“You can’t fix a problem in Iraq with an 8,000 mile-long screwdriver!” proclaimed Terence BrakeTerry Brake in his session on collaboration in virtual teams, at the Conference on High Performing Global Teams. I’d never met Terry before but am a fan of his work – and just like his books – his session was filled with insights and practical information. As he described, no longer do we have a simple ‘work place’ but agile ‘workwebs’ that are virtual and protean. And, a global virtual team consisting of  people distributed across time and space, whose task it is to collaborate, is a form of this. Terry’s session focused on his integrated set of virtual team perfomance indicators…

Terry Brake BookThe six indicators are: Cooperation, Convergence, Coordination, Capability, Communication, and Cultural Intelligence. These ‘Six Cs’ help provide those working on global virtual teams with a common vocabulary for talking about, for example, team performance measures, developmental priorities and improvement strategies. This part of his presentation can be found in his book: Where In The World Is My Team, which I thoroughly recommend.

However, it was interesting to hear about his research on what distance does to teamwork. Virtual teamwork encourages individualism and less cooperation, along with perceptions of unfairness and a sense of paranoia that people are deliberately missing you out on communication or deliberately not replying to your emails. It would seem that reduced levels of commitment also contribute to this startling fact:  there is a 50% decline in project success when virtual teams are involved!

Currently, Terry is working on a new framework: developing individual adaptablility for working with different cultural orientations. As yet his work is unpublished so it would be inappropriate to review it here.

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This entry was posted on Monday, September 21st, 2009 at 12:34 pm and is filed under General, other interesting stuff, working internationally . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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