There are many reasons to engage a consultant to work with establishing and maintaining your virtual teams. The most common reasons being that the managers and leaders running virtual teams are often inexperienced with the approach, the management is tasked with and generally focussed on the tactical day to day issues of delivering their work, not the strategic perspective of honing the team to get the best from it, and as the virtual teams approach is still relatively new to many organisations there is far less of a body of corporate knowledge and corporate history assembled.
A consultant specialising in virtual teams however does not carry the responsibility of delivering the day to day business outputs, the consultant is purely concerned with helping the engaging organisation build and maintain the virtual team, the consultant comes with a wealth of experience from studying and working with other virtual teams, experience that is not part of the normal skill set of the host organisations management. In short, virtual teams consulting should add greatly to the organisation’s bottom line, the virtual team’s productivity, and effectiveness, and the sense of well being of the organisation, without distracting the corporate personnel from achieving their objectives.
When it comes to virtual teams consulting, there is no one size fits all, there are generalists and specialists, with the organisation selecting the services needing to consider their needs before committing one way or the other. There are large numbers of organisational and behaviorally focussed generalists, often from HR backgrounds who can help support development of virtual teams, but they will only ever be able to give general guidance based on second or third hand observation, where a specialist with a focus purely on virtual teams and will give specific experience and knowledge rarely available through generalists.
Using a specialist for virtual teams consulting should bring a number of advantages to the organisation;
- With experience and knowledge from working with other virtual teams, the specialist should be able to advise on the best ways to set up your team, to establish lines of communication and develop trust between team members and groups.
- A specialist with experience of working with virtual teams should be able to advise with authority on issues such as; structuring the teams and workflow to get the best from the organisation, the personality types that will thrive in specific roles in your virtual teams, how best to allocate work amongst your virtual team centres and the development and use of budgets for travel and communication tools. On the other hand, a generalist is often inexperienced in the specific needs of a virtual team approach and consequently will not be able to speak with the authority needed to convince management of the right ways to approach issues associated with establishing and running the teams.
- A specialist in virtual teams consulting can be brought into your team as needed to complete a specific task then stood down until needed again, saving the organisation the cost of hiring a full-time person for the role. The consultant can then be kept on a retainer to advise as needed.
- Providing mentoring and coaching for new team members, leaders, and management to help them better understand the different challenges associated with working virtually.
Used correctly, virtual team’s consultants should add greatly to the predictability of outcomes, help to reduce employee conflict, fatigue, burnout and turnover and deliver substantial returns on investment to the organisation.
If you want to talk to Ulfire about how we can help you establish, grow, and lead your virtual teams, please contact us, we will be happy to discuss any issues you may be facing.
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