Overcoming Challenges on Remote Teams: Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we discussed some of the challenges of working on remote teams and ideas for getting your remote team aligned. But, to truly be effective, your remote team has to find a way to build cohesion. After all, only when people are working together on the right things can we gain efficiencies.

Here are a few ideas:

Overcoming Challenges on Remote Teams: Part 1

Working on teams where some or all team members are remote is becoming the norm rather than the exception. And frankly, having remote team members adds complexity that often times accelerates and amplifies communication breakdowns.

For example,

Orienting New Team Members

One of the fastest ways to get a new team member "up to speed" is to make the process intentional.

In many companies, HR plays a key role in "onboarding" new employees. But more must be done at the team level (from senior leadership teams to functional teams) to help new team members get acclimated to the culture and its unwritten rules (that aren't documented in employee handbooks), and to truly understand roles and accountabilities (that aren't usually accurately captured in a position description).

When teams formally spend time orienting new team members it...

Growth and Culture

With the economy recovering and business picking up, I have been asked the following question several times by clients and potential clients in the past few weeks...

"How do we keep growing and maintain our culture at the same time?"

That is a great question.

Align Your Team in 2011: Part 3

Things seemed to be changing quickly. In just a matter of three months, Ben was unexpectedly promoted from Consultant to Manager, Angela was hired and then quit, and now Henry was coming on board.

“So, how’s it going?” Ben's Manager Steve asked.

“Swamped,” Ben replied. “Henry’s started as of last Tuesday and so far seems to be working out pretty well.”

“Great,” Steve responded without knowing that Ben was about to continue.

“It’s nice having another resource around.”

“What?” Steve asked as he looked sharply back at Ben.

An Interesting Duality

One of the challenges that senior leadership teams face is what I call an "interesting duality."

On on hand, a senior leader is often responsible for a functional unit or team within an organization. On the other hand, they are asked to be on a team with other leaders - usually headed by a Director, VP, or CEO.

Team Size - Does it Matter?

My clients often ask me,"How big should our team be?"

My answer is typically...it depends.

It depends on the purpose of the team.

The challenge on many teams is a lack of clarity about a team's true purpose. In most cases, team's don't even know that they don't know their purpose.

This is usually a bigger issue at the senior leadership team level, where a CEO, VP, or Director leads a
team of other leaders.

Tracking Toward Your Desired Destination?

I had an interesting hut trip experience this past weekend. A group of friends and I skied into a very difficult hut near Vail Pass. The 7 mile approach took over 9 hours, as we endured steep and technical terrain to get to our destination at 11,200 feet above sea level. On Sunday, the area was socked in with almost a foot of fresh snow. With the winds picking up and the snow continuing, we made a decision to take a longer but less technical route back to the trail head.

Align Your Team in 2011 - Part 2

The Leadership Story

It had been almost three weeks since their last one-on-one, but having returned from India and with Angela's sudden departure, Steve was anxious to get the process started again. He reflected on how easy it was for pressing matters to get in the way of focusing on important things like coaching his people.

Ben was rushed and a bit frustrated that he had to attend this one on one. Especially today, it seemed there were so many deadlines waiting on his attention.

The Same Old Boring All-staff Meetings

You know what I am talking about.

All-staff meetings, Town Halls, Team Forums. They have many different names, and their original intent was good.

But, here's where they go wrong...

The CEO or senior leader stands in front of the group, tries to break the ice through a method in which no one responds, goes on to give an update on the business, then asks the question, "do you have any questions?"

And no one responds.

Thirty minutes of diatribe from the leader. Thirty minutes of silence from the audience.

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