1st Edition

Leading Effective Virtual Teams Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results

By Nancy M. Settle-Murphy Copyright 2013
    236 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Auerbach Publications

    236 Pages
    by Auerbach Publications

    A proliferation of new technologies has lulled many into thinking that we actually have to think less about how we communicate. In fact, communicating and collaborating across time, distance, and cultures has never been more complex or difficult.

    Written as a series of bulleted tips drawn from client experiences and best practices, Leading Effective Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results presents practical tips to help leaders engage and motivate their geographically dispersed project team members. If you’re a leader of any type of virtual team and want to help your team members collaborate more effectively, then buy this book. You will learn how to:

    • Build trust and cultivate relationships, virtually, across your team
    • Design and facilitate virtual meetings that are focused and engaging
    • Influence without authority
    • Motivate and galvanize a virtual team for top performance
    • Blend asynchronous and synchronous communications for better virtual collaboration
    • Navigate cross-cultural and generational differences in the absence of vital visual cues
    • Assess skills, strengths, aptitudes, and preferences from afar
    • Handle other tough issues that can trip up virtual teams

    The ideas in this book are based on Nancy Settle-Murphy’s decades of experience working as a change management consultant, facilitator, and trainer for project teams around the world. Designed to be read section by section in any order, this book shares approaches and techniques to help you address some of the toughest challenges virtual team leaders face, including keeping team members engaged from afar.

    Unique Challenges of Virtual Teams and Their Leaders
    Unique Challenges of Virtual Teams
    Unique Challenges of Virtual Team Leaders
    Key Attributes of Successful Virtual Team Leaders
         Leadership Skills 
         Communication Skills 
         Behaviors and Attitudes 
         Coaching Skills 
         Technology Skills
    Profile of a Successful Virtual Collaborator

    Sizing Up, Onboarding, and Mobilizing Your Virtual Team
    Onboarding and Off-Ramping Team Members
    Assessing Capabilities, Aptitudes, and Preferences of Team Members
    Getting up to Speed in a Hurry
    Assessing How Cultural Differences May Affect Team Dynamics
    Influencing without Authority across Boundaries for Virtual Project Team Leaders

    Building Trusting Relationships across Boundaries
    Building the Foundations of Trust
    Creating a Level Playing Field
    Building Social Capital

    Best Practices Operating Principles for Virtual Teams
    What Is an Operating Principle?
    Principles Development Process for a Virtual Team
    Characteristics of Strong Principles
    Getting to the "So What?" behind Each Principle: Hammering Out Implications
    Areas for Which Norms Are Especially Vital for Virtual Project Teams
    10 Top Norms to Untangle Virtual Teams

    Communications for Collaboration and Cohesion
    Creating a "Big Picture" Virtual Team Communications Plan
    Virtual Team Communications: Steps to Success
    E-mail for Virtual Teams: Using It Wisely and (Probably) Less Often
    Connecting Virtual Teams through Imagery and Metaphor
    Brainstorming across Borders: Stimulating Creative Thinking from Afar
    Real-Time Conversations Crucial for Collaboration in a Virtual World

    Managing Performance from Afar
    The Challenges of Virtual Professional Development
    Tips for Developing Performance from Afar
    The Challenges of Performance Coaching from Afar
    Tips for Performance Coaching for the Virtual Leader
    You’d Be a Great Virtual Leader if You Could Just Be Quiet: Listening Tips for Virtual Leaders
    Balance Innovation and Expediency for a Supercharged Team
    Ensuring an Equitable Workload
    Celebrating, Recognizing, and Rewarding Great Performance 
         Creating a Shared Sense of Community 
         Recognizing and Appreciating Noteworthy Performance 
         Planning and Running Virtual Celebrations

