A globally integrated yet a locally strong organization creates a World Class Company. In line with my last article on World Class Companies, I am now taking up the discussion of Virtual Teams as a focal point for this issue.
A Virtual Team comprises of people across the globe connected to each other, over a technology backbone. This could be a combination of Internet, web-based interactions and other means of knowledge transactions spread over multiple time zones. The aspect of cross-cultural sensitivity and awareness of technology thus plays a key role in the success of these teams.
Virtual Teams are ideal for project situations and cross-functional teams. The key distinguishing factor here is that in physically collocated teams interaction levels are high and thus bonding and chemistry can be created. However, in virtual teams, the members may not have met, and yet they have to work effectively. As the members of the virtual networks are mostly experts in their own domain, organizations find this arrangement to be effective.
Virtual Teams are spread across continents and normally follow a Matrix based structure. The entry and exist of team members has to be properly planned, and a culture common to all has to be evolved. The key success factor is defining the key objectives, deliverables and rules of conduct. The main failure cause identified is the absence of a commonly accepted code of conduct and cross-cultural assumptions.
As Virtual Teams have experts located across the globe, it is the most efficient way of utilizing talent across different locations and countries to achieve specific business objectives. These teams improve productivity, quality, reduce costs of projects and also provide a great learning experience.
Should you thus be evolving as a World Class Organization having “Virtual Ready Teams” then surely you are on the path to success? Do talk to your people and find out how the concept of Virtual Teams can make your organization a productive World Class Organization?