How to Work with Global Teams

How to work with global teams? Leaders across the ages have wrestled with the ideal way for teams to deliver best performance. And this challenge just got more challenging with the advent of global and virtual teams. Having worked with many global companies here are some guidelines for keeping in touch using web technology so that even remotely you can inspire and motivate. I have listed some tips on how to work with global teams.

6 Global Team Tips

Get the hiring process right. If starting a new team or hiring a new team member start where possible with a face to face meeting. The ‘getting to know you’ is accelerated. If using psychometrics (which every good leader should use, global or not) carry out the debrief face to face. So much can be misunderstood if tests are not fully explained and those on the receiving end can think the results immutable which they are not. However psychometric profiles are a great short cuts to understanding strengths, working out’ team fit’ and a huge help in understanding how to target individual motivation and communication. Sharing CV s, photographs and perhaps, if everyone agrees, their psychometric test results help to create relationships

Use all appropriate communication tools at your disposal. If communicating via video, tele or internet conferencing meetings require to happen more regularly than office based meetings. You can bump into people when under the same roof but if the only bumping is by task focussed email then your team will feel starved of support.

Ask the team to use video. Looking at an empty profile cut out while trying to engage is challenging. If a team member consistently refuses to use video I might want to pursue why that might be. If wearing pyjamas they can simply focus the camera at their head and shoulders

Make it fun. So many leaders I talk to find it a challenge to make their global team interactions fun. They are all too aware that team members could be playing Sudoku, washing the dishes or perhaps even working for someone else while they are ‘present’ at a teleconference.  The leader ends up doing all the talking in a frenzied stand- up comedian way trying to be ‘internet inspirational’. Providing an agenda and getting the team to complete work in advance and present their findings succinctly all help to make these virtual meetings more compelling.

Capture ideas. How you capture team ideas for change and build on them from a distance is a challenge so I searched for and discovered a great online post it device at en.linoit.com. There is a ‘lino’ board online and you are provided with different post it colours and everyone can post ideas on the team board during the meeting. Try it out. Fun and involvement at a stroke.

Evaluate constantly. An online anonymous questionnaire allows a snapshot of how a team is feeling about their support. You can also monitor the number of ideas received and problems solved by the team. And of course take immediate action if they are unhappy.

I hope this quick guide gives you some pointers on how to work with global teams. Maintaining small groups within smaller company structures seems to work better in delivering consistent and innovative performance. And let’s face it nowadays we are asking teams to do more with less, do things differently all the time and at a distance. So keep asking how it’s going.

If you would like to get help with your existing on-site or globally distributed virtual team, then get in touch and talk to us about our Team Coaching programme. Team Coaching is a programme specifically designed for those who work within a team. The effectiveness of a team’s output and performance can succeed or fail because of team dynamics. By identifying different personalities and enabling the team to recognise their own strengths and limitations, Team Coaching with RTC can make a tremendous difference to work skills, camaraderie, loyalty, commitment and, critically, productivity.