Managing a Virtual Team
10 Items to Include on your Virtual Team “Kick-Off” Meeting Agenda
When you bring your virtual team together for the first time, start off with a kick-off or project initiation meeting. If you don’t have the resources to bring your team together for an in-person, face-to-face meeting then host the kick-off meeting face-to-face via video conferencing.
Be enthusiastic, smile and make eye contact with your team. Let them see you in your online work environment. Host the online “kick-off “meeting with a video conferencing platform that allows all team members to interact and see each other face-to-face. Google Hangouts is an excellent platform for small to medium online businesses. Meeting, seeing each other and responding to the non-verbal communications via camera will help your online team to bond quicker.
Come prepared with an agenda and some virtual team ice-breakers to set the scene for your online kick-off meeting. Record the meeting so it can be saved and shared with new virtual team members as they come on board with the team at a later date.
Things to cover in your virtual team “kick-off “ meeting include …
- Team vision, goals and objectives.
- Virtual Team Introductions – Online Team Members and Stakeholders. Get creative and have fun with this one. If it is appropriate for your virtual team you could have each person prepare a 30-60sec video introduction of themselves to share with the rest of the team
- Clear outline of Virtual Team role expectations and lines of communications
- Discuss the virtual team diversity and the gains associated with the online team diversity
- Facilitate an open discussion about the unique challenges a virtual team faces working together and how to overcome the challenges. Encourage each virtual team member to contribute to the session. Ask them to share the challenges they have faced as a virtual team member and possible suggestions to overcome the challenges.
- Virtual Team Communication Standards. Communication needs special attention in a virtual team. Discuss solutions to time zone and language differences. Set response standards in place and be clear about expectations. When will the team meet? When will each team member be available online? What platforms will be used to communicate? Etc.
- Virtual Team Systems, Standards, Tools and Processes to be used in achieving the team goals. Document management, team collaboration tools and online systems need to be discussed here. You may want to give a brief overview at the meeting, then arrange a “virtual tour” of your systems and tools on a separate occasion based on the specific team needs. If you run the “virtual tour” live be sure to video the session and store in in your collaboration portal for others to access.
- Virtual Team Reward and Recognition Program. It’s easy for virtual workers to feel isolated and unsupported. Have a program place that rewards individuals and the virtual team as a whole for a job well done.
- Question & Answers
- Set the time for the next virtual team meeting. Regular, well planned and meaningful online meetings will work better than rare, long-winded marathon meetings.
Most virtual team workers I speak to dread showing up for virtual team meetings. Many remote workers are showing up for these meetings outside of usual work hours, perhaps taking time out from family and friends to meet with other team members across the globe. When they show up for these virtual meetings, they want to know that it’s not going to be a waste of their time. When they show up and the virtual team leader isn’t prepared for the meeting, when there is no direction or structure to the meeting and outcomes are never implemented – then pretty soon you’re going to have a very demotivated virtual team.
How do you keep your virtual team members showing up willingly and engaged in your virtual team meetings?
Planning and managing your virtual team meetings is absolutely imperative to your virtual team success. Tony Buzan, the creator of Mind Mapping shows how meetings can be managed using iMindMap to be more effective – saving time by helping team leaders reach decisions, record and implement team actions using colour and creativity.
Plan your virtual meeting agenda in advance
To keep your virtual team engaged and alert have your meeting agenda mapped out on screen. Get creative and use color coding to plan your agenda. By planning your agenda, you are giving your virtual meeting a clear focus, not only for yourself as the meeting leader, but for the attendees as well. With your agenda mapped out in front of you, it is more likely that your virtual meeting will stay on track (which can be a challenge for virtual teams meeting online from various locations all around the world). The radiant layout of a Mind Map gives you a pre-structured framework, allowing you to freely explore and capture your ideas without getting lost in the detail.
Keep your virtual team engaged in the meeting
There is nothing worse than showing up for a virtual meeting when the chairperson or virtual team leader is not motivated and prepared for the meeting. Remember, some of your virtual team workers may be linking in at very “ungodly” times due to timezone differences. You want all your virtual team members to want to show up for the virtual meeting, ready to contribute and ready to be engaged in the meeting. Make a Mind Map of what the meeting attendees need to prepare beforehand, and share it with them prior to the meeting. Mind Maps only include keywords, so the important ideas are conveyed and relevant associations occur instantly.
Keep track of implementation actions
During the virtual meeting, refer to the Mind Map agenda and simply build upon this to capture the minutes. This will give your meeting a solid framework you can refer to, to ensure that all points are covered. For every topic you discuss, add a branch for each action point to highlight what needs to be done to achieve the objective. Because of the radiating layout, you can keep adding details to your Mind Map without losing a coherent structure. Once you have added all of the details to your map, share it with the relevant parties to ensure that plans, decisions and actions are clearly communicated and acted upon.
When was the last time you actually rewarded your virtual team or remote workers for a job well-done? You may have thought about doing something a number of times, but put it in the “too hard basket” or the “I’ll do it later” basket.
The reasons WHY virtual team leaders don’t reward their team working virtual
There are a number of reasons you might fail to reward your virtual team workers. Do you fit into any of the following categories?
- You haven’t even thought about it
- You have thought about it but, haven’t actually got around to doing it
- The virtual worker could be a sub-contractor so you don’t feel the need to reward them, because they are just doing their job and you’re paying them anyway.
- You’re stuck for ideas on what to send someone who is working virtually
The reason Why A virtual team reward and recognition program should be incorporated into your overall virtual team management plan
Virtual team members often feel isolated and can be easily forgotten because the virtual team leader and other remote team workers are not connecting with them face-to-face on a daily basis.
