Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0201, April 26, 2005 | 7,000 Subscribers..
 

Dear friends,

Virtual teams and the management thereof is an area of increasing concern in organizations and of increasing interest in the minds of facilitators, trainers, and leaders from what I see and hear. This week's article by my friend and associate, Jessica Hartung entitled, "Remote Management Mistakes,"
addresses some of the pitfalls of managing virtual teams. Review this yourself and pass it on to leaders you work with. In these days of increasingly diversified organizations, virtual team leadership is becoming a common skill most leaders shouldn't be without.

Jessica will also be leading a new 5-day teleclass starting June 13th called
Managing People You Rarely See. This teleclass will be of interest to facilitators and leaders working with virtual groups. Check out the details on this class at the bottom of this issue and join us to learn more about the challenges and opportunities of creating a sense of team at a distance.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Six Remote Management Mistakes

Expert Tele-Seminars: Check out our growing collection of pre-recorded expert interviews.

New 5-Day Teleclass: Managing People You Rarely See


Have a great week!

Steve Davis
Publisher

 
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Starts June 13th
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Self-Guided Version
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Self-Guided Version
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d
Group Management Skill


Six Remote Management Mistakes
Know the pitfalls of managing virtual teams and what to do about them.

The Point


How do you manage people you rarely see?

Though the same basic management principles apply to virtual teams that work for "live" teams, we sometimes assume the attitude, "out of sight, out of mind," when it comes to managing people at a distance.
Read about some of the common pitfalls of managing virtual teams below and so that perhaps you won't repeat them.

Application


1. Make them fly across the globe for no good reason. You know the drill: Give up your weekend to fly in on a Sunday for an important meeting on Monday morning. After hours of planes, cabs, and bad hotels you arrive ready for the “big event.” Usually a complete let down. An email with attachments would have sufficed. Where is the value?

Solution: When you are going to bring people together physically, it needs to be worth it. More than just information being conveyed, more than “observing” a company meeting, they need to be having a real experience. Make it worthwhile by giving them time and materials to prepare for the experience. Carefully consider how you are going to ensure that the important conversations you need to have in order to move things forward are actually what happens when folks arrive. Get professional help, such as a trained facilitator, if needed.

2. Focus on marginal projects. What are those folks working on, anyway? Sometimes referred to as visibility. Remotely managed employees often have a harder time navigating their way to the critical path. Even if their work is essential to the organization’s success, it is often not understood.

Solution: One of the most important challenges of managing remotely is identifying and articulating the direct connections between the work of the remote group and critical organizational goals. Once you identify them, repeat ad nauseam until everyone gets it, and then sprinkle periodic reminders in your communications and reports.

3. Pay no attention to cross-cultural communication issues. Because we don’t know what to do about cross-cultural issues, companies often deny their very existence. If they speak English, there are no real issues, right? Obvious cultural issues glare at us over the speakerphone in staff meetings. We tell management about it, but its like yelling down a long tunnel. Nothing happens.

International issues aside, what about company culture—mergers and acquisitions and spin-offs create overnight transitions from start-up to Fortune 500 and back again. With no attention to a corporate culture clash other than to declare, “Get over it.” You can expect internal miscommunication, misinformation and even sabotage to satisfy internally competing agendas.

Solution: Working with a culture rather than against it is the path of least resistance – their resistance to you. Whether or not you agree with their point of view, figure out what is considered important, what worries people, and what are the key current events. Use this information wisely to address the issues they care about when communicating. Additionally, notice the style of communication, collaboration and confrontation used in the culture. Adjust yours accordingly for better results. When you experience resistance of any kind, do research to understand it rather than trying to stamp it out. It will just go underground if you don’t resolve it.

4. Forget basic management practices. Management is supposed to be about removing barriers to performance, getting access to necessary resources, and providing direction. Why do we seem to have amnesia about such basic management concepts when we manage remote workers?

