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Team-building in global virtual teams

Teamwork and team spiritIn modern companies complex tasks are managed in teams, sometimes virtual teams. Why is that? Because the tasks are too complex to be managed by one individual. Most people would agree with the statement that team work is an essential part of today’s business world. But what does it take to make a really good team? Many team-building  event companies have been set up around the world with the aim of helping teams work better together by merging complex tasks or just having fun together. But are these events necessary, are they worthwhile? …

… Opinions differ. Most people tend to think they are nice-to-have but not really needed. More of an incentive than a necessity. And whenever travel or training budgets are cut, then these team-building events will be hit straight away.

On the other hand, what if you lead a global virtual team that rarely or never meets face-to-face? The idea of organizing a team-building event doesn’t even occur to most team leaders simply because of the distances that are involved – unless the budget is high enough to allow for everyone to meet in one place. In this case a shared evening dinner is often the only team-building event that the team will get to share. Is this enough? It is hard to say. I tend to say “no” because most of the time, you will not be able to speak to all of your team colleagues in any detail and will instead just speak to those sitting next to you at dinner. A coincidence. But at least it is a start.

But what if your team cannot meet face-to-face because of budgetary constraints? Are you going to have a virtual dinner?

Why is team-building important for global virtual teams? Well, the opportunities for local team members to interact informally and to get to know each other are vast. These range from meeting in the reception area, at the coffee machine or water dispenser, during the lunch break, in the parking area… Virtual teams, however, do not have these opportunities. So, if you want to lead a successful virtual team some sort of formal team-building is not just a nice-to-have but actually a requirement.

“But what can I do if my company does not give me the budget for a real meeting?” you might ask. And quite rightly too. In this case I would recommend a cross-cultural training event with team-building elements in the virtual classroom over a specified time frame. Team members get to know each other during group exercises and games and have the opportunity of discovering the human being behind the formal team member role. If this is done in a good way, then global virtual teams can not only be successful as local teams, but be even more successful because of their cultural diversity.

2 – 3 hours live-online per week over a period of around eight weeks can make your life as a leader of a virtual team so much easier, can make your team so much more successful. The investment in time and money is low but the outcome is very high. Try it out – you have almost nothing to lose.

I offer you the first two hours for free, and then it is up to you and your team to decide if you want to continue. You have no risk apart from two hours time investment from your team members…

Please feel free to contact me to discuss details and arrange an initial trial session for your global virtual team!