When your team is all over the world instead of in one building, different rules apply.
Nuala Dent's insight:
This article posits that working 'virtually' amplifies the unspoken. So, clarity of roles and task become more important in this space. Consistent and reliable engagement may assist in the development of trust among co-workers.
Communication is always a challenge, especially in multinational corporations. Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind discuss why it makes sense to adopt the principles of face-to-face conversation in organizational communication.
Nuala Dent's insight:
One of the four dimensions of communication - intimacy is based on trust. Thinking about how to develop trust in virtual groups.
"Among the three trust frameworks currently available, an intriguing one is the “Respect Trust Framework”. The idea of this framework is to not only establish a digital identity, but also to provide individuals control over ownership and sharing of their data on the internet. The key to the framework is the use of a crowd-sourced, peer-to-peer reputation system. It’s really very simple – people can vouch for you (for example, say “I vouch for John Smith’s innovativeness”), or complain about you (“I complain about John Smith’s stubbornness”). Similarly to eBay’s reputation system, the peer-to-peer reputation system grows over time, and the more vouches and complaints about a particular person, the more precise the information is and therefore the trust level in this person increases or decreases.
News, style and advice for professional women through the filter of success (RT @DBCDEgov: Report: flexible work from home policies retain employees, save $22K/yr hiring costs, via @WomensAgenda: http://t.co/8jmIuycxuh...
How are workers currently using social tools? Mostly for internal collaboration, according to an Ipsos study commissioned by Microsoft to survey 9,908 global information workers about how they use social tools to get work done, available at The Worldwide Watercooler.
If estimates from the Telework Research Network are correct, there’s a good chance that as you read this paper, you are sitting in your home office, catching up on some reading on your designated telework day. According to the network, regular telecommuting grew by 61 percent between 2005 and 2009, and based on current trends, the organization estimates that the number of telecommuting workers will grow to nearly five million by 2016—a 69 percent increase (Lister & Harnish, 2011).
With the growth of telework—increasingly called virtual work—is the inevitable growth of virtual teams, groups of people who are geographically dispersed but who work together virtually through the use of technology such as teleconferencing and videoconferencing, e-mails, text messages and telephone. Today, you would be hard pressed to find an organization that doesn’t have one or more virtual workers and virtual teams.
Not surprisingly, participation in and management of virtual teams comes with its own unique challenges and opportunities. This white paper will explore virtual teams, their benefits and challenges to organizations, and will outline the three key steps that HR and talent management professionals can follow to ensure that virtual team members and leaders in their organizations have the skills, competencies and tools needed to succeed. These important steps are:
- Participate in the selection process of virtual team members and leaders.
- Ensure for the appropriate selection, training and use of virtual team technologies.
So why don't leaders trust the concept of a virtual workplace? I think it's because they hold hidden (and in many cases, invalid) assumptions that guide their behavior and shape their attitudes toward virtual work. When assumptions stay hidden, they can't be validated or explored. The result: Senior leaders approach virtual work with a skeptical eye, making it almost impossible for virtual teams to live up to expectations.
Here are some of the big hidden assumptions from a virtual leader's point of view, which if not acknowledged and discussed, can bring the progress of a virtual team to a screeching halt - that is, if it's ever allowed to get off the ground.
People have to set aside their egos, trust one another, and share their expertise willingly. In a virtual workplace, collaboration can be all the more difficult to attain, especially when team members work for different companies, are essentially strangers to one another, and have different cultural and professional backgrounds
Robin Good: The Institute for the Future and the University of Phoenix have teamed up to produce, this past spring, an interesting report entitled Future Work Skills 2020.
By looking at the set of emerging skills that this research identifies as vital for future workers, I can't avoid but recognize the very skillset needed by any professional curator or newsmaster.
It should only come as a limited surprise to realize that in an information economy, the most valuable skills are those that can harness that primary resource, "information", in new, and immediately useful ways.
And being the nature of information like water, which can adapt and flow depending on context, the task of the curator is one of seeing beyond the water,
to the unique rare fish swimming through it.
The curator's key talent being the one of recognizing that depending on who you are fishing for, the kind of fish you and other curators could see within the same water pool, may be very different.
Here the skills that information-fishermen of the future will need the most:
ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
2) Social intelligence:
ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
3) Novel and adaptive thinking:
proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
4) Cross-cultural competency:
ability to operate in different cultural settings
5) Computational thinking:
ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
6) New media literacy:
ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
8) Design mindset:
ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
9) Cognitive load management:
ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
10) Virtual collaboration:
ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team
In 2009, Cisco CEO John Chambers asserted that “the face-to-face meeting is a dinosaur,” and he demonstrated his point in aTelepresence-enabled company meeting from Bangalore, India with his fellow executive, Marthin de Beer, in San Jose, California.