Solution: Imagine that you are working with a team in your office. What would the information flow be like? How would you collaborate and support one another? How would you know what is happening with them? Now, figure out whatever is needed to match that quality of work relationship with remote employees. Your standards need to be just as high. Using a combination of the many mediums available to you, email, fax, phone, FedEx, websites, collaboration tools, webinars, wikkis, and written documentation to create an environment where remote employees have what they need to be successful.

5. Don’t invite remote folks to pivotal meetings that change the company direction. “If we have the director at the meeting, we don’t need to fly in the engineers. They don’t want to be involved at this level.” Its like a Dilbert cartoon come to life. Executives making pivotal decisions that others are required to implement without having asked for input about feasibility, scheduling, resources, etc. The meetings where the “big” decisions are made are not open to those whose daily work lives are impacted the most. Clearly you can’t include everyone, at least have a few representatives from the remote division your are counting on to implement your ideas.


Solution: If you are making pivotal decisions, make sure you have the people in the room who have the technical information to help you make sound decisions. A little involvement up front breaks down many barriers to acceptance. While there are times when you can’t include everyone in major meetings, at least have a few representatives from the remote division if you expect them to implement the ideas.

6. Let them fend for themselves. Good remote employees are self-motivated self-starters. As independent workers they barely need to be managed. Hah! Good people working on the wrong things are of little value.

Solution: Manage from that point of intersection between the individual’s goals, the remote organization’s goals, and the larger corporate goals. If you can’t find a point of intersection, you’ve got bigger problems then this article can help with. Come to a class, or call us.

About the Author: Jessica Hartung is founder of Integrated Work Strategies (IWS) and principal consultant, has spent fifteen years focusing on the relationship between individuals and their work – how business goals can be more successfully achieved while people enjoy the process. Visit her website at www.integratedwork.com.


Action


What challenges have you or your clients had managing virtual teams that aren't included in this list?
Please send us your comments.


Expert Tele-Seminars

One-Hour Micro-Skills Tele-Seminars


Check out our growing collection of pre-recorded, one-hour teleclasses with experts discussing key skill areas important to group workers. Each recording is available in either real-audio or CD format, comes with class notes, and several relevant bonuses. Click here for titles and details.

In the Spotlight


Managing People You Rarely See


5-day Teleclass on the Management and Facilitation of Virtual/Distributed Teams

Unlock the potential of your virtual team as an effective distance manager


The Art of Managing an Outstanding Virtual Team. Managing people from a distance isn’t easy.

Do you need to get rapid results from people collaborating across multiple locations? This class will discuss managing remote relationships and frameworks for successfully managing projects across large distances. There are issues created by the geographic distance between team members. But those issues can be overcome, and in fact, the potential of a distance team to accomplish amazing feats far outweighs any logistical liabilities. Project development teams scattered around the country or around the globe can take advantage of the best scientific minds, technical skills and subject matter experts...if they can manage the remote relationships effectively. This course will build remote management competencies by providing a framework for success and applying it to real-life examples. The course contains consolidated information packed into a one-day format.

Benefits to Participating in the Training:

1. Build group cohesion, avoiding the "us and them" trap
2. Establish communication protocols that work for different organizational cultures
3. Obtain organizational support and resources by creating the connections to larger operational goals
4. Include group members' individual goals to create a shared purpose that increases commitment
5. Build a common language for setting goals and project milestones.
6. Clarify roles, responsibilities, and relationships for increased accountability.
7. Collaborate and learn from a community of your peers, all passionate about building and managing virtual teams.


How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You listen to a 5-hour recorded version of this live teleclass in MP3 or CD formats.
2. You work through a learning guide which accompanies the class as a resource.


Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during this course...

