write two or three short paragraphs for EACH reading with an insightful and critical thinking reference related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams and/or the academic practical learning content

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write two or three short paragraphs for EACH reading with an insightful and critical thinking reference related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams and/or the academic practical learning content reviewed through the books and readings of this class.

write two or three short paragraphs for EACH reading with an insightful and critical thinking reference related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams and/or the academic practical learning content
LEADING TEAMSMaking Virtual Teams Work: Ten Basic Principles by Michael D. Watkins JUNE , 0 Consider this now familiar view from the field: ve run a virtual team for the past 18 months in the development and launch of [a website.] I am located in Toronto, Canada. The website was designed in Zagreb, Croatia. The software was developed in St. Joh s, Newfoundland; Zagreb, Croatia; Delhi, India; and Los Angeles, USA. Most of the communication was via email with periodic discussions via Skype. I had one face-to-face meeting with the team lead for the technology development this past December Could this be you? Virtual teams have become a fact of business life, so what does it take to makethem work effectively? On June 10, 2013, I launched a discussion around this question on LinkedIn. The result was an outpouring of experience and advice for making virtual teams work. (I define “virtual teams” as work groups which (1) have some core members who interact primarily through electronic means, and (2) are engaged in interdependent tasks i.e. are truly teams and not just groups of independent workers). I distilled the results and combined them with my own work, which focuses on how new leaders should assess and align their teams in their first 90 days. Because tha s really when i s most important to lay the foundation for superior performance in teams virtual or otherwise. Here are ten basic principles for making this happen: 1. Get the team together physically early-on. It may seem paradoxical to say in a post on virtual teams, but face-to-face communication is still better than virtual when it comes to building relationships and fostering trust, an essential foundation for effective team work. If you ca t do it, i s not the end of the world (focus on doing some virtual team building). But if you can get the team together, use the time to help team members get to know each other better, personally and professionally, as well to create a shared vision and a set of guiding principles for how the team will COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. work. Schedule the in-person meeting early on, and reconnect regularly (semi-annually or annually) if possible. 2. Clarify tasks and processes, not just goals and roles. All new leaders need to align their team on goals, roles and responsibilities in the first 90 days. With virtual teams, however, coordination is inherently more of a challenge because people are not co-located. So i s important to focus more attention on the details of task design and the processes that will be used to complete them. Simplify the work to the greatest extent possible, ideally so tasks are assigned to sub-groups of two or three team members. And make sure that there is clarity about work process, with specifics about who does what and when. Then periodically do “after-action reviews” to evaluate how things are going and identify process adjustments and training needs. 3. Commit to a communication charter. Communication on virtual teams is often less frequent, and always is less rich than face-to-face interaction, which provides more contextual cues and information about emotional states such as engagement or lack thereof. The only way to avoid the pitfalls is to be extremely clear and disciplined about how the team will communicate. Create a charter that establishes norms of behavior when participating in virtual meetings, such as limiting background noise and side conversations, talking clearly and at a reasonable pace, listening attentively and not dominating the conversation, and so on. The charter also should include guidelines on which communication modes to use in which circumstances, for example when to reply via email versus picking up the phone versus taking the time to create and share a document. 4. Leverage the best communication technologies. Developments in collaborative technologies ranging from shared workspaces to multi-point video conferencing unquestionably are making virtual teaming easier. However, selecting the “best” technologies does not necessarily mean going with the newest or most feature-laden. I s essential not to sacrifice reliability in a quest to be on the cutting edge. If the team has to struggle to get connected or wastes time making elements of the collaboration suite work, it undermines the whole endeavor. So err on the side of robustness. Also be willing to sacrifice some features in the name of having everyone on the same systems. Otherwise, you risk creating second-class team members and undermining effectiveness. 