Marisa Mayer of Yahoo seems not to agree with Chambers’ premise.
Her highly-publicized decision to require remote workers to work on-site every day in Yahoo offices received mixed reviews from advocates of flexible work practices such as ROWE (Results-Only Work Environment).
Mayer argued that co-location will enable Yahoos to more effectively collaborate and innovate.
-*What is the evidence for – or against – her assertion?
IT WAS not the Christmas present that Julie Babikan had been hoping for. In December 2008, soon after buying a house, she was abruptly fired from her job as a graphic designer at an accounting firm in Chicago. “I had no clue that my position was about to be eliminated,” she recalls. Desperate to find work as the economy tipped into chaos, Ms Babikan scoured job ads to no avail. Eventually she decided to advertise for work on a service called Elance, which allows freelancers to bid for corporate piecework. She has since built up a healthy stream of online projects and reckons she will soon be earning more than she did in her previous job.
Like Ms Babikan, millions of workers are embracing freelancing as an alternative to full-time employment or because they cannot find salaried jobs. According to IDC, a market-research firm, there were around 12m full-time, home-based freelancers and independent contractors in America alone at the end of last year and there will be 14m by 2015. Experts reckon this number will keep rising for several reasons, including a sluggish jobs market and workers' growing desire for the flexibility to be able to look after parents or children.
The concept of virtual work has many names, from telecommuting and teleworking to distributed companies and remote workers. And virtual companies can be structured in several ways: 1. Lead a distributed workforce, ...
Although research has begun to examine impacts from employee work modes such as teleworking, studies to date have overlooked the impact that managers who work away from the office might have on subordinates. Using a large dataset (N = 11,059), this study therefore compares three managerial work modes (traditional, telework, virtual work), to investigate differences in subordinate work experiences and outcomes. Results suggest that in comparison to subordinates with managers in a traditional work mode, work experiences and outcomes are generally less positive for subordinates with teleworking managers who spend a portion of the week away from the office, and they are lower as well for subordinates with virtual managers who are away from the office full time. These results differ based on the subordinate’s own work mode and are modest in magnitude. This study suggests a need for further investigation into the effects of managerial work modes on subordinate experiences and outcomes.
“If we are to enjoy the efficiencies and other benefits of the virtual organization, we will have to rediscover how to run organizations based more on trust than on control. Virtuality requires trust to make it work: Technology on its own is not enough.” Charles Handy
Technology isn’t enough if you want a high performance virtual team. As Charles Handy says in the statement above, you need trust. And just when you need trust even more than when you are face-to-face, you find that trust is more difficult to establish from a distance.
Trust develops over time with interactions which lets people know one another, find out what things they have in common, and lets them learn what to expect from each other. Nothing breaks trust more quickly than failure to meet each other’s expectations.
So what can you do to promote trust when your team is not all in one location? What makes the difference? Here are six things you can do to promote trust in your virtual team.
Go into most companies these days and you’ll witness hand wringing around the complexities of managing a virtual workforce. Studies show that 80 percent of managers deal with dispersed teams, which may include managing people in remote locations, other countries, or in home-based offices. (When you factor in our dependence on consultants and cross-functional teams, my guess is that nearly all managers are leading virtually in some fashion.)
We’re doing it, but we don’t like it. Fifty-seven percent of managers say trust is a challenge with a virtual workforce, followed by communications, managing projects, and creating consensus. Virtual managers often say it’s simply harder and more time consuming to manage when the team isn’t in front of them.
We now have a good decade of studies showing what works well in virtual management, and what falls short. The toughest challenges are always communications and trust, so if you want your virtual team to hum, here are some best practices to keep in mind.
Tony Martins at Cyber Supply Chain published a very interesting blog over the weekend titled “The post-S&OP era – Managing in NOW mode” that explores the need and nature for more responsive and timely processes.
I agree very much with most of Tony’s perspective, but there are areas where I think the argument can be taken further, particularly in the understanding of the nature of the problem – which is complex – and the manner in which we can promote better resolution – through cross-functional collaboration. I very much encourage you to read Tony’s blog before continuing to read mine.
Tony’s Key Points
This whole thing is so 1990′s and yet so many people are still doing it. I’ve actually been in places that when I propose a completely different approach, I’m told “well that’s not proper supply chain management”.
Yes, I agree, and the reason being that people have defined an approach and processes to S&OP, and, more broadly, to Supply Chain Planning, based upon the technology that was available at the time these concepts were developed over 30 years ago. This required a reductionist approach of pulling the problem apart and focusing on functional skills such as demand planning, or inventory planning, etc. Nothing exemplifies this backward approach better than the 5 stage sequential S&OP process advocated by many experts in the field.
