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A Harvard Business Review “The Management Tip of the Day” last month was adapted from “To Make Virtual Teams Succeed, Pick the Right Players” by Keith Ferrazzi and was titled, “Virtual Work Isn’t for Everyone.” The Tip highlights six needs for success in virtual teams:

Entrepreneurial Spirit
Initiative
Technical Skills
Self-Sufficiency
Communication Skills
Connection

Our division leader, Dr. Janet Pilcher, often shares her thoughts about these Tips, especially when she finds reason to connect with her team. For this Tip, Pilcher shared:

I found this tip helpful when thinking about our work and teams. I especially focused on the communication item.

HBR

When we have a chance to meet we have opportunities to update each other. When we don’t meet, each of us has the responsibility to update individuals part of their team on their projects. I try to model that behavior. For example, when on site or working from home on a project I send updates to the team on the status…

Pilcher also includes a follow-up with her team by Rounding on each employee; for this Tip, she asked each of us to think about and answer,

What does good communication (as defined in The Tip) look like for me and my work?  Give a project you are working on and identify the members on a team that should be included in a communication correspondence. 

Through our Weekly Rounding process each of us engaged in discussion about “what good communication looks like.”

Key Learning from this Virtual Communication Exercise?

Share a Tip/Research/Resource
Connect Tip to Team/Company/Individual Action
Round on Team to Gain Input
Provide Opportunity for Team to Recognize Successful Communication and Address Areas for Improvement

One might argue this is not so much about “virtual teams” as it is about teams in general. For sure! Our team responses underscored the importance of communicating whether we are working in the office or virtually, for example, “Keep colleagues informed ahead of time and throughout process…,” and “… proactive updates to keep me informed are more meaningful…” or whether we are working with folks within or without the organization, “… it is critical that we all focus on clearly communicating what we intend…”

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Media created using clips from Harvard Business Review website. Copyright © 2014 Harvard Business School Publishing.

Harvard Business Review. (01.10.2014). “Virtual Work Isn’t for Everyone.” The Management Tip of the Day accessed at http://hbr.org/tip/2014/01/10/virtual-work-isnt-for-everyone.

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