Virtual Teams For Dummies

Virtual Teams For Dummies

by Tara Powers


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Set your virtual team on a path to success

In the global marketplace, people can work practically anywhere and anytime. Virtual teams cut across the boundaries of time, space, culture, and sometimes even organizations. Rising costs, global locations, and advances in technology are top reasons why virtual teams have increased by 800 percent over the past 5 years.

Packed with solid advice, interviews and case studies from well-known companies who are already using virtual teams in their business model and their lessons learned, Virtual Teams For Dummies provides rock-solid guidance on the essentials for building, leading, and sustaining a highly productive virtual workforce. It helps executives understand key support strategies that lead virtual teams to success and provides practical information and tools to help leaders and their teams bridge the communication gaps created by geographical separation—and achieve peak performance.

  • Includes research findings based on a year-long study on the effectiveness of virtual teams
  • Mindset and skill shift for managers from old school traditional team management to virtual team management
  • Covers the communication and relationship strategies for virtual teams
  • Examines how the frequency of in-person meetings affects a remote team’s success

Written by an award-winning leadership expert, this book is your one-stop resource on creating and sustaining a successful virtual team.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119453802
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 07/31/2018
Series: For Dummies Books
Pages: 368
Product dimensions: 7.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

A 20-year talent development professional,Tara Powers is an international best-selling author, award-winning leadership expert, and sought-after keynote speaker. She's worked with more than 200 companies and 15,000 leaders worldwide, building and launching talent initiatives that deliver high touch and high impact for her clients.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 3

Icons Used in This Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part 1: Getting Started with Virtual Teams 5

