Sunday, March 27, 2011

Where in the World is my Team

Author:        Terence Brake
Published:    2008
Publisher:     John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Hardcover:  238 Pages
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This is a business fiction about  successfully  working in a globally distributed team. 
Will Williams works as a Personal Assistant to the Managing Director of  The Fun House a company that makes electronic games. The employees of this company are scattered across the world - Paris, London, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Helsinki, Hong Kong, Bangalore, New York, Berlin. 
Will's boss will be interviewed on TV in six weeks time where she will be asked about the successful virtual global workspace which The Fun House  has established . She wants Will to put together a briefing report about it to get herself prepared for this interview. 

How Will  goes about working on this assignment taking inputs from his colleagues spread across the globe forms the main plot of this book. 

Towards the end Will puts together a briefing report entitled : Global Virtual Team Essentials. This 25 page report is an appendix to the main storyline . It summarizes the key idea of the book which is 6 C Framework of Global Collaboration - Cooperation, Convergence, Coordination, Capability, Communication and Cultural Intelligence. The report explains the need and importance of each of these Cs and gives pointers to implement them.

I too used to work in a global team with my colleagues in USA, France, Romania and India. We gelled fairly well as a team but could have done much better if we had understood and appreciated the nuances of global collaboration so effectively brought out in this book . 

The whole story is narrated in a very entertaining manner with ample doses of humor.
A must read for every member in a Global Team. !

Key Takeaways:
  • The New Work Place is Virtual and Global. It reduces the influence of commercial and labor borders and is effectively enabled through new communications and computing technologies. This has resulted in increased levels of complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity, which can only be managed by intensive and extensive collaboration across internal and external borders. Only then competitive advantage can be gained through virtual and global teams.
  • The three major challenges of virtual collaboration are - Team member Isolation, Fragmentation of Team Efforts and Team member Confusion
  • To counteract these challenges, a virtual team needs to generate high levels of - Engagement, Cohesion and Clarity.
  • This can be achieved through implementation of 6C Framework of Global Collaboration which consists of

    1. Cooperation - Building trust in  colleagues whom you may never meet face to face.
    2. Convergence - Focusing the efforts of scattered individuals on  team success.
    3. Coordination -  Making sure distance doesn't get in the way of smooth flow of work
    4. Capability - Making very best use of talent in the team irrespective of its location. 
    5. Communication - Sharing the same understanding across borders
    6. Cultural Intelligence - Going beyond individual cultures to the team culture   

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