    Navigating across Cultures, Time Zones, and the Generational Divide
    Galvanize Global Virtual Teams with Clear Operating Principles
    Real Cultural Assimilation Takes Patience, Time, and Willingness to Adapt
    Surfacing and Addressing the Cultural Differences That Most Affect Virtual Teams
    Communicating across Cultures: Designing for International Transportability
    Listening and Learning across the Generations: Strategic Communications Planning for Better Collaboration
    Open Communication and Mutual Respect: Keys to Intergenerational Harmony

    Troubleshooting Tips for Virtual Teams
    Six Management Practices That Don’t Cut It in a Virtual World
    Avoiding the Unintended Consequences of Micromanagement
    Recognizing and Addressing Signs of Dysfunction to Avoid Irrecoverable Problems Later
    When Your Team Is about to Implode: Watch for Signs, Act Fast
    How to Disengage Your Virtual Team in 10 Easy Steps

    Special Challenges of Facilitating Virtual Meetings
    What Makes Virtual Meetings So Challenging?
    Six Critical Factors for Running Productive Virtual Meetings

    ABC s of Designing Great Virtual Meetings
    Creating a Realistic Agenda for a Productive Virtual Meeting
    Selecting the Right Participants
    "Rightsizing" Your Virtual Meeting Depending on Objectives and Group Size
    Selecting the Right Combination of Technology Tools for the Highest Level of Engagement
    Making Pre-work Work
    Importance of Thorough Preparation for Virtual Meeting Leaders
    Creating a Realistic Virtual Meeting Agenda
    Tips for Designing a Successful Hybrid Meeting
    Setting and Enforcing Virtual Meeting Ground Rules
    Guidelines for Great Global Team Meetings

    Keeping Remote Participants Engaged
    Understanding How and Why People Become Disengaged
    Discourage Multitasking with Clear Ground Rules and Focused Meetings
    Rx for Problem Participants Who Threaten to Derail Your Virtual Meetings

    Troubleshooting Virtual Meetings
    We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties
    Reconciling Time Zone Differences
    Dealing with Uninvited Guests
    Handling People Who Show up Unprepared
    Keeping Remote Participants Feeling Connected




    A renowned expert in the fields of remote collaboration, global teams, and managing wide-scale organizational change, Nancy Settle-Murphy is a popular author of articles, white papers, e-zines, and booklets. Her articles have appeared in publications such as The Meeting Professional, Mass High Tech, IT Executive Journal, PM Network, Association Management Magazine, and Intercom . Drawing from more than two decades of experience in facilitating the work of global teams, Nancy leads highly productive working sessions designed to efficiently and effectively tap the best thinking of key contributors working across time zones, locations, and cultures. Among her recent clients are Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Shell Oil, Greenpeace International, Medco Health Systems, Partners Healthcare, Unilever, and the Consortium for Energy Efficiency. Nancy is an active member of the International Association of Facilitators, the Virtual Facilitators Linked-In Roundtable, Boston Facilitator's Roundtable, and American Society for Training and Development. A presenter, trainer, and coach, Nancy parlays her expertise to help answer questions such as: Under what conditions must we really meet face to face to get work done? How can we make remote meetings productive amidst chronic multitasking? How do we engage and motivate virtual team members in times of change? Can remote teams really cultivate trust when social relationships are not possible? What communications methods work best for cross-cultural virtual teams? How can we navigate our way around cross-cultural differences? What skills are essential for leading virtual teams? Some of Nancy's most popular speaking topics include: Facilitating Cross-Cultural Teams, Building Trust Across Borders, Leading Virtual Teams, Planning and Leading Engaging Virtual Meetings, and Jumpstarting a Successful Global Project Team. Nancy is available as a spea

    Organizations are only now beginning to realize that specialized skills and competencies are needed to lead effective virtual teams ... . I particularly enjoyed the practical tips that can be applied to almost any kind of virtual team. Nancy knows what works and shares it with us in a way that is both easy to read and apply. She covers the gamut, from building trust to cross-cultural tripwires, in a way that will work for virtual teams, whatever their makeup.
    —Dr. Penny Pullan, Director, Making Projects Work Ltd.