The starting point for this has to be with the leader him/herself. If they are not clear about these issues yourself, how can they expect to effectively convey any sense of direction or clarity to other people?
Questions that a Virtual needs to ask and answer are:
Who sets the team goals? – These are often not set by the leader but by the leader’s boss. In order to communicate these goals the leader has to seek clarity from the real sponsor. Don’t assume you understand otherwise you will start off by communicating the wrong message
Does the leader set them or are the goals set elsewhere? – Once the leader is clear on these issues it is essential that a clear methodology is developed to convey your message clearly. A quick email is not enough.
Are the team goals constant or will they change over time? One common problem in virtual teams is that the goals are presented to the team at the outset of a project but that the subtle changes to these goal which inevitably occur in any project are not passed on to all the remote team members. This can result in the leader heading in one direction whilst the various remote team members go off in other directions
How frequently the goals need to reviewed and communicated? There is no absolute numerical answer to this critical question – the only answer ha to be that the goals should be revisited more frequently than they usually are.
Will these goals be self-explanatory to all team members? People in the centre of an organisation tend to take it for granted that all their remopte colleagues in distant locations have access to the same amount of information that they do – this simply isn’t true. The leader needs to recognize this and never be afraid to go back to basics. In remote team situations, context is king.
Latest version updated 23rd March 2017
About the Author
Keith Warburton is one of the world’s leading experts on the commercial impact of cultural differences on global business.