategic and systemic intervention to genuine self-discovery and self-development by leaders is a far better path to embracing the vision of the organization and to realizing its business goals.
What is looking inward?
Looking inward is a way to examine your own modes of operating to learn what makes you tick. Individuals have their own inner lives, populated by their beliefs, priorities, aspirations, values, and fears. These interior elements vary from one person to the next, directing people to take different actions.
Interestingly, many people aren’t aware that the choices they make are extensions of the reality that operates in their hearts and minds. Indeed, you can live your whole life without understanding the inner dynamics that drive what you do and say. Yet it’s crucial that those who seek to lead powerfully and effectively look at their internal experiences, precisely because they direct how you take action, whether you know it or not. Taking accountability as a leader today includes understanding your motivations and other inner drives.
For the purposes of this article, we focus on two dimensions of looking inward that lead to self-understanding: developing profile awareness and developing state awareness.
An individual’s profile is a combination of his or her habits of thought, emotions, hopes, and behavior in various circumstances. Profile awareness is therefore a recognition of these common tendencies and the impact they have on others.
We often observe a rudimentary level of profile awareness with the executives we advise. They use labels as a shorthand to describe their profile, telling us, “I’m an overachiever” or “I’m a control freak.” Others recognize emotional patterns, like “I always fear the worst,” or limiting beliefs, such as “you can’t trust anyone.” Other executives we’ve counseled divide their identity in half. They end up with a simple liking for their “good” Dr. Jekyll side and a dislike of their “bad” Mr. Hyde.
Finding ways to describe the common internal tendencies that drive behavior is a good start. We now know, however, that successful leaders develop profile awareness at a broader and deeper level.
State awareness, meanwhile, is the recognition of what’s driving you at the moment you take action. In common parlance, people use the phrase “state of mind” to describe this, but we’re using “state” to refer to more than the thoughts in your mind. State awareness involves the real-time perception of a wide range of inner experiences and their impact on your behavior. These include your current mind-set and beliefs, fears and hopes, desires and defenses, and impulses to take action.
State awareness is harder to master than profile awareness. While many senior executives recognize their tendency to exhibit negative behavior under pressure, they often don’t realize they’re exhibiting that behavior until well after they’ve started to do so. At that point, the damage is already done.
We believe that in the future, the best leaders will demonstrate both profile awareness and state awareness. These capacities can develop into the ability to shift one’s inner state in real time. That leads to changing behavior when you can still affect the outcome, instead of looking back later with regret. It also means not overreacting to events because they are reminiscent of something in the past or evocative of something that might occur in the future.4
Close the performance gap
When learning to look inward in the process of organizational transformation, individuals accelerate the pace and depth of change dramatically. In the words of one executive we know, who has invested heavily in developing these skills, this kind of learning “expands your capacity to lead human change and deliver true impact by awakening the full leader within you.” In practical terms, individuals learn to align what they intend with what they actually say and do to influence others.
Erica Ariel Fox’s recent book, Winning from Within,5 calls this phenomenon closing your performance gap. That gap is the disparity between what people know they should say and do to behave successfully and what they actually do in the moment. The performance gap can affect anyone at any time, from the CEO to a summer intern.
This performance gap arises in individuals partly because of the profile that defines them and that they use to define themselves. In the West in particular, various assessments tell you your “type,” essentially the psychological clothing you wear to present yourself to the world.
To help managers and employees understand each other, many corporate-education tools use simplified typing systems to describe each party’s makeup. These tests often classify people relatively quickly, and in easily remembered ways: team members might be red or blue, green or yellow, for example.
There are benefits in this approach, but in our experience it does not go far enough and those using it should understand its limitations. We all possess the full range of qualities these assessments identify. We are not one thing or the other: we are all at once, to varying degrees. As renowned brain researcher Dr. Daniel Siegel explains, “we must accept our multiplicity, the fact that we can show up quite differently in our athletic, intellectual, sexual, spiritual—or many other—states. A heterogeneous collection of states is completely normal in us humans.”6 Putting the same point more poetically, Walt Whitman famously wrote, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”"
"Aided by technology, telecommuting is becoming more common, and while it has its challenges, studies show that it tends to create happier, better workers….And the phenomenon appears to be growing. The annual survey last year by the Society for Human Resource Management found a greater increase in the number of companies planning to offer telecommuting in 2014 than those offering just about any other new benefit."
