Insights for Working Virtually

This blog is for anyone who communicates in-person or virtually in the business world.

Open Offices Don't Work! Impact to Virtual Teams

Open Offices Don't Work! Impact to Virtual Teams

Recent analysis shows that over 70% of all offices have an open plan – no doors, no cubicles, and relatively few conference rooms. Open offices have been around since the 1950’s. The intent of this office configuration has been to increase opportunities for collaboration and casual exchange of ideas. In many cases that has been true. We've known since the days of "tiger teams" that putting a project team together in one place can efficiently produce innovative results. It is also great for the boss with a command and control mindset monitoring workflow. But how does this apply to a 21st century workplace?

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Demographics Can Devastate Your Virtual Meetings

Demographics Can Devastate Your Virtual Meetings

Now that I’ve got your attention, I want to clarify. We need to be crystal clear about the impact words have on a listener’s ability to understand what we are saying. When I say “devastate”, I can’t assume that everyone reading this is going to respond in the same way. Label this what you will, but word choice and how you say something will impact your ability to influence someone to take action - the action you want them to take.

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Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three More Things To Do Now (Part 2)

Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three More Things To Do Now (Part 2)

Let’s revisit meetings that suck. In Part One, it was observed that the “laptop up and mobile device on” syndrome would not happen during an in person meeting. (If you missed Part One, go here.) The contention was that “...there is a basic level of human respect that we afford each other when we are in another human’s presence.”

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Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three Cures (Part 1)

Why Virtual Meetings SUCK! Three Cures (Part 1)

Imagine closing the clear glass door to your conference room and walking to your seat at the table to begin your meeting. While your eyes look to the fourteen people in the room, their eyes don't return your gaze. More than half of them have their eyes on their computer screens typing away. Several others have their eyes transfixed on their phone screens and, amazingly, some individuals are talking audibly on their phones. As you begin to speak, not one person seems to acknowledge that you are doing so. Mike and Sarah are actually leaning back in their chairs looking right through you as they talk on their phones! I'll grant you that this crazy scene would NEVER happen in your face-to-face conference room meeting. Never. Why? Because there is a basic level of human respect that we afford each other when we are in another human’s presence. If that is true, then why do we let this happen every day in our virtual meetings across the globe?

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Does Your Virtual Team Have Dotted Line Responsibilities?

Does Your Virtual Team Have Dotted Line Responsibilities?

It's a double whammy. A team working virtually is difficult enough to manage. There are workers in different geographic locations whom you rarely see but collectively hold your corporate life in their hands. Now, many leaders are faced with the added complexity of having members of their teams work with dotted line responsibilities to other leaders in the organization (Matrixed Teams). This can be confusing for team members, ultimately creating questions of loyalty for the worker, contradictions in assignment priorities, and utilization issues. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what fancy equations they use, a person can only be utilized 100%. Expecting to get more than 100% from one person is a set-up for failure.

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5 Important Questions to Evaluate Yourself as a Virtual Leader

5 Important Questions to Evaluate Yourself as a Virtual Leader

If you are reading this, you intimately know the daily challenges you face leading a virtual team. In my experience, it is difficult enough managing a team that you lock eyes on every day. With virtual team management, you not only need foundational management skills, but you have to artfully customize those skills to bridge the distance between you and the team and team members with each other.

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Are Your Best Ideas On Mute In Your Virtual Team Meetings? 3 Things To Do Now

Are Your Best Ideas On Mute In Your Virtual Team Meetings? 3 Things To Do Now

Here’s a sad fact that I see confirmed in my work with global leadership teams. Not everyone is contributing their best ideas and feedback in meetings – even the people with the most knowledge or innovative ideas. In a recent survey cited in Harvard Business Review, even though participants may feel they have an important contribution to make, only 35% felt they could do so routinely. It’s even worse for virtual teams.

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How to Avoid Overusing Email on Your Virtual Team

How to Avoid Overusing Email on Your Virtual Team

Do you spend a good amount of time each day reading emails on one of your numerous devices with a screen? Studies have shown that we spend just over one month a year reading email. Sometimes these emails tend to be a chain of conversations that you simply were CC'ed on and don't care about. Other times you are not sure of the action you need to take as a result of reading the email. When this happens, you send back yet another email with a clarifying question. I'm not even going to get into all the "reply to all" emails that clog up our in boxes.

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The Power of 168 for Working Virtually

The Power of 168 for Working Virtually

By unleashing the Power of 168 (as noted in Vernon’s book The Gift of Success and Happiness with Chip Sawicki), you can build relationships, careers, families and empires. You can build your dream, whatever it is and you can master working virtually. So what is 168? 168 is your resource, your allowance, your grant, your budget, your clay. It’s the hours that everyone on the planet is given each week. One hundred and sixty-eight glorious hours packed into seven days. How are you spending it? Many take their 168 for granted. Do you invest it or do you blow it? Most track their money more diligently than their 168. If you had 168 pieces of gold, would you throw any away? My guess is no.

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Are You Stifling Innovation In Your Virtual Teams?

Are You Stifling Innovation In Your Virtual Teams?