Chapter 1: The Big Picture of Virtual Teams 7

Embracing the New Virtual Team Reality 8

Why virtual teams are rapidly growing 8

Globalization effect 9

Generational worker shift 11

Sorting Out Virtual Team Concepts 11

Understanding the Benefits and Challenges 12

Noting virtual benefits 13

Considering virtual drawbacks 14

Jumping into the Virtual Workforce 16

Having the right environment 16

Maintaining balance and focus 16

Building community 16

Connecting using collaborative technology 17

Appreciating team culture 18

Practicing emotional intelligence 18

Assembling a Virtual Team 18

Managing a Virtual Team 19

Chapter 2: Envisioning Virtual Teams in Your Business 23

Contemplating Using Virtual Teams 24

Thinking about these key factors 25

Embracing the challenges: The five flaws of virtual teams 27

Deciding Whether Virtual Teams Make Good Business Sense 29

Finding a place for virtual teams 30

Counting the real ROI savings 31

Winning the recruitment and retention war 32

Impacting the environment 33

Deciding on Your Plan 34

Defining purpose and goals 34

Figuring out the roles to fill 35

Communicating about virtual team adoption 37

Setting Up Your Virtual Team for Success 38

Having the right resources in place 38

Arranging your remote office 39

Establishing communication expectations 39

Paying Attention to What You Need 40

Size matters: small versus large teams 40

Choosing the right technology 41

Creating Connection and Community 41

Connecting your virtual team to the larger organization 42

Connecting virtual team members to each other 42

Fighting isolationism on your virtual team 43

Chapter 3: Preparing for Your Career as a Virtual Team Member 45

Deciding If Working Virtually Is Right for You 46

Eyeing why virtual work is so attractive 46

Recognizing the personal impacts of working virtually 48

Predicting whether you’ll excel as a virtual team member 50

Assessing your skills for virtual freelance work 52

Proposing Virtual Work to Your Boss and Teammates 52

Preparing your proposal 52

Focusing on the benefits 56

Addressing key concerns 58

Determining Whether You Have a Workspace That Works 60

Working from home 61

Considering hoteling 62

Becoming a globe-trotter 65

Creating Your Remote Worker Brand 66

Reworking your resume 66

Building your portfolio 67

Establishing your online presence 68

Keeping current on the latest communication and collaboration tools 69

Shopping for virtual worker–friendly clientele 70

Focusing on healthy work-life balance 71

Part 2: Building a Strong Virtual Team 73

Chapter 4: Planning Ahead for Your Team’s Success 75

Defining Your Team Purpose 76

Aligning with company vision and values 76

Communicating why your team exists 78

Having clarity around team priorities 80

Considering what you want your team to be known for 81

Choosing a Team Framework 82

Using a framework that builds trust and mutual respect 82

Letting your team decide 85

Establishing Team Goals: What Does Success Look Like? 85

Aligning virtual team goals with company goals 86

Setting goals that are motivating, inspiring, and purposeful 87

Understanding what resources are needed to achieve team goals 88

Determining Team Member Roles 89

Ensuring team members understand their roles and why they’re important 90

Incorporating systems thinking to support how your team works together 91

Chapter 5: Finding and Hiring the Right People 93

Attracting Your Virtual Team Talent 94

Making your business attractive to teleworkers 95

Composing virtual worker–friendly job ads 95

Recruiting 0nline 96

Hiring Based on Skill, Behavior, and Fit 97

Hiring for skill 98

Hiring for behavioral competencies and interests 98

Hiring for cultural fit 100

Seeking Out the Right Qualities in Virtual Team Members 101

Determine whether they’re self-directed 102

Be on the lookout for strong communication skills 102

Specify the importance of engagement 103

Holding the Candidate Interview 105

Preparing for the interview 105

Knowing what and what not to ask 105

Discussing your expectations and theirs up front 107

Evaluating responses 108

Checking Out the Past 109

Reviewing work samples 109

Contacting references 109

Making an Offer 110

Chapter 6: Contracting with Contract Workers 113

Deciding Whether You Need a Contract 114

Differentiating between an employee and independent contractor 114

Figuring out a worker’s status if you still aren’t sure 116

Choosing to Work with an IC: What You Need to Do 116

Checking credentials 117

Keeping records 117

Knowing what to include in a contract 118

Specifying compensation 119

Understanding insurance requirements for ICs 120

Clarifying contractor status 120

Requiring a Nondisclosure Agreement (NDA) or Not 121

Navigating the Legalities of Noncompete Agreements 122

Chapter 7: Structuring and Assembling Your Team 123

Organizing Your Team the Smart Way 124

How teams are structured 124

The importance of frameworks 125

Focusing on the Onboarding Process 125

Creating an onboarding process that works for your team 126