5. Build a team with rhythm. When some or all the members of a team are working separately, i s all- too-easy to get disconnected from the normal rhythms of work life. One antidote is to be disciplined in creating and enforcing rhythms in virtual team work. This means, for example, having regular meetings, ideally same day and time each week. It also means establishing and sharing meeting agenda in advance, having clear agreements on communication protocols, and starting and finishing on time. If you have team members working in different time zones, do t place all the time-zone burden on some team members; rather, establish a regular rotation of meeting times to spread the load equitably. 6. Agree on a shared language. Virtual teams often also are cross-cultural teams, and this magnifies the communication challenges especially when members think they are speaking the same COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. language, but actually are not. The playwright George Bernard Shaw famously described Americansand the British as “two nations divided by a common language.” His quip captures the challenge ofsustaining shared understanding across cultures. When the domain of team work is technical, then the languages of science and engineering often provide a solid foundation for effective communication. However, when teams work on tasks involving more ambiguity, for example generating ideas or solving problems, the potential for divergent interpretations is a real danger (see for example this Anglo-Dutch translation guide ). Take the time to explicitly negotiate agreement on shared interpretations of important words and phrases, for example, when we say “yes,” we mea and when we say “no” we mea and post this in the shared workspace. 7. Create a “virtual water cooler.” The image of co-workers gathering around a water cooler is a metaphor for informal interactions that share information and reinforce social bonds. Absent explicit efforts to create a “virtual water cooler,” team meetings tend to become very task-focused; this means important information may not be shared and team cohesion may weaken. One simple way to avoid this: start each meeting with a check-in, having each member take a couple of minutes to discuss what they are doing, wha s going well and wha s challenging. Regular virtual team-buildingexercises are another way to inject a bit more fun into the proceedings. Also enterprise collaboration platforms increasingly are combining shared workspaces with social networking features that can help team members to feel more connected. 8. Clarify and track commitments. In a classic HBR article “Management Time, Wh s got the Monkey ?” William Oncken and Donald L. Wass use the who-has-the-monkey-on-their-back metaphor to exhort leaders to push accountability down to their teams. When teams work remotely, however, i s inherently more d cult to do this, because there is no easy way to observe engagement and productivity. As above, this can be partly addressed by carefully designing tasks and having regular status meetings. Beyond that, it helps to be explicit in getting team members to commit to define intermediate milestones and track their progress. One useful tool: a “deliverables dashboard” that is visible to all team members on whatever collaborative hub they are using. If you create this, though, take care not to end up practicing virtual micro-management. There is a fine line between appropriate tracking of commitments and overbearing (and demotivating) oversight. 9. Foster shared leadership. Defining deliverables and tracking commitments provides “push” to keep team members focused and productive; shared leadership provides crucial “pull.” Find ways to involve others in leading the team. Examples include: assigning responsibility for special projects, such as identifying and sharing best practices; or getting members to coach others in their areas of expertise; or assigning them as mentors to help on-board new team members; or asking them to run a virtual team-building exercise. By sharing leadership, you will not only increase engagement, but will also take some of the burden off your shoulders. 10. Do t forget the 1:1s. Leader one-to-one performance management and coaching interactions with their team members are a fundamental part of making any team work. Make these interactions a regular part of the virtual team rhythm, using them not only to check status and provide feedback, 4 COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. but to keep members connected to the vision and to highlight their part of “the story” of what youare doing together. Finally, if you are inheriting a team, take the time to understand how your predecessor led it. I s essential that newly appointed leaders do this, whether their teams are virtual or not. Because, as Confucius put it, you must “study the past if you would define the future.” I s even more important to do this homework when you inherit a virtual team, because the structures and processes used to manage communication and coordinate work have such an inordinate impact on team performance. You can use these ten principles as a checklist for diagnosing how the previous leader ran the team, and help identify and prioritize what you need to do in the first 90 days. Michael D. Watkins is a professor at IMD, a cofounder of Genesis Advisers , and the author of The First 90 Days (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013). 5 COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2013Harvard Business Publishing. AllRights Reserved. Additional restrictions may apply including theuse ofthis content asassigned coursematerial. Pleaseconsult your institution’s librarianaboutanyrestrictions thatmight applyunder thelicense withyour institution. Formore information andteaching resources fromHarvard Business Publishing including HarvardBusiness SchoolCases,eLearning products,andbusiness simulations please visithbsp.harvard.edu.
