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303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams, 100-pack

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303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams, 100-pack

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Global teams are now officially the way of things. Spanning the boundaries of countries, languages, business units, and entire enterprises, we now find ourselves working with and managing people we've never even met — and in many cases, we never will. Everything about such projects or operations is more difficult than face-to-face teams. Read this ebook for a comprehensive set of ideas for making your global team sing!


Global teams are now officially the way of things. Everything about such projects or operations is more difficult than face-to-face teams, including figuring out how to declare victory when failure is what actually happened…

You'll find various definitions of global team if you surf around a bit, but the main features of global teams are what make them so difficult to manage — the people are dispersed geographically, they meet infrequently or never, and they come from different cultures. The key to success for a global team is building a sense of team despite the obstacles of separation.

Is your organization a participant in one or more global teams? Are you the owner/sponsor of a global team? Are you managing a global team? Is everything going well, or at least as well as any project goes? Probably not. And the troubles people encounter are traceable to the obstacles global teams face when building working professional relationships from afar.

What's in this tips book

Read 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams to learn techniques for managing global teams — tips and insights that could take you a lifetime to invent on your own. You'll learn:

  • How to build trust in a multicultural team where what defines "trustworthy" differs from person to person
  • How to run a telephone meeting effectively when a third of the attendees speak the language so poorly that it's difficult to understand what they mean, but since they all do it the same way, they understand each other perfectly
  • How to minimize errors when critical documents are translated from one language to another by people who know how to translate, but who don't know even the basics of the subject matter
  • How to divide the work so as to minimize turf battles and battles over budget
  • How to minimize resentments when only some members of the team are selected to attend the worldwide recognition banquet

Looking for an economical training alternative?
Training pack for Virtual and Global TeamsCheck out Managing Global and Distributed Teams: Training Pack. A self-contained one-day training program, including an 80-slide PowerPoint presentation, a 20,000 word script, and a copy of 303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams. All for only ! More
This ebook includes a range of suggestions for helping people work better together in the global, dispersed team context. It's packed with tips and techniques for:

  • Understanding the nature of global and dispersed teams
  • Building and maintaining a high level of trust
  • Planning your communications
  • Dealing with dispersion
  • Taking account of socio-cultural differences
  • Taking account of language differences
  • Allocating the work with dispersion in mind
  • Being smart about voicemail and email
  • Be effective on the telephone
  • Making your face-to-face meetings count
  • Celebrating achievements
  • Leading telemeetings proactively
  • Participating fully in telemeetings

And it's all packaged in a single, compact ebook. Load it onto your Acrobat-enabled mobile device or laptop and carry it with you on your next trip.


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Table of contents

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Understand the nature of dispersed and global teams

  • Know the fundamental difference between leading dispersed and co-located teams
  • Understand what a geographically dispersed team is
  • Recognize all dimensions of team dispersion
  • Understand what a global team is
  • Understand what's different about global teams
  • Regard your first attempts as pilots
  • Diversify the capability of the Legal team before dispersing
  • Anticipate the effects of hierarchical team structure
  • Recognize the Economic Paradox of dispersed teams
  • Appreciate the accounting system illusion
  • Understand the cost of dysfunction
  • Develop dispersion-specific metrics
  • Recognize the budgetary critical path
  • Capture learning from foul-ups
  • Expect a wider variety of hidden agendas
  • Expect a wider variety of performance standards
  • Expect increased likelihood and severity of communication problems
  • Recognize the counter-synergy of cultural and geographic dispersion
  • Expect more mismatch in work styles
  • Understand Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety
  • Harvest the experience of those who went before you

