Scenario: "Dude, you gotta meet each other in our offices to get things done. Yay!" 99.948739287432% of companies run their teams similarly:
- "Be on time at 9 a.m."
- "Do your work in your cubicles."
- "Take your lunch at 12 a.m."
- "We all meet at 2 p.m. to discuss!"
- Leave at 5 p.m."
Yet, what Worker Jeffy, Worker Jesse, and Worker Jacky really do throughout the day:
- Slacking off 70% of the time.
- Working the rest like a vicious slow-!@#$%^.
- Draining individual productivity like M.C. Hammer's buh-bling.
"Hey, we get paid based on fixed incomes," they tell themselves. "What's the incentive for working faster?" Result: $$$$$ lost in company productivity. If your team suffers from an production drainage, boost output/input like a villain by virtualizing them. We'll explain.
"Virtualizing" teams mean:
- Deploying every team member to work solo.
- Collaborating when necessary.
That removes "junk/trash/down"-time, dramatically increasing output-per-input.
Why Virtualizing Teams Boost Results
Virtualizing teams forces you to set clear destination points for them.
- Instead of compensating input, you start driving and rewarding productive output.
- Instead of paying "how many hours we've worked!," you start rewarding: "how much ass we've kicked!"
- Johnny Boy, now knowing his slack-off-time won't pay him diddly, accelerates his production-per-hour.
El Resulto: Ridiculously Sexio Resultos.
It's in The Research.
Researchers from USC and North Carolina, and a team of consultants researched the output generated by successful virtual teams in the Harvard Business Review's May 2004 issue -- finding:
- "Several team members...contributed much more during virtual meetings than...face-to-face settings."
- "[They] felt compelled to articulate their views more precisely than if they had depended on visual cues."
- "Although many did affirm the value, in theory, of meeting together in the same room, few in practice found it essential."
- "Holding such traditional meetings would have harmed the teams' work processes."
- "Everyone expects [meetings] to be where the real work will take place and avoids doing anything of value until the meeting occurs. Our [virtual team] leaders dealt with that problem by never holding one."
- "Decisions in a complex project have to be made continually. Postponing them until everyone assembles slows everything down - way, way down."
How to Virtualize Your Teams
Simple two-step process:
Set a clear objective + deadline.For instance: Case #1: "Finish 5-page informational website for YoMama Associates, by April 5th, 2006 @ 5:00 p.m." works more rad-ass than: Case #2: "Work for 8 hours on the website, and see what you get done. Yay!" Then when you've set your objective + deadline, start setting compelling rewards if teams meet those objectives + deadlines -- e.g. bonuses, promotion, trips, etc.
Step 2: Connect the team through collaborative tools.Without tight collaboration, you'll generate a team with clashing interests/ideas/goals. [The researchers found the best teams communicated regularly (i.e. once/day).] Fortunately for your badass, you're living in a Web 2.0! world filled with collaborative tools, project management applications, and wikis to keep you connected. (Tip: Google "collaboration tool" -- and you'll find a host of solutions.) If you have the bling, consider a customized collaborative solution.
Sidebar: The Awesomeness of Virtualization
Once you get the hang of virtualizing your teams, you get your pick of: (1) The most amazingly awesome workers (2) from anywhere around the world (3) at the best possible prices. Instead of limiting yourself to Johnny Boy's abilities, you open a can of optimal ass-kicking. Your team sucks at design? Don't fret. Let's hire Efrain in Japan. Win.
Posted on March 19
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