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Part IV: Setting Up a Collaborative Team

Part IV: Setting Up a Collaborative Team

High performance in virtual teams does not magically occur. Taking the time at the outset to build excellence into virtual team design and process is a crucial first step. The chapters that address setting up collaborative teams cover a range of topics: starting a virtual team, virtual meetings, generational differences among team members, decision making, and creativity within the team. Chapter Ten focuses on team composition and begins with a look at selecting members. Team membership assignments are driven by the search for expertise across the global face of the organization and often as needs arise, so systematic planning about selection may be difficult. The emphasis on content expertise means that the equally important focus on team process expertise is often overlooked—a competency of equal importance in finding members for a team where the highest levels of performance are desired.

Chapter Eleven adds another dimension to the membership challenge by pointing out that the newest generation has grown up in the high-tech world and so relates to technology in a different way than older generations do. Clients also differ by generation. This important demographic differentiator needs to be included in planning effective virtual work.

Selection of team members must be supplemented by their ongoing development. Training may be essential in building the capability of the team, but a systematic process is required to determine who needs what training. Chapter Twelve describes how that process begins with a needs assessment that can lead to alignment of training needs and training resources. An effective needs analysis depends on the expertise of the analyst and includes an assessment of the learners' characteristics.

Finally, Chapter Thirteen addresses the matching of team members to their assignments and supporting them with technology. Division of labor within the team is most effective when it maximizes task independence, so work can be done off-line and matches each team member's access to knowledge, data, and authority. The effectiveness of the team depends on the effectiveness of each member, and that begins with matching capability to assignments.


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