Build and maintain a high level of trust

  • Think of trust-building skills as organizational assets
  • Consciously foster trust between team members
  • Build trust hierarchically
  • Conduct kickoff meetings face-to-face
  • Beware the effects of split assignments on trust
  • Conduct chartering sessions hierarchically
  • Allocate time to resolving chartering ambiguities
  • Eliminate coercive management
  • Limit changes in team composition
  • Deal with serious conflict face-to-face
  • Don't let the accountants talk you out of travel
  • Invest in relationship building
  • Make a team family album
  • Send birthday greetings
  • Send holiday greetings when appropriate
  • Clearly define roles and responsibilities
  • Keep task groups small
  • Make space for family involvement
  • Encourage travelers to stay in the homes of team members
  • Rotate meeting sites
  • Rotate the travel burden for day-to-day work, too
  • Choose site names carefully
  • Rotate the site for the meeting leader or facilitator
  • Rotate timing of teleconferences
  • Monitor trust status

Plan your communications

  • Understand the issues for your team's communications
  • View communications as a project in itself
  • Develop a communications plan
  • Appreciate communications risk
  • Prepare for incompatible upgrades of substrate technologies
  • Make an inventory of communications substrate technologies
  • Prepare for upgrade synchronization skew within the embedding organizations
  • Monitor IT upgrade plans at all sites
  • Plan for addition or deletion of sites
  • Investigate site addition and deletion processes, per site
  • Make your communications system resistant to single-point communication failures
  • Create organizational assets for single-point failure mitigation
  • Understand how communications are affected by staff unavailability
  • Understand how communications are affected by infrastructure changes
  • Include IT in your team
  • Understand the unique needs of long-lived teams
  • Develop reusable communications plans
  • Communicate as early as possible
  • Have an inform-as-soon-as-you-know norm
  • Understand the nature of non-verbal communication
  • Train in non-verbal communication
  • Take extra care when interpreting non-verbal communication
  • Smoke out miscommunications proactively
  • Define customs for email, text, wiki, and chat-based discussions
  • Investigate records retention and destruction requirements for new channels
  • Get training in audio, video, and email
  • Vet your metaphors and allusions
  • Review icon and logo designs
  • Anticipate the effects of a reduction in informal communication
  • Encourage people to "batch" less-than-urgent communications
  • Consider dropping your landlines
  • Create dedicated video wormholes in small meeting rooms
  • Install video wormholes in the lunchroom
  • Encourage OTWR threads in your email messaging system
  • Prepare for personal tragedy
  • Prepare for work-related tragedy
  • Set Google Alerts for other sites

Deal with dispersion

  • Recognize the implications of the Economic Paradox
  • Problem-solving skill is not enough
  • Seek people who have a knack for finding a "third way"
  • Seek problem-solving ambassadors
  • Use compensation to collapse layers of subcontractors
  • Eliminate pro forma project managers
  • Allocate budget and schedule for dispersion taxes
  • Anticipate organizational incompatibilities
  • Investigate human resources policies
  • Investigate recognition practices
  • Understand fiscal mismatches
  • Verify that software applications align
  • Manage dispersion risk
  • Send test shipments to uncover transnational shipping risks
  • Manage turnover risk
  • Manage contention risk
  • Beware positive pressure gradients in split assignments
  • Manage coherence risk
  • Remember that malfeasance happens
  • Manage malfeasance risk
  • Recognize that malfeasance is culturally defined
  • Make meetings as full-duplex as possible
  • Delegate more deeply
  • Track the incidence of I'll-have-to-get-back-to-you
  • Define a team standard time
  • Use Zulu time if you have multiple teams
  • Know who's travel-capable at any given time
  • Additional driver fees might apply
  • Provide a travel concierge and staff
  • Train your travelers in business travel

Take account of socio-cultural differences

  • Understand that the team culture is no longer your own culture
  • Take care when referring to nations and nationalities
  • Recognize that cultural diversity is an asset
  • Recognize that cultural diversity is a potential risk
  • Don't be fooled by your own effort data
  • Expect expatriates to produce at levels consistent with their home cultures
  • Pay attention to subcultures
  • Vet your information sources
  • Approach team trouble from a cultural perspective
  • Deal with minor interpersonal problems immediately
  • Beware the use of humor
  • Consider training your team in cultural issues
  • Foster cross-site relationships
  • Manage your expectations about "buy-in"
  • Define expectations about dates, times, and deadlines
  • Define the consequences of missing dates
  • Define the consequences of norm violation
  • Research legal and religious holidays
  • Know the dates of significant events
  • Understand the cultural risks of videoconferences
  • Beware numbers
  • Be aware of rank
  • Verify that your furniture, fonts, and supplies meet your needs