The problem is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, and an approach that starts from the perspective that the whole is the sum of the parts will never get us to a new level of capability and productivity.
It’s almost as if a whole lot of people – senior Executives no less – believe that the world is on ‘pause’ while all this data is being processed. That, of course, isn’t the case and I am sure these Executives don’t think so either. And yet, they still think this is a good way to manage supply chains.
The essential issue is that people believe in ‘stability’, and that they can impose it on a supply chain. As engineers – and most people in supply chain management today are engineers – we are taught to be deductive thinkers and our value is measured by how much we can pull apart a problem and devise an optimum solution. We feel threatened when we cannot reduce the problem to a set of known equations that can be solved and optimized.
The problem is that the world is messy (stochastic) and we have to make gross simplifying assumptions based upon very uncertain information – the demand forecast, and the supply forecast for that matter – so our optimum is not so optimal after all. In addition we way over-estimate the half-life of our (less than) optimal solution.
The core concept of NOW Management, as I call it, is that things change because specific disruptive events occur. If you made a plan, the plan continues to be good for a while until there is a disruptive event.
…, if Demand is changing, it can only be because of disruptive events – current events or future events.
You’ll have to allow me some disagreement. It’s not that I disagree with the fact that there are disruptive events, but rather that I want to challenge the implicit assumption in Tony’s statement that the plan – both demand and supply – was correct in the first place.
Terra Technologies published a survey of demand planning capabilities in 2011 that focused principally on Consumer Goods companies, which, for obvious reasons, have always been at the forefront of demand planning. The results of the study show that most companies achieve a weekly MAPE of 48%, meaning the forecast accuracy is only 52%. Anecdotal evidence from High-Tech suggests that the forecast error of supply lead time lag, is typically about 70% and Industrial companies cannot predict their forecast much better.
The problem is that since the supply plan aims to fulfill the demand plan, how optimal can the supply plan ever be? Not very is my answer. So the real issue is that as time progresses, we learn more and more about the true demand – which is not a disruption at all – and need to adjust very quickly to true demand.
As a consequence, my toes curl every time I hear that a company is using Plan Conformance as a KPI to measure the performance of their supply chain. Really? The plan is ‘wrong’ and you are going to force your supply chain to deliver an incorrect plan?
Supply Chain Management in NOW mode can best be done (and I suggest that it can only be done) using social networking. I have written extensively about the power of Spontaneous Association to react to unexpected events at great speed, using the skills of qualified individuals in a dynamic, virtual network.
I mostly agree that it is the social aspect that is missing in our current deductive view of supply chain planning and management. I also agree very strongly that the only way to solve issues is through dynamic, virtual networks. Collaboration has been a hot topic, and much abused topic, for some time. More on this later.
And yet, it is not enough to let things happen spontaneously, as they do in the consumer world of social networks. We need a little more control than that, but not a huge amount, that is based upon the concept of Responsibilities or ‘directed’ interactions. We definitely do not need something as rigid as a predefined business process orchestrated by a BPM tool. A much richer construct than social networks is Dynamic, Advanced, or Adaptive Case Management, which is implied, but not stated explicitly, in the process described by Tony to support NOW mode.
I’d like to suggest an alternative process that encapsulates the process he recommends.
Monitor the supply chain constantly to detect significant changes – which includes disruptive events – constantly based on predefined thresholds.Direct an alert to the person responsible for the event and create a case file, what Tony calls posting.Determine if the event has significant business impacts on other parts of the supply chain.Direct alerts based upon the business impacts of the event to as many people as necessary notifying them of the case that has been opened.Short term actions, governed by longer term operational and financial objectives, are identified and tested in what-if scenarios to determine the likely operational and financial impacts of these changes.If the impacts of changes mean that other people need to be involved – which is determined through Responsibilities – they will be invited to participate in the case, while others who have filled their tasks may be pruned.Then, other actions are taken to re-plan activities affected by the disruption.From drawing up action plans, people naturally evolve to executing those actions until the situation stabilizes.Since inevitably some trade-offs will need to be made between KPIs, a voting structure and approval process is required to govern the promotion of an action plan to execution.
Where Complexity Shines
In essence, if we adopt the process above, we end up with the Cynefin Framework combining aspect in the Known, Knowable, and Complex quadrants, with the express hope of avoiding the Chaos quadrant.
Business as usual” is a thing of the past – today’s leaders cannot ignore the virtual environment that is increasingly more prevalent. By embracing the benefits that come with virtual collaboration it is critically important that leaders and managers understand the challenges they will face and take steps to ensure successful virtual teams.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.