How Do We Sustain and Thrive as Remote Teams

I’ve Been Reading from Sonja Lyubromski’s work on Happiness we see that people become capable and self sustaining in the presence of role models. In other words great soccer players become great soccer players in the presence of great soccer players. The same can be said of great teams of any sort. We get better and we gain competency by observing and modeling the best on our team.

Now, as teams become remote and dispersed as we work from home offices, coffee houses and so on it raises some questions:

–   How do we help the new members of our team model the best on the team?
–   How does a new sales executive model a sales process if he doesn’t observe the best present it?
–   How does a tele-service representative working from home learn how to deal with a problem call with no peers to observe dealing with that same issue?

It is interesting how many organizations talk long and often about how “we are team players.” Or, “we operate as a team.” Yet, when it comes time to collaborate across time zones and locations, well it’s just not convenient. As leaders what can we do to foster teams in the remote nature of many of our jobs today?

I’ll share a story from my past. A few years ago, I was part of a team of mentors for new hires. Our role was NOT to manage these new sales team members rather it was to be their model on how to successfully sell our services.  My mentee called me his SME (Subject Matter Expert). We were tearing up the market when the company was acquired.
This worked remarkably well. The new players all came up to speed quickly, and were rapidly making sales for the organization.

This week one colleague was talking about his on line class and how difficult it is to get team members to get together at the same time to accomplish their projects. Everything was parceled out and done individually and then they would have to compile later.  I asked him this question. Are we losing something in the remote team environment?  His reply was practical. “It doesn’t matter; this is the way it is.”

What do you think? Do we accept it because this is the way it is: or is there a better way? What are you doing to foster your teams that are remotely dispersed?

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