Building Effective Virtual Teams
AUGUST 1-3, 2007
Workshop, Wallenberg Hall, Stanford University
This intensive workshop featured leading-edge research answers for companies using teams in multiple locations, especially off-shored or outsourced teams. New tools and methodologies as well as key research conclusions for what works and, importantly, what has been awkward, difficult or even disastrous were covered. Participants were expected to share their own approaches, results, and current concerns. Discussion was wide-ranging.
The impetus for Media X to conduct this workshop grew out of Media X research that revealed an astonishing set of facts – more than a million professional workers at six large multi-national high-technology firms were part of a study which showed that three quarters of these workers work weekly with colleagues “at a distance”, often on another continent. Two-thirds of this group work on three or more such “teams” in parallel. More importantly for the sociology of leadership and team contribution, twenty percent have never met their direct supervisor face-to-face, and half of them never expect to do so.
Among the key questions the workshop was designed to address were – Can you say “no” to your boss’ idea if you have never met face-to-face? Can you expect promotion as easily if you have never met? How do you persuade a group for scarce resources for a project if you’ve not met? Tools and techniques to aid these difficult interfaces, as well as methods and experiences in this realm, were brought and described to the practitioners who attended.