In today’s business social media driven world, the ability to make a persuasive – well thought written argument in a paragraph is a skill that will serve you in your professional executive career. Through our academic term, you are assigned to write AT LEAST 3 Quality Harvard Business Review Virtual Teams Best Practices Canvas Postings related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams.
Please read the following Harvard Business Review short Best Practices articles related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams:
5 Questions That (Newly) Virtual Leaders Should Ask Themselves.pdf
The Virtual Work Skills You Need — Even If You Never Work Remotely.pdf
and please write two or three short paragraphs for EACH reading with an insightful and critical thinking reference related to Virtual – Remote – Telecommuting Teams and/or the academic practical learning content reviewed through the books and readings of this class.
In today’s business social media driven world, the ability to make a persuasive – well thought written argument in a paragraph is a skill that will serve you in your professional executive career. Thr
REPRINT H KLL PUBLISHED ON HBR.ORG OCTOBER , ARTICLE COMMUNICATION The Virtual Work Skills You Need Even If You Never Work Remotelyby Barbara Z. Larson and Erin E. Makarius COMMUNICATIONThe Virtual Work Skills You Need Even If You Never Work Remotely by Barbara Z. Larson and Erin E. Makarius OCTOBER , ANADOLU AGENCY/GETTY IMAGES Maintaining strong, productive relationships with clients and co-workers can be challenging when you never see the person yo re working with. Yet, it is common to have ongoing work relationships – sometimes lasting years — with people yo ve never met in person. We often think of “virtual work” as working with someone located outside an office, or in another city or country. This type of work is on the rise: a 2017 Gallup report found 43% of American COPYRIGHT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. employees work remotely; in another survey , 48% of respondents reported that a majority of their virtual teamwork involved members from other cultures. However, virtual work also encompasses how we are turning to technology to conduct businesswith nearby colleagues, sometimes within the same building or campus. At a large consumer- products firm where w ve been conducting research, an HR director recounted the changes she witnessed in employees located in two buildings a few miles apart. “Ten years ago, we would regularly drive between buildings to meet each other, but today, we almost never do; meetings are conducted by videoconference and everything else is handled on e-mail and IM.” In our interview and survey research, we find that people tend to significantly underestimate the proportion of their work that is virtual, largely because they believe virtual work occurs outside the office. But i s important for us to recognize the true extent of virtual work, because successful virtual work demands a different set of social and interpersonal skills and behaviors than face-to-face work. Research consistently indicates that virtual work skills – such as the ability to proactively manage media-based interactions, to establish communication norms, to build social rapport with colleagues, and to demonstrate cooperation – enhance trust within teams and increase performance . Our surveys indicate that only about 30% of companies train employees in virtual work skills, but when they do, the training is more likely to focus on software skills and company policies than on social and interpersonal skills. Our findings are similar to those of a 2006 survey of HR leaders on training of virtual teams, suggesting that while technology and virtual work itself has advanced dramatically in recent years, our preparation to work virtually has not. Our recent review of 30 years of virtual work research shows that the most effective workers engage in a set of strategies and behaviors that we call “virtual intelligence.” Some people tend to be naturally more adept at working virtually than others; yet, everyone can increase their virtual intelligence. Two specific skill sets contributing to virtual intelligence are 1) establishing “rules of engagement” for virtual interactions, and 2) building and maintaining trust. These skill sets are relevant to all individuals who conduct virtual work, including coworkers in the same office who interact virtually. Establishing “rules of engagement” When working with someone face-to-face, the “rules of engagement” for your work together mostlikely evolve naturally, as you learn the best times of day to connect, where to hold productivemeetings, and the most effective meeting format. In virtual work, however, these “rules of engagement” typically require a dedicated conversation. At a minimum, virtual colleagues should discuss the following rules around: 3 COPYRIGHT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Communication technology. Once you know yo ll be working virtually with someone on a regular basis, initiate a short conversation about their available technology, and agree on the best means of communication (e.g., “W ll e-mail for simple, non-urgent matters, but get on Skype when there is