A quick Google search for ‘how to achieve virtual team success’ will yield no fewer than 233,000,000. Yes, you read that right. That’s hundreds of millions.
And even a cursory glance will round up the usual listicle suspects – trust, communication, et al. However, there are a few unsung heroes – the often overlooked but equally noteworthy ingredients – of virtual team success.
The Secret Ingredients for Having Virtual Team Success
For a buzzword like ‘culture,’ it’s easier to say what culture isn’t than to try and define what it actually is – or at least should be. Culture is decidedly not ping pong tables, fully-stocked beer fridges, and nap pods. Though admittedly, those things are decidedly awesome.
Forbes defines company culture as ” … something that is pre-existing in your company’s genetic code; it’s not something that employees bring with them … instead, they [business owners] seek out those individuals who they feel would be a good match with their existing vision for the company.”
But for many working or leading remotely, culture is often overlooked, relegated to a brick-and-mortar fantasy. But PLOT TWIST: Company culture isn’t limited to physical spaces. That’s like saying a family can’t be a family unless everyone sleeps under one roof. In fact, culture is what occupies all the nebulous, intangible spaces of a company’s spirit; it’s their je ne sais quoi. (No shame if your French needs a little refresh.)
Unlike a physical environment, a cultural environment isn’t something that you can see, taste, touch, or smell; it is the only environment that you can feel. It’s that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you dread going to work, or the excitement you feel when you’re actually eager to go to work.
And a vibrant culture is what makes that giddiness possible. It should be inextricably linked to your vision, and by design, your team can willingly – and enthusiastically – embody that. It’s a hum. A verve. A vibe.
Need inspiration? Here are seven things you can do to jump-start your culture.
‘No (wo-)man is an island.’ – John Donne
It’s so easy – really, far too easy – to forget that remote employees don’t exist in vacuums, despite what geography and 9-to-5 brick-and-mortar relics may have indoctrinated us to believe from very early on.
Because just as culture isn’t defined by – or limited to – brick-and-mortar spaces, remote employees are just that: employees. Or as Donne goes on to explain, ‘… every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.’
Thankfully, we live in a time where ‘there’s an app for that.’ And a software. And a platform. And a website. And the list goes on and on. With the right systems and processes in place to structure, support, and encourage team coordination, you can then leverage everyone’s individual strengths.
And as we’ve mentioned, just a few small tweaks, upgrades and subtle shifts in tools, focus and attitude can yield big results for those who lead the charge. Fortune does favor the bold, after all.
In fact, here are five burgeoning technologies and tools to help your virtual team collaborate, streamline, enhance, and improve their work – together.
We know, we know. We preach from this pulpit often. Maybe it’s overkill. Or maybe – just maybe – we’re onto something here. Are we crazy?
Crazy like a fox, we say.
Why? Because as luck would have it, delegation is actually part and parcel to one of the most frequently touted tips for a successful virtual team: trust.
Yup, that’s right: Trust and delegation are virtual team success BOGO ingredients.
To lead a virtual team effectively, you must trust your team to do that for which they were hired. Because you can tell someone you trust them, but if you’re not putting your money – and their paycheck – where your mouth is, it amounts to nothing more than lip service.
Trust is a currency. And just like a currency, it can be earned and saved over time – and depleted in seconds.
So how can leaders show their trust? Delegation. The kind of delegation that entrusts people with key projects, offering support only as needed. This, incidentally, also benefits from the same compounding, multiplying effect as currency – the more you invest and entrust, the more you equip the employees of today to be the great leaders of tomorrow.
Delegation shows your virtual team that you trust them; your actions say, ‘I trust you to do a good job.’
Listen. You know us. We weren’t about to slap some run-of-the-mill listicle together for you because we’re no run-of-the-mill kind of work family. Our company is founded on out-of-the-box thinking; radical ideas that status quo and ’how things have always been done’ are often dated – and deserve to be turned on their heads. (Um, hello Third Option.)
So join us, if you will, for a workplace revolution. VIVA LA REVOLUCIÓN!