In a meeting with a client recently, she told us that she had been trying to get the help of a senior engineer on a critical new product. She found that if she timed her morning coffee break just right, she could get 5-10 minutes with the senior engineer every couple of weeks. This is exactly why innovative companies like Uber, SurveyMonkey, and airbnb have opened offices with the freedom to work where you want.

 

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Are You Two-Dimensional to Your Virtual Team? Tips to Become Three-Dimensional

Are You Two-Dimensional to Your Virtual Team? Tips to Become Three-Dimensional

Are you or your team two-dimensional to each other? Do you know anything about each other? Are you familiar with who they really are or what they care about? Would you be surprised to know what their passion is or the challenges that they face personally and professionally? The challenge for many of us, whether we lead or work on a virtual team, is that we are faceless paper cutouts to each other. We are two-dimensional people in a three-dimensional world.

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You Are Only As Good As Your Communication on a Virtual Team

You Are Only As Good As Your Communication on a Virtual Team

I don't think that this comes as a surprise that success on a virtual team is all about communication. We all know that good leaders need to be able to engage and motivate their teams to attain a shared corporate goal. A 2015 study found that one of the top three development priorities for leaders is the ability to connect and clearly provide direction during informal feedback and coaching sessions. The challenge is, according to research from Development Dimensions International (DDI), that leaders frequently do the opposite in their interactions with their teams. They often fail to provide clear direction or feedback and this results in lackluster productivity on a team. This inability to drive the vision through their organization reduces the leader’s influence in the broader organization and with their employees and peers.

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Guest — Marilyn Kobus
Vernon, I resonate with your points about seeking out and being open to feedback. It takes courage to offer it and courage to rec... Read More
Saturday, 23 January 2016 04:23
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Leading in Your Pajamas: One Resolution for Your Virtual Team … Relationship Reviews

Leading in Your Pajamas: One Resolution for Your Virtual Team … Relationship Reviews

Use the fresh start and the energy that the new year brings to your advantage for your virtual team. Relationships are the life blood of successful communication and collaboration. If successful salespeople perform annual relationship reviews with their clients, why can't you do the same with your virtual team?

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Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast on Virtual Teams

Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast on Virtual Teams

"The best laid plans of Mice and Men often go awry". This adapted saying from a Robert Burns' work can be leveraged to describe what happens to global virtual teams when cultural issues are ignored. Culture is what makes us all different and interesting. However, culture misunderstood drives a wedge between us.

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Information Can Kill Virtual Teams

Information Can Kill Virtual Teams

You can't over communicate. I've said this numerous times to technology leaders that I coach as they manage large scale change projects. My point is that in the absence of information people begin to make up their own story and nine times out of 10, it isn't pretty. On the other hand, too much information does the same thing. Massive amounts of information can overwhelm people to the point that they don't read anything. Some leaders send a weekly newsletter to their entire team that is packed full of information.

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Leading in Your Pajamas ... 3 Tips to Improve Your Virtual Communications

Leading in Your Pajamas ... 3 Tips to Improve Your Virtual Communications

OK, that's not exactly accurate. I have never led meetings in my pajamas, just running shorts. Sometimes I top the shorts and running shoes off with a collared shirt and a blazer if the occasion calls for it. Not cute, right? Would I walk outside of my home like this? Never. But because I do know the importance of using a web-cam and streaming video during a virtual meeting, I create the business image for those viewing my video feed. What I've realized over the years is that any distraction can take away the focus of those communicating with you, especially if it's a more formal communication.

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Can You Read Your Sales Partner’s Mind?

Can You Read Your Sales Partner’s Mind?

This is a trick question, but we’ll get into that in a moment.

We know that to meet sales goals, for most industries today, it’s critical to have a strong network and the support of sales partners. Regardless of the type or mix of resellers you may utilize, having a diverse and robust sales ecosystem is one of the keys to meeting revenue targets. This is particularly true for organizations with big growth goals in a world of shrinking direct sales headcount.

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5 Conditions for Success When Coaching Your Virtual Team

5 Conditions for Success When Coaching Your Virtual Team

A friend of mine is responsible for product development at a San Francisco Bay area company. He manages a team that is not just local, but spread over three locations and two continents. He knows his job is to help team members analyze their performance, help them problem solve, and motivate them to achieve success. The challenge is how to effectively do all that when he isn’t in person. It isn’t practical or cost effective for him to fly to each location when a coaching need arises.

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9 Tips for Working Virtually from Home

9 Tips for Working Virtually from Home

Working virtually from a home office can provide benefits as well as challenges. Here are nine tips I'll share to reap the benefits. Please add any other tips that you found helpful to the comments section of the blog!

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Guest — Cassandra Carrion
Vernon, all of these resonate with me! I think my #10 would be for parents only. If you have a child that is unable to feed or e... Read More
Monday, 10 August 2015 13:24
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3 Ideas on Using Virtual to Develop Diverse Global Talent

3 Ideas on Using Virtual to Develop Diverse Global Talent

As our working world continues to become more global, development of diverse talent should be on the goal list of any leader whose business is reliant on human capital. In a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers CEO Survey, 85% of CEOs whose companies have a diversity and inclusiveness strategy say it enhanced the company’s performance. 71% of CEOs said they were searching for talent across markets, sectors and demographics.

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