something complex that might require us to share screens. Texting is fine if we need to get in touch urgently, but should t be used day-to-day.”) Best times to connect . You might ask your virtual co-worker, “What times of day are typically better to call or text? Are there particular days of the week (or month) that I should avoid?” Establishing this rule early in a virtual work relationship both establishes respect for each othe s time, and saves time, by avoiding fruitless contact attempts. How best to share information. If yo re collaborating on documents or other electronic files, establish a process to ensure you do t inadvertently delete updates or create co icting versions. File-sharing services such as Dropbox can help monitor revisions to jointly-owned documents (often called “version control”), but it is still wise to establish a simple protocol to avoid lost or duplicated work. Building and maintaining trust Two types of trust matter in virtual work: relational trust (trust that your colleague is looking out foryour best interests), and competence-based trust (trust that your colleague is both capable and reliable). To build relational trust: Bring a social element into the virtual work relationship. Some people do this by starting conversations with non-work-related questions, such as “How are things going where you are?” or“How was your weekend?” Avoid making questions too personal, and do t overwhelm your colleague with extensive details of your life. Keep it simple and sincere, and the conversation will develop naturally over time. Let your enthusiasm and personality show in your virtual communications. Keep it professional, but try adding a little of your own voic to give your virtual colleague a sense of who you are, justas they would have in a face-to-face meeting. To build competence-based trust: Share your relevant background and experiences, indicating how these will help you support the current project. For example, on a new-product development project, you might say, “ m really looking forward to contributing to the market analysis, as it focuses on a market that I researched last year on another project.” Take initiative in completing tasks whenever possible and communicate that yo re doing so with periodic update e-mails. Doing this shows commitment to the shared task. 4 COPYRIGHT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Respond to e-mail quickly and appropriately. We risk obviousness in making this point, but manyvirtual work relationships fail due to inconsistent e-mail communication. Silence works quickly to destroy trust in a virtual colleague. We recommend replying to non-urgent e-mails within one business day (sooner if i s urgent). If you need more time, send a quick acknowledgement of the e- mail, letting your colleague know when you will reply. As the use of technology for all types of communication has become ubiquitous, the need for virtual work skills is no longer limited to telecommuters and global teams; it now extends to those of us whose work never takes us out of the office. Making a concerted effort to develop these skills by setting up rules of engagement and establishing trust early can feel uncomfortable, especially for people new to the idea of virtual work. Most of us are used to letting these dynamics evolve naturally in face-to-face relationships, with little or no discussion. Yet, workers with higher virtual intelligence know that these skills are unlikely to develop without explicit attention, and that making a short- term investment in developing the virtual relationship will yield long-term benefits. Barbara Z. Larson is executive professor of management at Northeaster s Amore-McKim School of Business. Her research focuses on the personal and interpersonal skills that people need to work ectively in virtual environments, and she works with collaborators in both academia and industry to develop training methods and materials to enable more productive virtual work. Prior to her academic career, Professor Larson worked for 15 years in international nance and operations leadership, most recently as Director of International Finance at R.R. Donnelley. Erin E. Makarius is an associate professor of human resources in the management department at the College of Business Administration, The University of Akron. Her research interests include boundary spanning in the form of technological, international, and organizational boundaries, with emphasis on the role of relationships and reputation in these processes. Dr. Makarius has several years of experience in human resources and management, including working at Progressive Insurance and consulting with a variety of companies in the nancial, insurance, and consumer products industries. COPYRIGHT HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2018Harvard Business Publishing. AllRights Reserved. Additional restrictions may apply including theuse ofthis content asassigned coursematerial. Pleaseconsult your institution’s librarianaboutanyrestrictions thatmight applyunder thelicense withyour institution. Formore information andteaching resources fromHarvard Business Publishing including HarvardBusiness SchoolCases,eLearning products,andbusiness simulations please visithbsp.harvard.edu.
