“The nice thing about teamwork is that you always have others on your side.” — Margaret Carty
A lot of the work in today’s world is done through virtual teams (V-Teams.) As a project leader, it’s unlikely that you can always have everyone report to you. And as an individual contributor, it’s a common scenario that to get things done, you have to influence other people.
Knowing how to V-Team with skill helps you make things happen. It’s also one of the best ways to scale your impact. When you partner and pair with other people, you can bite off more than you can chew alone. With a V-Team, you have a team of capabilities versus a team of one.
Here is a seven step process for building effective V-Teams from one of my mentors with a proven track record …
7 Steps for V-Teaming
Here is a recipe for getting things done with v-Teams:
- Identify what you want to accomplish. (your goal)
- Build agreement around common goals.
- Identify who owns what. (Stakeholder Map)
- Gain visibility and ownership. (who will do the work)
- Identify the plan. (how and when will the work get done)
- Report the status.
- Arrive at the goal.
Here are some additional ways to improve your success as a V-Team Maestro:
- Set visibility and context first. Why are you are doing what you are doing? Examples – you see integration points, shared problems, or ways to achieve shared wins.
- Get clarity on stakeholders and who owns what. If they own, but don’t care, then figure out who are the right folks to get acting on this.
- Use status and tracking as your friend. Progress builds momentum. Know who’s signed up for what, and know what’s on the line. (Don’t wait until people drop the ball.)
- Report status in a meaningful way. Map status back to what stakeholders care about.
- Get agreement. You can’t hold people responsible if they did not agree.
- Use email when it’s efficient, but stop when it’s not effective. Go until it fails. If it’s not working, change the technique. Some things have to happen face-to-face or a phone call.
- Maximize your joint pool of resources. Find ways to get synergy and exponential results or eliminate inefficiencies.
- Get sponsorship and support. There are always setbacks, but an angel or two can help you over the humps.
- Evaluate your approach based on the situation. Be intellectually aware — it’s people, not a task force. Focus on the intent, and find better ways to arrive at the goal.
Photo by lululemon athletica.