The power of virtual teams to respond quickly to corporate challenges, pooling both broad and deep expertise, has become an important key to corporate success. However, to get the most from the vast experience, knowledge and perspective of dispersed team members, you need to use the strength of a vision to bring the team together, leveraging the opportunity to ensure that every person fully understands and embraces their purpose and the role they (as well as those of their team mates) play in organizational success.
In an environment where team members do not have the luxury of interacting face to face, creating a living, breathing shared vision is the solid foundation on which to build a sound structure. A “virtual” vision serves several purposes: 1) It forces the team to collaborate to evaluate its fundamental attributes and characteristics as a dispersed unit 2) It establishes boundaries that guide strategy and 3) the vision establishes implicit expectations and standards of performance.
A vision for dispersed teams will also:
- Provide focus and energy for overcoming traditional corporate cultures that promote a “HQ is best” mentality
- Encourage people to shift from a nationalistic or functional culture to a global perspective
- Compel new ways of thinking and acting… as a global entity
- Provide a roadmap to keep the virtual team on course when tempted to regress toward old habits
- Create a powerful commitment to inspire team members to commit to accomplishing things that matter deeply to them – the vision becomes personal and creates a “third” culture.
- Facilitate change, promoting the acceptance of collaborative thinking.
When creating a vision for a virtual team, consider some key factors: