Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Special considerations for directors and executives, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
When you consider remote teams as a director or executive, your focus will probably vary from that of a project manager or middle manager, which I discuss throughout this course. Let's examine four strategic elements from the senior leader's perspective. Cost and requirements trade-offs. Cost of facilities against salaries and talent. Contact with clients and cultural integration. First, let's focus on costs versus the clarity of requirements and objectives. When you're capitalizing on virtual team members there's an increased need for clarity in requirements and/or the objectives as communicating that information becomes more challenging when you're dealing with distance.
The difficulty with distance becomes acute when you are considering outsourcing product manufacture, customer service desks or software development. The cost savings may look tempting, but significant investment needs to be placed on specifications and education of your outsourced team. Particularly if it is off shore. Many outsource endeavors have created more problems than they solved when manufacturing specifications, processes, and materials were not clearly defined.
Or software requirements were not articulated in great detail before starting outsource development. Costs are a trade-off in my second consideration as well. In this case, the cost between facilities and/or salaries and the availability of appropriate talent. It can be quite tempting to look at the cost of your facilities and salaries in Chicago or in the northeast corridor of the US and yearn for the lower costs in places like Iowa or Arkansas.
That yearning can be quite fruitful if you can gain access to the skills you need in those areas or convince skilled people to relocate. When you add the first consideration we discussed, needing detailed requirements to this item, that rosy looking, inexpensive new office building can actually come with many hidden costs. Facilities in less costly areas can indeed help your bottom line, but proceed carefully to ensure you don't actually add cost and complexity to your business processes.
The third item to consider when considering virtual teams is the need to have your staff located in areas where your clients reside. The criticality of client relationships can be quite substantial. Enough to counter the costs I've discussed here when deploying virtual team members. This is a balancing of protection or growth of revenue with your clients against the costs of supporting remote resources. In these client relationship situations, spending the money to ensure your remote teams have the tools, technology, and communication facilities they need are pivotal to ensuring your remote teams can work effectively.
The last item to consider when evaluating the use of remote teams is the need to integrate with other cultures to facilitate corporate growth and expansion of your client base. You may be thinking about international cultures, but I truly believe this is relevant domestically as well. Placing a lifelong New Yorker into the deep south of the US can create a culture shock for everyone involved. If you're looking to expand your business into other areas of the country or internationally, deploying resources in your target geography can be critical to understanding the nuances of the culture and the local market.
It is never easy and there are trade-offs at virually every step, but deploying virtual teams can be fruitful and productive as I have discussed in this course.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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