In today’s business social media driven world, the ability to make a persuasive – well thought written argument in a paragraph is a skill that will serve you in your professional executive career. Thr
LEADERSHIP 5 Questions That (Newly) Virtual Leaders Should Ask Themselves by Melissa Raffoni MAY 01, 2020 URSULA KLAWITTER/GETTY IMAGES It is safe to say, that for the rst time in the age of technology, ad hoc face-to-face meetings are no longer an option for many people. While we do t anticipate in-person meetings to go away forever, working during the Covid-19 crisis does provide us with the opportunity to reflect on how the best leaders succeed in virtual environments. 2 COPYRIGHT 2020 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. For many, working from home, and communicating through digital mediums like Slack, Zoom, and WebEx, are nothing new. Many business models have supported virtual work for years as a necessity to accommodate employees and clients in various locations. Still, while technology has improved our ability to get work done and communicate remotely, we have not yet been forced to develop a set of best practices for leading remote teams at the capacity that has been brought on by this crisis. My intent here is to challenge leaders to pause and identify what they need to do differently not only to sustain, but also to strengthen their skills in a virtual settin particularly during a time when their teams are looking to them more than ever for direction. First, i s important to be aware of the factors that make working together virtually such a challenge: For some, i s uncomfortable. Every day, I watch my teenagers laugh and chat with their friends on Facetime, as if they were just another person in the room. But for many of us adults, who did t grow up with that same technology, it can still be quite uncomfortable. This lack of comfort makes it harder for some to open up, connect, trust, and communicate with each other virtually. If you are a leader today, in a virtual setting, you may be struggling to display the same level of authenticity and provide your team with the same sense of safety as you did in person. Interpersonal dynamics are harder to manage. Both for technical reasons and because people are harder to read over video, the appropriate affect, tone, pacing, and facial expressions that we rely on for effective communication in person are more d cult to give and receive virtually, especially in group settings. You can easily lose peopl s attention. I s challenging enough to engage people in a face-to-face meetings, but virtual meetings often come with a plethora of new distractions that you have little control over. New skills are required, from you. Whether i s managing tech, maintaining strong facilitation skills, or rethinking agendas, virtual is different than in-person. Knowing that is half the battle. With these factors as a backdrop, ask yourself ve questions to ensure you are being the best leader you can be as you manage your team from home. Am I being strategic enough? Strong leaders practice strategic communications in every interaction, be it a full-day meeting, anhour-long meeting, a sales call, a one-on-one check-in, or even an email. But communicating virtually requires even more strategic planning because you ca t rely as much on human connection or charisma to carry you. Before every exchange, take time to think about your purpose, audience, and the context of the exchange. Then write down your objectives, agenda, and the amount of time you want to spend on each item. It helps to make your objectives broader than usual. For example, what do you want the other person (or people) to feel after you talk? Challenge yourself to up the engagement quotient to make up for the d cit of face-to-face interaction. This means asking more questions during your interactions, 3 COPYRIGHT 2020 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. checking in with team members to make sure you are aligned, and leaving extra time for those moments to take place during presentations or group meetings. Have I revamped communication plans for my direct team and the organization at large? Moving operations virtual means that i s time to revisit and potentially revamp your communication protocols with direct reports, employees, board members, and any other audiences you regularly work with. For example, you must now think about how you will run your weekly check-ins with team members. Will you hold these meetings by phone, over slack, or schedule a video call? While best practice says video is best, you may need to adjust your approach based on the preferences of individual employees. The same goes for meetings with clients and other stakeholders. Using a table in a word document or Google Sheet can help you create a comprehensive plan for different types of meetings. Create at least four columns, including one for each of the below items: Mode of communication (i.e. video, phone, slack) Meeting cadence (i.e. weekly, monthly) Meeting agenda (i.e. team building, check-ins) Meeting participants (i.e. managers, board members) Fill out your table based on how you worked prior to moving virtual, then, revamp the entire plan to adjust to your current situation. As you begin to “revamp,” challenge everything you considered “best practice” before, from the size of your meetings to the time allotted. Ask: Should a video call be used for all announcements or can I simply write a status report to update the team? Do I need to schedule more check-ins with my direct reports to make up for the lack of being in person? Does that meeting that took an hour in the ce need to last the full 60 minutes online? Should each communication be followed by a detailed email summary to keep everyone on the same page? Looking at the entire plan will allow you to optimize it. How might I reset roles and responsibilities to help people to succeed? Some people thrive while working remotely, while others may feel a lack of motivation or encounter other unforeseen challenges. Though