Using the buddy system 128

Focusing on the first 90 days 130

Establishing Team Values as Your Bumper Rails 132

Defining your team values 132

Living your team values 135

Identifying Team Traits That Build Cohesiveness 137

Having clear expectations for success 137

Getting real with feedback and accountability 138

Rotating leadership 140

Part 3: Creating and Nurturing a Productive Team Culture 143

Chapter 8: Making Work Culture Considerations 145

Grasping Why Company Culture Is Key 146

Recognizing toxic cultures and the mess they create 147

Identifying a healthy culture and how to build one that thrives 149

Taking Note of Your Existing Organizational Culture 150

Commanding culture 151

Energizing culture 152

Supportive culture 152

Analytical culture 152

Deciding What You Want Your Culture to Be 153

Building and Maintaining the Culture You Want 155

Establishing principles to guide mindset and behavior 155

Putting the right HR policies in place 156

Pinpointing culture champions 157

Noting the Benefits and Challenges of a Cross-Cultural Team 158

Benefits of a cross-cultural team 159

Challenges of a cross-cultural team 160

Chapter 9: Managing Differences in Gender, Generation, and Culture 161

Managing Gender Differences 162

Recognizing gender benefits 162

Eradicating gender bias 163

Connecting with the Generations on Your Team 165

Working with all generations 165

Tapping the power of baby boomers 166

Redirecting Generation X 166

Tuning in to the high-tech Millennial 167

Meeting the new kids on the block: Generation Z 168

Building Your Cultural Intelligence 168

Getting to know your team members 169

Sharing culture norms 170

Practicing cultural sensitivity 171

Offering cross-cultural training 173

Chapter 10: Transitioning from Old-School Manager to Virtual Team Leader 175

Recognizing Which Leadership Style Works Best 176

Examining what makes virtual team leaders succeed 176

Determining if you’re a micromanager, coach, or hands-off manager 179

Comparing control-based and trust-based leadership 181

Playing in Your Sandbox 183

Pushing the boundaries of culture and C-level expectations 183

Knowing when to manage up 184

Recognizing Common Virtual Team Issues 185

Poor communication 186

Lack of clarity, direction, and priorities 186

Loss of team spirit and morale 187

Lack of trust 187

Lack of social interaction 187

Tech issues 188

Cultural clashes 188

Part 4: Getting Your Team Rolling 189

Chapter 11: Establishing Best Practices of Engagement 191

Addressing Personal Disengagement 192

Having a Meaningful Team Purpose 193

Clarifying the why and how team members contribute 194

Identifying values on your virtual team 195

Recognizing virtual values 196

Using Clear Goals and Expectations to Build Engagement 197

Building Your Road Map Together with Team Agreements 198

Understanding the top areas to cover in your team agreements 198

Building your agreement virtually 199

Conducting Virtual Meetings That Have an Impact 201

Ensuring full participation and engagement 202

Managing tech issues 203

Practicing Virtual Meeting Etiquette 205

Chapter 12: Building Trust and Rapport 207

Getting Started: What You Can Do to Build (or Repair) Trust 208

Tallying the Leadership Trust Scorecard 210

Setting the stage for trust to exist 211

Practicing behaviors that build cohesiveness 212

Leveraging Team Member Strengths 215

Discover your own strengths first 216

Recognize the strengths of team members 216

Create opportunity for people to work on a project together 216

Making Respect a Nonnegotiable 217

Act as if you’re all virtual 217

Gain understanding from each other 217

Discourage cliques 217

Address mistakes together 218

Practicing Cultural Appreciation on Global Teams 218

Giving Team Members Face Time 219

Recognizing the importance of “in real life” (IRL) meetings 220

Getting up to speed on IRL best practices 221

Creating a Connection Culture That Transforms Trust 223

Chapter 13: Adopting Best Practices in Communication 225

Identifying Four Components to Transform Your Communications 226

Looking Closer at Text-Only Communication 228

Examining the pros 228

Considering the cons 229

Using text-only communication effectively 230

Providing Consistent and Frequent Feedback 231

Establishing clear expectations 231

Recognizing the importance of two-way feedback and performance discussions 232

Giving feedback: The how-to 233

Shifting focus from individual accountability to team accountability 234

Establishing Best Practices with Communication Agreements 235

Choosing appropriate communication methods 235

Agreeing on expected response times 235

Setting the rules for handling conflicts 238

Choosing a problem-solving model 238

Agreeing on a process for communicating outside the team 239

Putting together your plan 240

Establishing standards for meeting participation 241

Utilizing the DISC Assessment Tool 242

Chapter 14: Measuring Virtual Team and Team Member Success 245

Tracking Virtual Team Success 246