Take account of language differences

  • Designate a team language
  • Designate a meeting language
  • Designate other languages and their scopes
  • Have a translation/interpretation plan
  • Take note of black market translations
  • Use professional interpreters
  • Use translators with domain expertise
  • Avoid domain experts with translation expertise
  • Understand how interpreters provide safety in tense situations
  • Verify mission-critical translations
  • Use sampling to verify less-than-critical translations
  • Use code names instead of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms
  • Explicitly decide on an alphabet and sort order
  • Establish policy vis-à-vis localized software applications
  • Choose filenames, directory names, email addresses, and domain names judiciously
  • Avoid using organizational names for artifacts

Allocate the work with dispersion in mind

  • Understand the risks of fractal teams
  • Pay special attention to modules that span sites
  • Pay special attention to modules that span linguistic or cultural boundaries
  • Pay special attention when a module spans a legacy or generational interface
  • Avoid hockey-stick deliveries
  • Use reconnaissance-in-force
  • Use placeholders to uncover problems early
  • Do "dry run" integrations periodically
  • Get readings and guidance from Legal early and often
  • Align module interfaces with site boundaries
  • Align budget authority with capability
  • Consider remodularizing according to geography
  • Beware inappropriate partitioning
  • Bring fluid modules closer together
  • Segregate fluidity

Be effective with voicemail and email

  • Define acceptable message response times
  • Use meta-responses
  • Define a three-level priority scale for messages
  • Think "inbox" when leaving voicemail
  • Speak slowly in voicemail
  • Don't make up voicemail messages on the fly
  • Leave only simple voicemail messages
  • Say goodbye only once
  • Don't give the time or date in voicemail
  • Give your phone number twice
  • If using a desk or wall phone, press the button to hang up
  • Learn how to use your voicemail system
  • Learn the remote commands too
  • Customize your outgoing voicemail message
  • Say your name and email address in your outgoing voicemail message
  • Assume in your outgoing message that the caller knows how to leave voicemail
  • Customize your outgoing message if you know you'll be away for an extended period
  • Include outgoing message skip instructions
  • Forward your line if you can take calls while away
  • Consider calling their voicemail directly
  • Always confirm — don't rely on silence
  • Don't recycle irrelevant subject lines in email
  • Use hierarchical subject lines
  • Address email messages to group aliases instead of long lists of individuals
  • Define acceptable topics for email
  • Specify who can participate in email discussions
  • Define criteria for switching from email to more direct channels
  • Have a take-it-offline norm for email scuffles
  • Ban Tweaking CCs
  • Ban long, complex debates in email
  • Ensure (in advance) safe passage through bulk mail filters

Be effective on the telephone

  • Consider after-hours coverage
  • Have regular check-ins for team members
  • Have regular check-ins with your administrators
  • Make appointments
  • Keep your appointments
  • Use Call Waiting only with Caller ID
  • Eating, drinking, and chewing gum are no-nos on the phone
  • Sit up straight or stand when you're on the phone
  • Suspend interpretation of silences
  • Slow down your "offense" response
  • Express appreciations verbally, publicly, and often
  • Get the very best mobile service you can find
  • Use a headset at your desk and hands-free on your mobile
  • Lock your mobile phone when you travel

Make your face-to-face meetings count

  • Don't skimp on the format of face-to-face meetings
  • Having enough face-to-face meetings is cheaper than not having enough
  • Give thought to the attendance list
  • Create a program, not just an agenda
  • Do something special to introduce people
  • For long flights (more than 4-hour segments), fly business class
  • Allow time and space for socializing
  • Accommodate special dietary needs
  • Preparation is important for everyone
  • Ensure pre-meeting preparation
  • Choose a venue that supports the work
  • Conduct retrospectives while the project is still underway
  • Invite ambassadors to retrospectives
  • After you resolve an emergency, conduct a retrospective
  • Use an outside facilitator for difficult meetings
  • Include attendee bios with photos, audio, and video in the meeting program
  • Include links to Zip archives of relevant exhibits in the meeting program
  • Include links to maps, hotels, meeting site info, and calendar files in the meeting program
  • Include links to restaurants, entertainment, and local historical sites in the meeting program
  • Include all relevant contact info in the meeting program
  • Include links to chats, email lists, and wikis in the meeting program
  • Include the agenda and not-agenda in the meeting program

