13 Sep The ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome that effects ‘virtual’ teams
Even though these teams are operating across different locations, and in many cases across different time-zones, they are still expected to be high performing. Of course distance and time magnifies the challenges that virtual teams face.
Teams operating virtually can suffer from, what I call, an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome whereby the team’s commitment to their purpose, their goals, the ways in which they work and their accountability are all being eaten away by distance.
If you operate in a virtual team and your think your effectiveness is being ground down by the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ syndrome I’d recommend conducting a ‘team health check’- checking all the team’s vital signs (see footer for more detail*) to assess where the dysfunctions are occurring and how to fix them.
Once a team begins to unravel, it requires strong management, desire and honest conversation to get it back on track. And it’s not easy to fix a team if you’re in that team – your objectivity is naturally compromised.
The solution is to draft in someone from outside the team to facilitate the process and get the team back on a firm footing. There are some great tools out there to support the process too. I particularly like one called ‘Purposeful Teams’ which is excellent for unearthing the dysfunctions of a team and rebuilding the strong foundations from which a virtual team can soar.
If you’d like a sounding board or some advice about your virtual team please get in touch. It’s what I do.
*Common dysfunctioning vital signs include:
– Connecting to the team’s purpose – focus on the reason for team’s existence can fade and with it the commitment and engagement to the goals to be achieved.
– The working approach isn’t working – roles, habits and behaviours become disjointed and accountability is lost
– And important stakeholders can lose interest