“Exactly when did the crazy cat lady drop off this box of kittens to manage?” you ask yourself after another epic fail to reach your virtual team. Sure you handpicked them, sure you love their energy, and sure you benefit from your global footprint, but are you asking too much for a little communication now and then? Just as you are about to take extreme measures, Michael, your friend and colleague, who served alongside you in the trenches when you were both wide-eyed junior executives, enters your office with a supportive “Dude, your frustration is palpable. What’s up?”
After you launch into a brief rant, he asks if you’ve tried “Tworking”. Of course you respond, “That thing Miley Cyrus does?” He knowingly laughs while shaking his head, “no”, and explains how he dealt with a similar challenge by opening a social media channel with his team. He tells you that, during a consensus-building exercise, he discovered his team preferred Twitter at work for quick communication and it had a positive impact on productivity. He states, his team may not always be at their computers, but they always carry their mobile phones. And while nothing confidential is posted; short reminders and alerts work beautifully. They even developed fun shorthand as a group. As you confess you personally despise social media but are willing to try anything, you truly understand it’s more about finding what works best for your team. Not that Miley has anything to worry about, but who knows, Tworking might be your undiscovered talent.
Establishing ground rules and setting up a Team Code are two critical steps every virtual team should take to ensure high performance. Understand first your company’s policy on social media and other communication resources before entertaining suggestions from your team. Then achieve important buy-in from your members by allowing them to choose an approved method for staying in touch.
Connect with us next week for valuable insight and a few helpful tips for establishing a Team Code with your own virtual team. Before then, we want to know if you are enjoying this series by liking us on Facebook.