Celebrate achievements

  • Recognize the importance of celebrations
  • Include a celebration in every face-to-face event
  • Evaluate your celebration skills in co-located teams
  • Allocate the organizational Morale Fund to individual teams
  • Schedule celebrations near the middle of the stay
  • Add recognition and honor to the mix
  • Remember the people back home
  • Consider dispersed banquets
  • Restrict celebrations to team-relevant events

Lead telemeetings powerfully

  • Send invitations early
  • Arrive early and welcome arriving attendees
  • Choose passwords judiciously
  • Favor symmetric meetings
  • Avoid speakerphones
  • Limit the attendance list
  • Limit your objectives
  • Limit the agenda
  • Limit the number of speaking roles
  • Hold some time in reserve
  • Establish a timeline and enforce it ruthlessly
  • Shift routine chores to pre-meeting activities
  • Get training for meeting technologies in advance
  • Manage technology risk
  • Use trailing-edge technology when possible
  • Set up a test meeting and leave it open for a day ahead of time
  • Tailor exhibits to the needs of telemeetings
  • Include on exhibits a URL for downloading
  • Number the lines of complex documents
  • Highlight key portions of exhibits
  • Add a cover page (with large title) on exhibits
  • Put version numbers on all exhibits
  • Number the pages of all exhibits
  • Include the document name on each page
  • Create hyperlinks to other portions of the document
  • Create and use bookmarks inside documents
  • Distribute PDFs when possible
  • Use bookmark panels in PDF and PowerPoint
  • Keep the meeting short
  • Schedule breaks and make them generous
  • If you take a break, keep the connection alive
  • Designate a scribe
  • Use a parking lot
  • Designate a parking lot attendant
  • Get IM or texting addresses for all attendees who have speaking roles
  • In asymmetric meetings, elicit contributions from tele-attendees
  • Have a site chair at each site of an asymmetric telemeeting
  • Skip the round-the-table introductions
  • Establish an introduction norm for contributions
  • Establish a handoff norm for contributions
  • Establish a three-exchange limit for dialogs
  • Be prepared for collapses of previously negotiated agreements
  • Don't ever tighten knots
  • Use podcasts

Participate in telemeetings effectively

  • Use a land line if you can
  • Use a high-speed Internet connection
  • Don't use the meeting to test tele-presentation software
  • Listen by podcast if you don't have a speaking role
  • Do your homework
  • Close your door
  • Mute your devices
  • Mute other communication devices
  • Take care of your biological needs
  • Test the connection
  • Monotask while on the phone
  • In asymmetric telemeetings, wait to be recognized before speaking
  • Do not eat while attending the meeting
  • Mute yourself when you aren't speaking
  • Practice muting/unmuting yourself before the call
  • Identify yourself when you begin to speak
Details and additional information

This item is also available by the single copy (USD 19.99 per copy), in 10-copy packs (USD 16.70 per copy), in 50-copy packs (USD 13.30 per copy) and in 500-copy packs (USD 9.32 per copy).

303 Tips for Virtual and Global Teams, 100-pack is in Acrobat format, which gives you several advantages. You can print it, and read it like any book. Or in electronic form, you can use the search capability of Adobe Reader to find passages of special interest to you. If you load it onto your laptop, tablet, or other mobile device, you can read it anywhere — and it's weightless, too. 49 pages.

More info

File size:1.1 MBytes
Print length:49 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage:Unlimited per user, maximum 100 users
Publication date:December 20, 2005
Sold by:Chaco Canyon Consulting

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Last modified: 04 Sep 2016 06:58 Eastern Time


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