Efficient virtual management: 7 success factors

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Virtual cooperation therefore lives from the few, but intensive face-to-face meetings such as digital “management by walking around”, in which the technology (Skype, chats, video conferences) is used for personal conversations. Virtual teamwork

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Roswitha A. van der Markt Roswitha van der marketRoswitha A. van der Markt is a management consultant and executive coach for HP, Siemens or SAP.


Kick-off meetings

Kick-off meetings are essential, especially at the start of a project, both in a two-on-one discussion as well as in the entire team, as well as in “fixed virtual team structures” and large global distribution meetings at least once or twice a year. Due to the “trust bonus”, the costs incurred are saved many times over with every virtual contact via Skype, chat or collaboration using Yammer, Lync.

Especially these cross-world meetings offer time and space to talk about differences, diversity in the team to open, to find common rules and procedures, but above all to weld the team together as people through fun and joint celebrations.

Listen and learn from each other

Listening is one of the most important skills for leadership and career in the digital age, - focused listening with “real” individual attention. Leadership in the digital world demands the ability to maintain an overview with high dynamics, to deal with the new variety of thinking and working styles and decision-making, to bring together capacities, to live values ​​and to promote personal ties. However, this takes time, personal openness and the courage to allow closeness in order to exchange preferences, goals, different approaches, to find solutions together and to learn from and with each other.

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Digitized forms of collegial cooperation therefore demand virtual ethics, emotional intelligence and training. Training for both the employee and manager. For example, only 87% of the 16% managers have received training for virtual work, and only in the handling of the tools. Virtually no one has dealt with the rules in Puncto communication, cooperation, ethics of a digital, culturally diverse cooperation.

The 7 success factors for virtual routing

  1. Mindful corporate culture: The values ​​of corporate culture provide the framework, the framework, the orientation, according to which rules and guidelines, for which Sense and purpose is worked together on a vision.
  2. Find “Adult Employees”: Team-oriented and with high self-motivation and self-control, which above all share the values ​​and vision of the company.
  3. Onboarding process: To invest a lot of time in the beginning: to give guidance and support to grow into the organization, to familiarize new employees with the structures, values ​​and objectives of the company. Clarify how IT and collaboration tools work. Where and how knowledge, documents and results are stored in knowledge and project databases. How communication is maintained, which wording, what reaction times are usual. How conflicts are communicated. Mentors from leadership and colleagues who are available for questions and support.
  4. Being interested in people and making clear goals: Feel and understanding of individuality: work style, preferences, personal priorities, basic conditions and objectives. Clarify the expectations of leadership, performance, growth opportunities, teamwork and approach. A mutual process to dismantle the discrepancy between self-perception and the perception of others on the part of both the executive and the employee, and to build up mutual understanding and appreciation.
  5. Trust employees and “let go”: If points 1 to 4 have been observed, the manager believes in the person and gives freedom, authority and delegation. She can “let go” with confidence in the result orientation and the sense of responsibility of the employee: trust is good - control is not better, but demotivating.
  6. Maintain intensive feedback culture, open communication based on partnership: Digital “management by walking around” - via Skype and visual collaboration tools, in which facial expressions and gestures can convey the respective mood. Open chat forums, wikis, digital boards where team members can quickly find out about the status and results 24/7 and bridge time differences, as well as knowledge databases in which knowledge such as lessons learned (positive error culture) is available at all times and for everyone is.
  7. Create a new meeting culture and strengthen the sense of community: In addition to personal face-to-face, weekly video or teleconferencing, there should be sufficient room for informal communication - without a goal, just for fun (virtual lunch, virtual coffee hour). At the weekly meetings, watch for global time shifts and balance the burden.

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