Does teamwork really make the dream work?
When it comes to the “digital” dreams of virtual teams, the answer is a resounding yes.
High-performing virtual teams are built on a sturdy foundation of teamwork.
But what does “teamwork” look like in practice? Let’s take a look at 6 habits of high-performing virtual teams to find out what it takes to come together across time zones and cultural differences to co-create a digital empire.
#6 – Invite everyone to the table.
“Strategy is not a solo sport, even if you’re the CEO.”
– Max McKeown
High-performing teams incorporate the ideas, opinions, and suggestions of every employee – from the co-founding CIO to very newest hire in sales. High-performing leaders know the value of asking for feedback and giving support on every level.
Virtual teams who routinely celebrate and encourage the success of others – through video-chat, – push each other to achieve more. On a team where efficiency equals profit, success at any stage of the process is ultimately success for everyone (including you!).
#5 – Know your “why” (not just your role).
Knowing why you do what you do – and how your individual contributions impact the team – can help you stay motivated, innovative, and focused on the project at hand. You’ll never hear a highly successful team member say “that’s not my job.” Instead, they’ll ask, “What can I do to provide value in this situation? What unique talent, skills, or knowledge can I contribute that will help further our mission?”
Speaking of which…
#4 – Share a common mission statement (and reflect on it often).
High-performing virtual teams have a common mission statement in place that sums up the values and intentions shared amongst the entire organization.
A mission statement differs from a “goal” in that a goal has can be completed; the work of a “mission” is never quite done. A monthly sales goal might keep a virtual team motivated for a while, but an industry-disrupting, world-changing purpose behind every individual contribution will keep them motivated for longer.
“We believe that it’s really important to come up with core values that you can commit to. And by commit, we mean that you’re willing to hire and fire based on them. If you’re willing to do that, then you’re well on your way to building a company culture that is in line with the brand you want to build.”
– Tony Hsieh, CEO, Zappos
#3 – Leverage collaborative technology.
In today’s digital age, technology has become the sixth member of every virtual team – for better or for worse.
“Nothing slows down or accelerates a meeting (literally) more than network connections, outdated vs. leading-edge solutions, and locking/unlocking functionality within solutions. With minimal effort, a virtual team can be set up to achieve success faster than on-premise teams.”
– Erica Johnson, WW Director of Partner Sales
High-performing virtual teams regularly turn to technology to digitize and organize information, share content, make real-time edits and connect team members across the world.
#2 – Utilize video conferencing solutions.
Virtual teams that invest in video conferencing solutions waste less time dealing with miscommunications and misinterpretations than teams who rely on email and instant messaging services alone.
Video conferencing solutions allow users to analyze facial expressions and body language to ensure that nothing gets missed (or lost in translation). Video conferencing can help members of a large, dispersed remote team feel more like an intimate creative team during meetings.
“Constant sharing of content is vital for virtual teams. High-quality video calling is 100% a MUST to enable real interaction.”
– Kalo Wilson, Collaboration Operations Manager
#1 – Trust the process.
…but first, find yours.
The #1 habit of high-performing virtual teams is the #1 habit of high performers everywhere:
Figure out what works for you, and do it.
“My best advice for virtual team members is to get comfortable with your tools and technology. I’ve found that working all ideas and initial content out in Onenote first helps me to consistently get thoughts and research onto digital ‘paper’ and mold them into fully formed work.”
-Kalo Wilson, Collaboration Operations Manager
Find your process, put in the work, and let the results speak for themselves.
“In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.”
— Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., Former CEO of IBM