it may not be apparent who is struggling at rst, as a leader, i s your job to check in regularly with team members about how they are coping. During your one-on- ones, ask: “How are things going for you? What challenges are you facing? What do you think you need to be successful? How can I, or the team, help?” Through these discussions, re-evaluate each perso s strengths and weaknesses. You may nd that you need to shift responsibilities around or invest in training sessions for those who feel less comfortable. For example, one of your team members might excel at running meetings in-person, 4 COPYRIGHT 2020 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. but lack either the technical or facilitation skills to run them remotely. Or you may nd that you have an individual who participates actively during in-person meetings, but not as actively in virtual meetings. Because change like shifting a role and taking on new work can bring up sensitivities in people, i s important to frame any suggestions you make as opportunities for growth. By diagnosing your direct repor s strongest and weakest points, placing them where they can succeed, and providing them with guidance when they are struggling, you will not only help your team be more productive,you will be helping your employees develop. In these conversations, also be sure to ask for their feedback and thoughts with respect to how the team can improve. Remember that respect, authenticity, and caring are foundational to strong leadership. Am I keeping my eye on (and communicating about) the big picture? When yo re working remotely, i s easy to focus solely on the tactical, to stay glued to your computer, elding email after email, in an earnest, unorganized fashion. With your to-do list looming in front of you, and no colleagues to pull you out of your head, you may be tempted to stay buried in the weeds. But people rely on leaders for direction, especially during uncertain times. This means, no matter how many small tasks are clogging your calendar, you need to be able to pick your head up and keep one eye on the bigger picture. Be sure to carve out time to work “on” the business (strategy), as opposed to working “in” thebusiness (operations). Do this by blocking off time on your personal calendar to think about strategy. Or, if your thoughts are clear, schedule a strategy session with your team. Use this time to revisit fundamental questions about the business and organization, like: “Is our value proposition clear to our customers? Are there opportunities for us to improve our business model? Is our team engaged, productive, and inspired to do their best work?” Keep in mind this idea from Michael Porte s classic piece, ” What Is Strategy?” He wrote, “New [strategic] positions open up because of chang new needs emerge as societies evolve.” I s more than likely that the shifts you are experiencing during the Covid-19 crisis will present opportunities for your business, organization, and for you as a leader. In a time when i s easy to only be focused on defense, i s up to leaders to go on the offensive and be on the lookout for doors that might be opening. What more can I do to strengthen our company culture?I am continually struck by the stories I hear of teams growing even stronger during this time. Many ofthe most resilient leaders I work with have accomplished this by nding opportunities to align, engage, and inspire their teams around a purpose. Right now, teams need to feel connected, not only to the compan s mission but also to each other. One way to accomplish this is to regularly set aside time for team members to highlight and share wins delivered either to customers, each other, or to the business itself. If well-crafted, you can tie 5 COPYRIGHT 2020 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. the “bright spot” sharing to the compan s vision, mission, or values, reiterating the importance or the organizatio s purpose and the essential role that everyone plays in achieving it. If meeting time is tight, a slack page, a quick email or another type of non-verbal communication can also be used. To bring people together, you may also consider prioritizing some team building avenues that were less essential before. Many of our clients have begun conducting virtual social hours, meditation groups, art sharing clubs, team music performances, and tness challenges. While these options may not be for everyone, they are just a handful of examples we have seen initiate positive team dynamics. Even something as simple as starting a meeting by asking people to bring a video, a meme, or a photo that gives them joy can foster comradery and a needed laugh. Is there a silver lining to our current business environment? I would say, yes. The leadership skills you are building now will continue to serve you after Covid-19. There is no going back to exactly where we were before. New opportunities will open up maybe full virtual workforces on a level w ve never seen. And thanks to an unforeseen time in our history, yo ll be ready for it, with new skills in place to truly lead, whether from home or the ce, more effectively than before. Melissa R oni is CEO of The R oni Group, a boutique professional services rm that helps CEOs realize their highest ambitions while improving the quality of their personal and professional lives. She is recognized for her thought leadership in the areas of CEO ectiveness, strategy, execution, leadership and organizational alignment. COPYRIGHT 2020 HARVARD BUSINESS SCHOOL PUBLISHING CORPORATION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Copyright 2020Harvard Business Publishing. AllRights Reserved. Additional restrictions may apply including theuse ofthis content asassigned coursematerial. Pleaseconsult your institution’s librarianaboutanyrestrictions thatmight applyunder thelicense withyour institution. Formore information andteaching resources fromHarvard Business Publishing including HarvardBusiness SchoolCases,eLearning products,andbusiness simulations please visithbsp.harvard.edu.