It’sreported that several hundered million people use PowerPoint. This includes 6 million teachers. This Microosft product has garnered 95% of the presentation software market. However, a great many users dislike PowerPoint; hence popular expressions like ‘Death by PowerPoint’ and ‘PowerPoint Hell’. However in many cases this is due to a lack of design skills…
Most Americans believe that today's schools should teach "soft skills." More than three in four adults "strongly agree" that K-12 schools should teach critical thinking and communication to children. And 64% of respondents strongly agree that goal setting should be taught, while 61% strongly agree schools should know how to motivate students. A majority also strongly agree that things like creativity and collaboration are also meaningful teacher targets.
A T-shirt design from zaazle.com archly proclaims, “Happiness is a fragment of your imagination!” Happiness today is defined as a “a state of well being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy” [http://wordnet.princeton.edu]. Our original understanding was more complex, nuanced, and pragmatic.
For example, ‘Hap’ in the Old English of the 1300s meant ‘fortune or chance’. This basic link between happiness and luck is found in most northern European languages of that time. Yet, happiness was also associated with two other related emotional states – beatitude and blitheness….
As in practically every other sector, the militaries of various nations, such as the USA, are increasingly invested in the development of virtual teaming. The following are extracts from typical studies vis-à-vis.
“The U.S. and its allies work together in virtual teams to put out small “fires” around the world. Such multi-national “fires” are known by many monikers, including small- scale operations, Operations Other Than War (OOTW), or complex emergencies, depending on the background and culture of the organizations involved. The U.S. military is particularly interested in the successful implementation of virtual teams to support its participation in an increasing number of joint and coalition operations, to provide alternatives for a downsized force and to serve as a testbed for exploring alternative techniques for command and control (C2), particularly in the area of network-centric warfare” (Working Together Virtually: The Care and Feeding of Global Virtual Teams (http://www.dodccrp.org/events/5th_ICCRTS/papers/Track4/009.pdf)
“Successful leadership requires clear communication between team members, yet globalization of our society has introduced the reality of directing teams who are often not co-located. In the military environment, distributed teams are increasingly common. However, the current research is primarily directed at such teams in corporate environments. Additionally, senior Army leaders typically have, at best, a passing knowledge of technology and virtual teaming” (Virtual Team Communication and Collaboration in Army and Corporate Applications” (http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA502091).
“Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers in the ROTC program at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater trained on core leadership skills using the Virtual Battlespace 2 (VBS2) Friday (Feb. 8) at the University Center. The program allowed Soldiers to test their tactical and leadership skills in a sophisticated virtual environment, and “replay” the exercise to review their performance. Wisconsin National Guard Public Affairs photo by Vaughn R. Larson” (http://dma.wi.gov/dma/news/2013News/13019.asp).
There are a significant number of universities involved in virtual team research, development, and training. This stands to reason given that the field is still emerging. Typical is an academic paper from Harvard Business School: Virtual Team Learning: Reflecting and Acting, Alone or With Others (2009).
