Managing Remote Teams for Engagement

“I am seeking advice on how to best keep a virtual team engaged, motivated, but also how to make sure that everyone is ok when social distance can easily lead to loneliness.”

The trend to remote working is unlikely to disappear. In the end, learning how to work more collaboratively and effectively online is likely to open up a world of new possibilities for the future.

Make these Overarching Management Strategies Explicit

  • Clarify roles, set explicit goals and processes
  • Foster a good team culture for communication and engagement
  • Designate which tools will be used for what operational purposes

With these main goals in mind, here are some of my top shared resources. I’m recommending these as a jumping off point as I have found them to ring true from my own virtual event facilitation and community of practice moderation experiences.

  1. This USAID Learning Lab resource is sectioned into three types of engagement tips (with columns for user personas) – one for Day to Day Tips for Building Strong Remote Teams and Engagement, one for During Team Meetings on Tips for Building Strong Remote Teams and Engagement and lastly Using Technology for Better Meetings. https://usaidlearninglab.org/sites/default/files/resource/files/remote_working_tipsheet_final.pdf
  2. As Julie Wilson points out in 2020 Harvard blog in “Managing a virtual team requires managers to double down on the fundamentals of good management, including establishing clear goals, running great meetings, communicating clearly, and leveraging team members’ individual and collective strengths.”
  3. Head on over to the Learning for Sustainability curated list of resources on Managing Virtual Teams. This outstanding compilation by Will Allen and Margaret Kilvington covers management and operations advice along with resources to help you improve communication cultures for better remote team engagement. https://learningforsustainability.net/managing-virtual-teams/
  4. Here’s a brief NPR listen on the essentials of staying connected – ways to be more social to combat the isolation of remote teams. This could spark ideas for ways to offer remote teams and members engagement in more social ways to beat remote working isolation. https://www.npr.org/2020/03/15/815973389/virtual-happy-hour-anyone-working-from-home-but-keeping-connected

This is a great time to pause and reflect to reorient everyone to bigger picture mission strategies and how their greater engagement improves impact and outcomes.

If you find a strategy that works for your remote team, share it here!

Because Most Can’t Do That Vulcan Mind Meld

Expert Mr. Spock and the Young Spock

Well heck yes! I’m aware that the mind meld thing is not actually occurring in this photo.  But the wise one is entrusting to the young one his deep smarts and legacy.

Wrapping up my Major Projects Knowledge Hub guest book choices for the month. Today I offer Critical Knowledge Transfer: Tools for Managing Your Company’s Deep Smarts.  

Ha!  See what I did there?  This week’s title builds directly from last week’s Deep Smarts, was also written by Leonard and Swap.  Keep that thread going.

The super sped-up scenes from the last episodes flash by now:  business mandates to explicitly transfer and retain deep expertise; newer thinking about best approaches in fostering a knowledge exchange and continuity culture; what are those deep smarts? Caught up?  Now back to today…

Dorothy Leonard, Walter Swap and Gavin Barton wrote THE book on knowledge transfer and – get excited – this is it!  How could I not bring it to you?

Leonard, et al. set out the basic challenge with these questions –“Why would you spend resources on the transfer? What exactly do you need to transfer? And who must be involved?  Why transfer knowledge? These questions can seem deceptively simple to managers. But these issues must be addressed with care before you will know which tools and techniques fit your particular situation.”

We’re not talking about building another knowledge base.  We’re not talking about another intranet.  We’re talking about soft-skill approaches to bring together  experts, nextperts and aspirationals in conversational, organic exchanges where know-how and why is surfaced and applied to solve complex challenges.

Critical Knowledge Transfer includes brief case overviews, papers and stories of approaches in diverse sectors and organizations. “ConocoPhillips 2012 MAKE Finalist”, Baker Hughes Integrated Operations, Monsanto, US Military to name a few.  Check out the “notes” section starting on page 201 for some clear and compelling references and examples of approaches.

Here’s a super visual that tells you more. Leonard, Dorothy. Critical Knowledge Transfer (p. 8). Harvard Business Review Press. Kindle Edition.

Liz McLean on Twitter @knowsaic  on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/efmclean/

Experienced-Based Wisdom Takes You Further: Deep Smarts

This book choice post first appeared on the Major Projects Knowledge Hub on September 18, 2019.  Liz will be posting book choices to the Facebook Group Major Projects Knowledge Hub throughout the month of September 2019.

Greetings, all! Jonathan Norman invited me to share some book choices with you this month. In hopes that they will spark some new ideas for your work, here’s this week’s share:

Leonard, D., and Walter Swap. Deep Smarts: How to Cultivate and Transfer Business Wisdom. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 2005. https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=19601

 

In my last two book choices, I outlined the ways that protecting or losing experienced based expertise know-how directly impacts distinctive competitive advantages.  I also used the term “deep smarts” frequently.  This book choice gets right into the heart of what that term means.

“Deep smarts are the engine of your organization.”

For my own work, I depend on Leonard and Swap’s book because of their own experiences, wisdom and know-how in this field.  Their own research and practical approach experiences are primary sources in the knowledge transfer and continuity management field.

Leonard and Swap explicitly highlight components and knowledge flow activities to successfully transfer experienced-based business expertise.  They demonstrate

  • The fundamental need to understand where expertise lives;
  • essentials of how to build expertise exchange cultures;
  • approaches to create knowledge transfer and continuity to engage and ensure that implied and tacit know-how become explicitly understood and brokered.

Give it a skim or a deep dive and then let me know what you think here or on twitter. @knowsaicNo photo description available.