Seventhman Blog

  1. Managing Virtual Teams: Five Keys to Success

    "virtual team management"Do you believe that teams working remotely can outperform those who work in the same location?  Virtual collaboration is shifting from trends to norms as more people are working from anywhere in the world.  They all have to thank mobile technology with this new-found freedom.  There’s no denying that we are entering the age of the global workforce and soon, team members working in the same cubicle will be obsolete.  We see teams working from their homes, across cities and even across the globe.  Everyone works independently this time.  Aren’t we so lucky to live in such a digitally-connected world?

    The Fallacy of Face-to-Face Meetings

    While it is undeniable that nothing beats the usual way people meet to brainstorm and synergize, leading teams across different time zones and conquering cultural divides can be felt in the virtual world.  Small businesses are taking advantage of running a virtual team as it means flexibility and minimal cost.  Though studies have found that collaboration across distance is tougher to manage, it is manageable still.  Proximity may promote frequent communication, but it can also be a hurdle when trying to accomplish complex tasks that need more focus.  A good example is those in the research and development industries, where their network of operations are scattered across the globe as they compete and work towards excellence.  The degree of expertise in these teams are more extensive, where they can work for the same goals while having a higher tolerance for diversity.  This diversity may cause problems in communication but overall, it enhances problem-solving skills so everyone can come up with a faster and better solution for a particular project.

    How You Can Lead a Virtual Team to Succeed Anywhere in the World

    I have worked with virtual teams for over two decades now and managing people in dispersed teams means helping them realize their potentials.  There are many socio-emotional barriers to cross and making sure that your remote team commits to your business goals is a learning process, even after this long.  What’s the secret formula?  There is NO secret! The future of work starts with having people skills so you can create trust, connection, communication, collaboration and commitment among them.  You have to:

    1. Place trust at the heart of your work relationship with your virtual team and employ strategies for building relationships over time

    2. Promote the idea of self-leadership among your team, so they can be self-sufficient in managing their work

    3. Set expectations early by communicating with your team what you expect for them to accomplish – from work hours, deliverables, status reports, to conference calls

    4. Stay virtually connected by utilizing platforms like Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangout and many more.. It’s all about creating an online water cooler for your team to feel that they’re stepping into the office.  It’s all about sharing ideas and breaking the ‘virtual ice’.

    5. Use new technology wisely as there are a plethora of tools available for you to use in managing your virtual team

    It all comes down to RESPECT.. and 360 degrees of communication at all levels.  By fostering a global mindset among your team, everyone will feel that they are part of something bigger than their geographic location.  This will make them respect the diversity of work, its schedules and stay committed to each other in meeting deadlines.  The degree of competitiveness lessens and collaboration heightens.

    Are you ready to keep your team together?  

    Bottomline is – the workplace has changed and we all have to adapt to survive and thrive.

  2. The New Way of Doing Business

    With the economic recession pushing many businesses to outsource, many are faced with the exciting prospects of global outsourcing in the new world economy.  Those who are already in the outsourcing world knows that there will always be new opportunities and challenges to be faced.  The global marketplace is shifting towards hiring virtual teams from all over the world, cutting down on huge costs brought about by doing business the traditional route.  As the year opens to a new hope, there is also a greater demand for quality and value at lower costs.  This and more will be addressed at the  Outsourcing World Summit to be held by the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals ( IAOP ).

    FACT: Several industries in the US have permanently shifted to offshore outsourcing to fuel their businesses.  No one is immune to this trend and many are jumping into the bandwagon for the sake of minimum costs with the extra benefits.

    What Global Outsourcing Trends Should You Watch For?

    1.  Focus on Value

    Unlike before when there is a huge demand for the lowest hourly rates, businesses are now more results-oriented, where value or quality matters.  The rise from last year’s economic slump means stronger finances and the ability to pay for better services.

    2.  Flexible Deals

    There is still uncertainty in the global economy and many businesses will play it safe by engaging in short-term, flexible contracts.  The fear of the unknown still lingers.  From the point of service providers, this uncertainty will force partnerships or teams to be created, where offers will definitely be competitive.  There will be various pricing models that will meet the needs of both businesses and remote workers alike.

    3.  Increase in Hire

    Since many small businesses will join the global outsourcing arena, many remote workers will be hired from locations outside the United States.  We can see the rise of new outsourcing locations such as Central America, South America, and China.

    4.  New Technologies

    As businesses try to bridge the gap between geographical borders and time zones, newer technologies and tools will come into play, giving better communication and computing services for both clients and service providers.

    5.  Paradigm Shift

    With the increase in global outsourcing practices comes global corporate and social responsibility.  Governments will be forced to toughen regulations in outsourcing to ensure that fair business practices are met.

    6.  Tougher Competition

    Doing business globally opens a huge list of competitors in the market.  With the emergence of new global outsourcing destinations comes tougher competitions based on services and rates.  There will be an increase in professional certifications and training programs that will make any service provider more valuable than the rest.

    7.  Better Quality Metrics

    Unlike traditional outsourcing that is based on performance metrics, there will be more transparency in the way business will be done.  There will be better ways in measuring the value a business gets from offshore or outsourced teams, which will help resolve issues before and during the project work stage – and not after results are completed.

    Nothing is ever constant in the world of global outsourcing and by watching out for the latest trends, you put your business a step forward, above the rest.  One thing’s for sure:  Competition will definitely increase.  Stay Vigilant!