Knowing what to track 247

Recognizing the importance of tools when tracking 247

Using data to coach your team members 248

Measuring Data That Matters 249

Looking at the results from an executive point of view 249

Interpreting performance from a virtual team leader perspective 249

Evaluating performance as a virtual team member 250

Recognizing the Engagement Levels of Your Team Members 251

Chapter 15: Training Your Virtual Team 253

Training during the First 90 Days 254

Assigning a mentor to instill culture 255

Utilizing communication tools for training 255

Sharing information about your company 256

Being organized and following up 256

Keeping Your Team Members on Top of Their Game with Ongoing Training 257

Using online training 258

Paying attention to trends and practicing innovation: VR and AR 259

Using teach-backs to build cohesion and advance understanding and mastery 260

Evaluating training effectiveness 260

Supporting team members who are struggling 262

Tackling technology issues 263

Training Your Veteran Team Members 263

Chapter 16: Checking All Things Technology: What You Need to Know 265

Assessing the Right Fit for Your Team 266

Focus on the problem, not the technology 266

Avoid jumping on the latest trendy tool 267

Make a checklist of features 268

Go with tools that your team loves 269

Include your IT department or tech guru in your decision 269

Choosing Only the Essential Tools Your Team Needs 271

Collaboration suites 272

Project management tracking 272

Workflow management and time tracking 273

Shared calendars 273

Meeting tools 274

Flash polling 274

Brainstorming 274

Social media 275

File sharing 275

Cloud collaboration 275

Mobile options 276

Videoconferencing 276

Chat and instant messaging 276

Training Team Members for Success 276

Using mentoring to help virtual team members get up to speed 277

Introducing tools strategically 277

Chapter 17: Rolling with the Changes 281

Adjusting to Shifts in Team Membership 281

Boosting emotional resilience 282

Using consistent communication to get on track quickly 283

Regrouping around team goals, values, and priorities 284

Building Relationships as a New Leader 284

Onboarding strategies for a new leader 285

Sharing cultural norms and styles 285

Getting on Board with a New Team Goal 286

Discussing the why 286

Acknowledging successes and letting go 287

Grounding Your Team after a Reorganization 287

Recognizing the stages of change 288

Practicing empathy and understanding 288

Part 5: Best Practices in Managing Your Virtual Team 293

Chapter 18: Leading by Example 295

Building a Connection Culture 295

Being a leader your team wants to follow 296

Getting to know your team members 296

Reaching out and building rapport 298

Focusing On a Healthy Lifestyle 300

Staying healthy when working virtually 300

Starting your team wellness 301

Maintaining boundaries 302

Discovering Your Legacy 303

Figuring out your legacy 303

Leading authentically: The how-to 304

Chapter 19: Understanding What Drives Motivation 305

Differentiating between Engaged and Passionate Team Members 306

Creating a Passionate Team 307

The need to be respected 307

The need to learn and grow 308

The need to be an insider 309

The need to do meaningful work 310

The need to be on a winning team 310

Using Positive Psychology to Create a Motivational Team Environment 312

Understanding what really motivates people 312

Using recognition as a powerful motivational technique 314

Chapter 20: Managing Workflow and Execution 319

Starting Off on the Right Foot 319

Clarifying How Work Flows through the Team 320

Deciding on meeting formats to stay up-to-date 321

Establishing communication guidelines 322

Choosing the right collaborative tracking tools for your team 322

Delegating Effectively to Your Virtual Team 322

Eyeing the benefits to letting go 323

Understanding why delegation fails: Leaders don’t let go 323

Trusting in the process 324

Holding team members accountable for deliverables 325

Knowing How to Communicate Externally

Regarding Team Progress 325

Part 6: The Part of Tens 327

Chapter 21: Ten Predictors of Virtual Team Success 329

Having the Right Technology 329

Hiring the Right Team Leader 330

Hiring the Right Team Members 330

Establishing Clear Team Vision and Values 331

Aligning Team Goals with Company Goals 331

Having a Solid Team Agreement in Place 332

Using a Communication Strategy 332

Agreeing on a Process for Team Workflow 333

Using an Onboarding Strategy for New Team Members 333

Actively Managing Executive Perceptions 333

Chapter 22: Ten Signs Your Organization Is Ready for Virtual Teams 335

Having Champions on the Executive Team 336

Having Empowered Leaders 336

Leveraging a Supportive Culture 336

Willing to Invest in Technology 337

Addressing Issues Early 337

Being Prepared for the Logistical Set Up 337

Keeping the Team Focused 338

Using an Onboarding Process 338

Training Virtual Team Leaders 338

Having a Clear Idea of Roles and Responsibilities 339

Index 341

Customer Reviews