Building and Managing Virtual Teams

Building and Managing Virtual Teams

US - High Performance TeamsIn today’s globalized economy many companies have to rely on the performance of their virtual teams in order to survive and prosper. From internal virtual teams composed of employees who live or work in many different geographical locations, to combined company-supplier or company-customer virtual teams, a great portion of the work in medium to large size organizations is accomplished by teams of people that may only know each other remotely and have little to no opportunities to meet in-person at all. Virtual teams are here to stay and companies need to learn to identify their challenges and manage their performance as part of their overall business strategy.

As with any other organizational model, virtual teams have their defenders and detractors. While some companies like Yahoo have chosen to disband their virtual teams for reasons still not well understood, most organizations have willingly or not embraced virtual teams as one of the fundamental ways to organize their employees in the workplace. Properly managed virtual teams can provide a number of benefits for organizations including diversity of ideas and experiences, follow the sun model, closeness to the customer base, direct lines into other organizational structures, and even personal and professional growth that can extend beyond the boundaries of the virtual team. On the other hand poorly managed virtual teams may experience substantial decreases in productivity caused by communication issues, cultural and management conflicts, trust and ethical challenges, Perhaps one of the biggest challenges faced by ERE is that companies as identified in an article from  is that actually their HR or recruiting do not have a lot of experience identifying the proper set of skills needed by virtual team managers. On their article John Zappe indicates that virtual team managers need to:

  1. Have great communication skills
  2. A strong work ethic
  3. Be consistent and reliable
  4. Learn to properly motivate and reward their employees
  5. Have experience as remote workers themselves
  6. Be aware of their employees cultural differences.
While many of these skills can be learned from regular work experience, in todays growing economy some companies may not have the luxury of waiting for their managers to learn them through trial and error. In addition any errors during those trials can substantially affect the company profitability, and or even create liabilities due to the inability of their management team to adapt to the challenges of working with virtual team members. Because of that in conjunction with ITIM International, we offer the Building and Managing Virtual Teams seminar to public and private organizations. The seminar provides managers and executives an overview of what is required to build and manage virtual teams in today’s agile work environment. For additional information or to schedule a seminar for your company please review the information below and/or contact us at any time using the form at the end of this article.
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Building And Managing Virtual Teams Course Outline:

Getting Started

  • Housekeeping Items
  • The Parking Lot
  • Workshop Objectives
  • Pre-Assignment
  • Action Plans and Evaluations


Setting Up Your Virtual Team (I)

  • Choose Self-Motivated People with Initiative
  • Face to Face Meeting At First
  • Diversity Will Add Value
  • Experienced with Technology
  • Case Study
  • Module Two: Review Questions


Setting Up Your Virtual Team (II)

  • Personality Can Count as Much as Skills
  • Rules of Engagement
  • Setting up Ground Rules
  • Icebreakers and Introductions
  • Case Study
  • Module Three: Review Questions


Virtual Team Meetings

  • Scheduling Will Always be an Issue
  • Have a Clear Objective and Agenda
  • Solicit Additional Topics in Advance
  • Discourage Just Being Status Reports
  • Case Study
  • Module Four: Review Questions


Communication (I)

  • Early and Often
  • Rules of Responsiveness
  • Face to Face When Possible
  • Choose the Best Tool
  • Case Study
  • Module Five: Review Questions


Communication (II)

  • Be Honest and Clear
  • Stay in Constant Contact
  • Don’t Make Assumptions
  • Setup Email Protocols
  • Case Study
  • Module Six: Review Questions


Building and Managing Virtual Teams

Contact Form

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Building Trust

  • Trust Your Team and They Will Trust You
  • Be Aware of “Us vs. Them” Territorial Issues
  • Share Best Practices
  • Create a Sense of Ownership
  • Case Study
  • Module Seven: Review Questions

Cultural Issues

  • Respect and Embrace Differences
  • Be Aware of Different Work Styles
  • Know Your Team Members Cultural Background
  • Dealing With Stereotypes
  • Case Study
  • Module Eight: Review Questions

To Succeed With a Virtual Team

  • Set Clear Goals
  • Create a SOP’s
  • Build a Team Culture
  • Provide Timely Feedback
  • Case Study
  • Module Nine: Review Questions

Dealing With Poor Team Players

  • Manage Their Results, Not Their Activities
  • Be Proactive Not of Reactive
  • Check in Often
  • Remove Them
  • Case Study
  • Module Ten: Review Questions

Choosing the Right Tools

  • Communication Software
  • Collaboration and Sharing Tools
  • Project Management Software
  • Use Whatever Works for You and Your Team
  • Case Study
  • Module Eleven: Review Questions

Wrapping Up

  • Words from the Wise
  • Review of Parking Lot
  • Lessons Learned
  • Completion of Action Plans and Evaluations


You can download here a sample of our

Building and Managing Virtual Teams Student Manual

About Jorge Mastrapa

Dr. Jorge Mastrapa is an international author, speaker, executive coach, and entrepreneur. His areas of expertise include cultural diversity, global leadership, organizational culture, and human capital management.

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