A picture of a boat? On the Global Integration blog? Indeed. It caught our roving reporter’s eye for the boat name: The Four Cs. (You can tell it was taken in Europe – our US canal locks just don’t look the same.)
At Global integration we use the four C’s as a way of organizing course content for virtual teams training.
Building and managing virtual teams needs different skills to hierarchical teams based in a single room within organizations – especially if that team is also internationally based.
Our C’s are communication, co-operation, community and control – all of which are challenges in virtual and remotely based teams. Of course they’re not finite, but most challenges can be grouped around these subject areas. In our experience, sometimes it’s finding the time for the things that don’t seem necessary – like a kick off meeting (which can, of course, also be virtual) – that can be the things that add the most value over the lifetime of the team. By contrast, you may need to travel less than you imagine.
No-one claims that working remotely is easy: we lack the clues that seeing someone in person offers. We can’t tell how busy someone is because they’re not there, and have no idea that now is a bad time to call. We can’t see how our message is being received.
But there also benefits to working remotely, not least of which is the access to talent that you might not be able to access otherwise.
Virtual teams are a challenge, but they don’t need to be hard. Good training can help: our course attendees have reported speeded up projects, lower costs, savings in time and expense alongside ‘softer’, less quantifiable, but equally important benefits such as improved job satisfaction and better communication. It can prove to be the investment that turns a project around.
Life would be very boring if it was all ‘plain sailing’ but if the ‘crew’ pulls together and there’s ‘a firm hand on the tiller’ (knowing which way to sail) we can navigate those stormy ‘virtual team’ waters a whole lot better. (And on that note, we’ve sent the pun writer home in disgrace.)