When starting up a remote or distributed team it is important to look at all angles. Nothing ever goes quite as planned and Murphy’s law is never far away. One of the reasons for this could be that our thinking is too narrow.
I hear organisations talk about the ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ issues, which is such a good place to start. There are several great reports available on the importance of bringing together Human Resources and IT teams to create effective virtual teams. Only, this approach isn’t quite enough.
The risk is the same risk that presents itself when you choose a bike to take you long distances, rather than a car. A two-wheeled vehicle certainly has a lot going for it but the more sophisticated option will take you much further and be a more enjoyable ride.
So what is the sophisticated option when it comes to starting a virtual team? It is seeing effective virtual work arrangements as a work system. A work system has many moving parts, all of which come together to create an output that your organisation is looking for.
The work system approach is a much better description of what happens in organisations that implement virtual teams effectively: they take care of implementation from the top down and the bottom up, seeing it as a leadership, management and employee issue.
They look at their processes and activities, people, flow of information, technologies, and their environment and infrastructure and consider how virtual teams will interact with these. Human Resources and IT teams play a starring role – and it is important that they work together if you’re going to get great outcomes – but neither is tasked with the lead.
Don’t let your thinking about your virtual team be limited to the marriage of HR and IT.
This blog was first published by First 5000.