Building a sense of unity amongst remote virtual workers can be a challenge. By rewarding your team, you help them to focus on a united purpose and share in the rewards together.
By rewarding your virtual team workers you’ll build team morale, the virtual team will WANT to continue to work with you, you’ll be seen as a true virtual team leader and virtual team turnover will be reduced, helping you to retain valuable skill-sets and information within your team.
When you are looking to reward the efforts of your virtual team, you need a gift solution that …
- Can be quickly and easily purchased online
- Can be delivered to your virtual team member no matter where they are located in the world (online or in person)
- Available in a variety of prices ranges
QUICKEST AND EASIEST Gift Idea for Remote Virtual Workers: The Ultimate Virtual Team Gift Idea
Here we have the ultimate virtual team gift idea that ticks all the boxes above. Start building your virtual team morale and arrange a gift for your remote workers now – it’s easy, quick and will give you great return on your virtual team investment …
- Do you find yourself repeating the same information to different individuals?
- Is there confusion about who’s doing what in your virtual project? You talk to one person and they think the “other person” is doing it.
- Do you have trouble locating your documents, and then when you finally find what you want >> you’re not sure if it’s the latest version!
- Do you sometimes think you’ve told someone something, only to find out they don’t know what the heck you’re talking about!
- When a key player is no longer working with your online business, do you spend hours re-explaining your systems or retraining a replacement
Warning >>> your virtual business could be losing money, valuable information and paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary retraining and rework!!
In a virtual, online working environment there is a special need for the skills and on-going learnings of the organisation to be captured and retained. Especially when individuals are often working across different time zones.
Having information systems in place in ANY work environment is absolutely essential to the success and smooth operation of a business. In a typical work environment, people will see each other face-to-face, share information freely when they meet at the water cooler or when they head out together for a business lunch.
However, in a virtual work environment when you are not having that daily, face-to-face interaction, systems become even more important.
Your virtual team needs to have established systems and processes in place that will ensure when an individual team member discovers valuable information about her tasks, client information, areas for system improvement, changes to processes etc. – then other team members can be updated and informed regardless of what time, or what place they are working from.
Here’s 4 important ways to make sure you capture and retain information across your entire virtual team…
#1 Establish An Online “Real Time” Collaborative Information Portal For Your Team
There are hundreds of systems available online. Do your research – find a tool that suits your business size, style and structure. Take advantage of trial offers to make sure they work for your business . Continue reading
Team Building slideshow to share with your Virtual Team
Remind each and every member of your remote team, working virtually (sometimes in an office on their own) that they are a valued member of a worldwide team of people.
All working together towards one vision.
These are our top 10 picks for motivational team building quotes.
Share the slideshow with your virtual team >>
As a virtual business owner or virtual team leader, do you ever feel completely frustrated with your team? Do you sometimes feel that you’re just not in tune with them? They aren’t listening to you and never seem to be available to you. Perhaps you feel because they can’t physically see you, then they don’t even see you as their virtual leader or manager.
You know, part of the problem could be you. You could unknowingly be sabotaging your success as a virtual business owner. Let’s start with these three things that you could be doing…
#1 Showing up late (or not showing up at all) for appointments with members of your international virtual team
I am based in beautiful Australia down under. Many of our clients operate from the other side of the world. When it comes to making appointments with international business partners or virtual team members there needs to be some “give and take” or compromise by all parties as far as setting a virtual meeting time.
Depending on where your international team members are located, someone on the team may have to make special arrangements to meet very early or very late. BUT >>> what if YOU don’t show or arrive early. That can get pretty annoying for virtual team members. Imagine waiting for a client to show up for a 10pm appointment, only to have them show up late or not show up at all.
It’s just plain rude and shows a real lack of respect. If you want virtual team members to respect you, then remember, that a virtual meeting is still a meeting and in many cases team members have made special arrangements to attend at the designated time. So SHOW UP, be present and don’t be late!
I know you are probably getting bombarded with “What are you doing in 2012” emails. Even though there are a lot of reminders hitting your email box, don’t discard the spirit of the message. I love this saying:
“Business don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan”…Anonymous
Yes plans are important. Managing your team and strategic outsourcing should form part of your planning process. If you are anything like me my business plans are BIG. Wow I am going to accomplish so much in the next year and then 3 months into the year what happens? You are in a hole totally overwhelmed by your plans.
I am not going to tell you I have this problem licked, because when you have a team, you just create bigger plans and so the problem can be the same. In fact, it can be a huge negative on your team morale when your plans are unreasonably too big. Continue reading
Are you an online marketing entrepreneur? Do you run an online small business? Do you have a team of loyal virtual assistants working with you? OR perhaps you don’t just yet have a team, but the idea of having the support appeals to you?
Then…you NEED to read this. Why? Because IF you manage your virtual team the right way, and if you take care of your virtual team properly, it will mean your freedom, your security and your success. If you can keep your team excited about your business, then your business will not only continue to grow, but it will continue to grow the easiest way possible.
If you’re too busy to bother with your team and all this virtual team building “nonsense”, and feel you don’t have time to read the entire article, I highly recommend you skip straight to the 3 action points at the bottom. You’re going to need them!
Here are three ways you can do it…Starting TODAY. Continue reading
“I’m feeling like absolute rubbish. I’ve worked my butt off – tried so hard and nothing is ever good enough. I’m not appreciated. They take me for granted. It’s time to move on.”
Chances are – if you’ve got a loyal virtual assistant on your team, who’s been around for a while, they’ve said that about YOU. Yep you!
Sure you might think you’re doing your best – but is that enough? You need to take good care of your team. And especially take care of those that have been with you for a while.
Here’s some insider tips on how to keep them happy and on your team …