Estimates vary as to the number of K12 students enrolled in virtual schools. It may be as high as 1 million and as low as 250,000. While the actual number may be in question, it’s evident that many virtual students work on projects virtually. (http://nepc.colorado.edu/publication/virtual-schools-annual-2013, http://virtualschoolmooc.wikispaces.com/history)
The following is a typical example: “Imagine students at four different high schools working collaboratively and in real time on a project to create a mechanically-fed birdhouse monitored via the Internet. The bird feeder automatically refills itself, based on a preset schedule. One school team acts as project manager, while another is responsible for aesthetic design. The third school handles computer programming for refilling the bird seed. The fourth school determines the type and amount of bird seed used” (http://www.hivelocitymedia.com/innovationnews/virtualcollaborativelearningenvironment051712.aspx)
Appreciative Inquiry [AI] is the theory and practice of organizational transformation developed by D. Cooperrider and S. Srivastva in 1992 at Case Western University. AI focuses on what works well for people as opposed to what doesn’t. During the process, members of an organization co-create a picture of the positive future organization they imagine using images and words. Research shows that this helps people to actualize what they envision. The AI founders called this the Heliotropic Effect. The concept, borrowed from botany, refers to the tendency of certain plants to continually turn towards sunlight. “Like a plant that grows in the direction of the light source, individuals and groups strive to grow towards the positive image they hold” [D. Cooperrider, 1990: appreciativeinquiry. org]. As Dr. Kim Cameron notes in ‘The Heliotropic Effect of Abundance’, “all living systems are inclined toward that which gives life” (Making the Impossible Possible: Leading Extraordinary Performance: The Rocky Flats Story, 2006).
Virtual Volunteerism has been practiced since the early 1990s. For example, the Virtual Volunteering Guidebook by Susan J. Ellis and Jayne Cravens was introduced in 2000. In 2004, virtual team volunteering was also the topic of a graduate thesis at Antioch University in Seattle by Andrew Wong entitled “Leading and motivating virtual teams in volunteer organizations”.
“Virtual volunteering means volunteer tasks completed, in whole or in part, via the Internet and a home or work computer. It’s also known as online volunteering, cyber service, online mentoring, teletutoring and various other names. Virtual volunteering allows agencies to expand the benefits of their volunteer programs, by allowing for more volunteers to participate, and by utilizing volunteers in new areas” (Virtual Volunteering Resources | Serviceleader.org).
Idealist.org discusses how to “create a virtual global team of Idealists who support one another’s efforts to do good wherever they are in the world”. The United Health Group is even more specific and focused. “There are many opportunities for virtual teams to make an important difference in the lives of others while also instilling the importance of team spirit and the value of teamwork. By pulling together to create volunteer projects, you’ll find you are better able to leverage your resources and increase the overall impact of your efforts…. Team members may be co-located with or in the same vicinity as employees from other United Health Group business units. They may be able to join in company-sponsored events, beyond the team” (www.unitedhealthgroup.com/;).
Save the Children International consists of 30 member organisations working in 120 countries. The organization makes significant use of virtual team volunteers as explained in the following report from the Economist Intelligence Unit “Managing virtual teams: Taking a more strategic approach”:
“People at Save the Children are heavily reliant on virtual teams to get their work done. The London-based charity has offices in over 50 countries and is part of an international alliance of almost 30 Save the Children organisations that fight to protect and promote children’s rights…. The charity’s health team, for example, is made up of researchers and policy advisers in London, as well as project managers and incountry policy advisers in each of the countries in which the charity operates. The charity recently launched its biggest global campaign to date, EVERY ONE. Virtual teams around the globe ensured that branding, messaging, policy calls, information materials, fundraising and campaigning activities were synchronised and launched on time. Virtual teamwork has made Save the Children much more operationally efficient. For example, the speed and reach of new communications mean that project designs, policy strategies or media reports that have worked in one country can easily be shared with another” (http://graphics.eiu.com/upload/eb/NEC_Managing_virtual_teams_WEB.pdf).
Marshall McLuhan, a most quintessential Canadian, coined the famous phrase, ‘The Global Village’. It's conjectured he may have been influenced by the ancient Vedic concept of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” which means, “The world is one family”. Every group that plays Prelude creates its own unique set of iStars, iTags, weTags, and allTags. When these stages, from individual to whole group work, are laid out diagrammatically in an aerial overview, an overall image emerges. This is arrayed like a Mandala, the ancient model still used for meditation today. In Sanskrit, Mandala means, “partaking of essence in the circle”. A mandala is a visual design symbolizing the cosmos. It traditionally features a radial symmetry around four cardinal points. Mandalas have been used as meditation aids within Hindu and Buddhist spiritual practice for thousands of years to the present. Tibetan Buddhism avers that a mandala consists of five facets including teacher, message, audience, site, and time..