Training for Virtual Teams
Managing the challenges of remote and extended teams
Virtual team working has become the norm for professional and managerial people in many organizations.
But not all virtual teams are the same. Depending on the precise nature of your team you may face a different range of barriers and challenges in the way people work together.
Building an effective virtual team starts with being clear about the nature of your specific team. Only then can we, together, build the necessary skills and ways of working to be successful.
We commonly encounter five common types of virtual team. Your team may well be a blend of these:
- Remote teams: in these teams the primary challenge is distance; this means that people can’t get face-to-face very often and most communication is done through technology.
- Matrix teams: in these teams, individuals are from a number of different functions and business units and typically report to multiple bosses. They experience competing goals, and specific challenges with prioritization.
- Virtual reporting: in these teams, individuals work on several teams and have to spread their time and attention accordingly. Leaders of these teams may have dotted line relationships with people, but are more likely to operate purely through influence.
- Global, regional or international teams: these teams face the additional complexities of cooperating and leading across cultures and time zones.
- Extended teams: these teams operate outside the traditional organizational boundaries to include customers, suppliers, outsourcing providers or other partners. They often experience different corporate cultures, different goals and commercial arrangements.
Each type of virtual team work brings its own unique set of challenges. In working with hundreds of leading organizations and thousands of training courses around the world, we at Global Integration have developed a series of modules to address these challenges, allowing people to work more effectively across these barriers of distance, cultures, time zones, technology and organizational complexity.
When you work with us, we can quickly select and develop appropriate modules for your virtual team training program to create something tailored to your team’s specific needs.
Years after my training, I still use & remember sections from the “virtual teams” – this happens very rarely with training!
Training virtual teams
Our training is typically designed for:
- Leaders – to develop skills, capabilities and confidence to lead these more complex teams effectively.
- Members – to enable them to work effectively both on their own and with colleagues in a virtual environment.
- Intact teams – to work on specific applications that improve their performance.
We can run either open enrolment training programs, or work with intact teams/ groups to help quickly apply the learning to their own situation.
You are the experts in your need, priorities and business reality. We bring thought leadership, experience, vast experience, and an external perspective (including our virtual team benchmarking survey to identify how your specific team or organization is operating compared to other leading companies in our extensive database).
Based on these inputs, we can quickly put together a tailored programme specific to your needs and the nature of your team, but rooted in our existing IP (intellectual property). The benchmarking survey can even be used as a “before and after” measure of the impact of the training.
I was feeling bad that I was only able to get face-to-face once every six weeks. My family were also complaining that I was away so much. I used the CLA tool to drive a discussion of their expectations of me and found that, for many, this was more than they expected. We developed a plan to make sure I was as accessible as they needed me to be, which actually led to reduced travel for me, and more time to spend with my family and the new people who really needed my support.” European Logistics Manager, FMCG.
At Global integration, we deliver extremely interactive and engaging face-to-face workshops around the world through our own people. We can also deliver through webinar, video and podcast, or by training your in-house people to deliver workshops or to coach implementation of the tools. (See more about these options in ‘How we deliver’.)
Typical benefits of our training include:
- Speeding up the delivery of projects and team results.
- Reducing the cost of unnecessary cooperation – such as poor quality meetings, conference calls and e-mails.
- Improved confidence, engagement and skills in virtual working.
We can also run campaigns which focus on delivering specific benefits such as our ‘Save a day a week’ program, which identifies and cuts out unnecessary meetings and other forms of communication and control that can cost each typical virtual team members a day a week in unnecessary work.
Being the line manager in the simulation was a great learning experience for me. The concept of ‘Community Decay’ was so powerful I have built it into my kick-off event and communication plan. My latest kick-off was much more focused and the team seems to be coming together much quicker this time.”
VP Operations, Software Industry
- Speak to one of our specialists to find out how we can tailor something to meet your specific training needs.
- Request our white paper on virtual teams.
- Contact us to benchmark your team’s performance.
- Join one of our social networks to keep up to date with developments in this field. (We even have a new Twitter account dedicated to virtual work: @BeingVirtual)
There is a handy form on the right of this page (on most devices) to request more information or to contact our closest office to speak to a specialist. Please contact us to discuss your specific needs.