A Virtual Team Orientation

  • Virtual team definitions
  • Learning the most from this teleclass
  • Basic Recommendations for distributed teams
  • Leadership and management shifts required for virtual work

Establishing shared purpose

  • Why is a shared purpose important?
  • How to build shared purpose effectively
  • Leverage the strength of your shared purpose

Building Trust Swiftly

  • Trust and fear in the virtual workplace
  • Techniques to build trust between co-workers
  • Anticipate and avoid “Trust-busters

Promoting Outstanding Communication

  • A closer look at listening
  • The role of conversations in workplace communication
  • Management communication considerations
  • Communication practicalities: time changes, methods, and options
  • Developing your team’s communication protocol

Designing Appropriate Work Processes

  • Tracking work and projects
  • Reporting status and progress
  • Resolving issues before they become a crisis
  • Receiving and processing information

Consciously Creating Group Culture

  • ·Stages of group development applied to virtual teams
  • Results, Recognition and Renewal
  • Evaluating success and learning from experience

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:

1. Free Workbook, ($20 value) to reference and to anchor your learning and facilitate commitment to action.
2. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training ($69 value).
3. Free Articles and Resources ($25 value):

  • Leading Distributed Teams
  • Connective Management
  • Mistakes Virtual Teams Make
  • Top Issues for Managers of Virtual Teams

Pricing...

Self-Guided MP3 version is $79, CD version is $89 including the free items (worth $104) listed above. Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Non-profits can receive a 20% discount. Contact us for registration instructions.


Self-Guided MP3 Version
If you'd like to learn this material at your own pace and on your own schedule, you can purchase the MP3 version of this teleclass complete with the learning guide. You'll be provided with access to recorded offerings of the five-hour teleclass (5 hours total) that you can listen to online and follow along in the learning guide is used in the live class. Click here to purchase for $69.

Self-Guided

Click here to purchase the
MP3 Version for $79


Self-Guided 5-Day CD Version
The Compact Disk (CD) version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with 5 CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen to anywhere you have access to a CD player. Click here to purchase for $79.

Self-Guided
(CD's and MP3 Only)

Click here to purchase the CD Version for $89

plus $4 Shipping and Handling

FacilitatorU.com Membership Option

Become a member of FacilitatorU.com premium member and receive this self-guided teleclass at half price in addition to a host of other items and benefits. An exceptional value. Click here for details.

One-Day Live Version

Interested in a one-day "live" version of this class offered to your group? Email us to discuss options.

Follow up Coaching Available

Please contact us if you're interested in follow up one-on-one or group coaching to help you stay in action on your plan. Free sample sessions availabl


Your instructors

Jessica Hartung, founder of Integrated Work Strategies (IWS) and principal consultant, has spent fifteen years focusing on the relationship between individuals and their work – how business goals can be more successfully achieved while people enjoy the process. She holds a Master of Science in Management from Regis University, a BA in Sociology from the University of Michigan, and is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA). She is a member of the International Coaches Federation, which is recognized nationally for maintaining the highest standards in the coaching profession, as well as the Institute for Management Consultants, part of the global community that certifies management consultants in accordance with international standards. Jessica is included in the National Register's Who's Who in Executives and Professionals, 2004 Edition. Jessica has been active in the Boulder business community, providing volunteer services to assist high school students learning leadership skills in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce.

Steve Davis
, M.A., M.S., is an Facilitator's Coach, Infopreneur, and free-lance human, helping facilitators, organizational leaders, educators, trainers, coaches and consultants present themselves confidently, access their creativity, empower their under-performing groups, enhance their facilitation skills, and build their business online and offline. Steve spends most of his time building and running FacilitatorU.com. He also publishes a weekly ezine for facilitators called, the Master Facilitator Journal, continues to write ebooks, design teleclasses, and maintain a part-time coaching practice. His breadth of experience spans business, corporate management, engineering, teaching, spiritual psychology, and wellness, offering a pragmatic yet creative coaching foundation. To learn more about Steve, visit his website at www.livingmastery.com.


About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this package, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case. This policy completely removes the buying risk for you and keeps our customer-satisfaction rates extremely high.

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