write two or three short paragraphs for EACH reading with an insightful and critical thinking reference related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams and/or the academic practical learning content
COLLABORATIONHow Successful Virtual Teams Collaborate by Keith Ferrazzi OCTOBER , 0 I have worked on many teams in which we dutifully did our jobs, and the group fu lled its objectives. And then I have worked on other teams in which everyone energetically collaborated with one another, and the results were spectacular. Not only did we surpass our goals, we also thoroughly enjoyed and ben ted from that process as individuals. In other words, ther s a world of d erence between merely working together and truly collaborating with one another. Collaborative activity is the “secret sauce” that enables teams to come up with innovative new products or creative, buzz-worthy marketing campaigns. But people can also collaborate creatively around a seemingly mundane project like the installation of a new accounting package and use that initiative to transform the way in which an organization does business. Achieving true collaboration in which the whole is d nitely more than the mere sum of the individual parts is difficult in any environment. 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 d erent companies, are essentially strangers to one another, and have d erent cultural and professional backgrounds. We have interviewed a number of researchers on this topic and have also studied dozens of virtual teams, some that possessed that magic of collaboration and numerous others that did t. Here are some of the lessons w ve learned. Adjust for size. Teams have been getting larger and larger, some even exceeding 100 people for complex projects, according to one study . This trend has made true collaboration increasingly difficult to achieve. One solution is to use a flexible, fluid team structure that consists of three tiers : a core, an operational level, and an outer network. The core consists of individuals responsible for COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. strategy and important decisions. The operational level includes those who are doing the day-to-day ongoing work and might make decisions about their portion of the project but they do t tackle larger issues (which are handled by the core). And the outer network consists of temporary or part-time members who are brought in for a particular stage of the project because of their specialized expertise. Using this hierarchy groups together those who need to collaborate with one another for particular purposes (and exclude others who are t important to that process). Another tool that I recommend is the Relationship Action Plan , which can be used to manage an organization around loosely co gured, flexible teams. Do t be afraid of social media. People are more prone to collaborate with others who are similar to them. So how, then, do you get dissimilar people to collaborate? The trick is to nd the common ground between such individuals, and social media blogs, wikis, online collaboration tools, etc. can play a huge role in doing so. Many managers have been fearful of using social media beyond marketing purposes. But those companies that have begun to use social media for internal purposes are starting to reap the ben ts. The chipmaker Xilinx, for instance, has reported an increase in engineer productivity by around 25% thanks to social media tools that encourage and enable employee collaborative activities. Employees could, for example, maintain wikis or online forums that help share best practices and workarounds for particular problems. The open source community routinely uses such approaches to spread knowledge of programming tricks and tips. Play games. Another ective way to get team members in the right mindset for working together is to have everyone play virtual games that encourage collaboration. In one study, team members played an online version of “scavenger hunt.” Such games can be customized to a particular company so that players have to pool their knowledge and internal connections to nd, for instance, examples of the most offbeat uses of the r s products. In another provocative study , researchers investigated how companies could use online role-playing games like “World of Warcraft” and “EverQuest” to build leadership and teamwork skills. In such multiplayer games, players must collaborate to survive in a fast-changing environment with erce competitors and incomplete or ambiguous information from which to base important decisions that is, an environment not unlike many hypercompetitive global markets. In these games, members must continually do wha s best for the team. Leaders, for instance, will often step down to allow others who are more qual ed to take the reins. This helps encourage an atmosphere of collaboration as well as sacr ce for the greater good of the team. Train for collaboration. Many skills are difficult to train and develop. Some experts, for example, contend that leadership is more nature than nurture. Not so with collaboration. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for instance, has had great success in training employees to collaborate by targeting communication skills, emotional intelligence, teamwork, and networking. At myGreenlight , we have also had great success in teaching various relationship skills and behaviors that enhance team collaboration. COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Have role clarity but task uncertainty. Many managers believe that teams collaborate best when the roles of members are flexible but the group has a clear idea of how to get from A to B. But the reverse is actually true, according to a study of more than 50 teams in d erent industries. That research found that collaboration increased when people had clearly d ned roles but were uncertain about how to achieve the tea s goals. The uncertainty encouraged everyone to collaborate and think more creatively about d erent ways in which to fu ll the grou s mission. Consider a project with the goal of making food taste good with less sodium. A manager might instruct his team to nd a salt replacer that was healthier. But that would just restrict the grou s collaboration. If the team is t given directions about how to accomplish a goal, people can brainstorm and could come up with more innovative solutions. What if, for instance, the team could nd a way to trick the taste receptors in a perso s tongue to perceive that food contains more salt than it actually does? Getting teams to work together is essential for bringing in projects on time and under budget. But going beyond that and getting teams to collaborate is when the real magic occurs. Think of how small, independent lms have often surpassed the creativity and quality of big-budget erings from Hollywood. Such successful collaborations do t have to happen only on a movie set; they can occur in virtual environments too. But the trick is to pro-actively remove the barriers to collaboration. Only then will the team have a chance for true magic to flourish. Keith Ferrazzi is the CEO of Ferrazzi Greenlight, a research-based consulting and training company, and the author of Wh s Got Your Back (Broadway Books, 2009). COPYRIGHT 0 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2012Harvard Business Publishing. AllRights Reserved. Additional restrictions may apply including theuse ofthis content asassigned coursematerial. Pleaseconsult your institution’s librarianaboutanyrestrictions thatmight applyunder thelicense withyour institution. Formore information andteaching resources fromHarvard Business Publishing including HarvardBusiness SchoolCases,eLearning products,andbusiness simulations please visithbsp.harvard.edu.

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