Two very talented women, whom I have mentored in the past, are now mentoring me. One is a former MBA student who is now a Senior Management Consultant. The other is the Chief Learning Officer of a high tech company. They mentor me with insights about what’s going on in the marketplace and new trends.
Both comment to me about what talented people need to know. Here’s a recent comment: “I have hired most of my team through Skype interviews Bill. We even use Skype for business meetings with our virtual teams now. Virtual meetings are here to stay, and to know how to position yourself for best advantage over virtual media, is definitely a must-have skill.”
A number of my past articles have focused on interviewing with Skype. The question now is:
“What skills do you need when applying for a job that entails telecommuting, virtual meetings and cybernetic teams?” Here are some thoughts.
VERTUAL INTERVIEWS: For more details, see my archives about Skype interviews.
- Look at the red light (camera) which is the same as eye-to-eye contact
- Put post-notes on your screen. They can’t be seen but are like “cliff notes”
- Let your personality, style and positive attitude show through. It may make the difference
- Dress and act the same as if in an office interviewing your future boss. You probably are.
VIRTUAL MEETINGS: This item is about structure and sequence rather than content.
- Survey the participants to identify agenda items and distribute before the teleconference
- Define the outcome for each agenda item: Decision? Discussion? Recommend? Alternatives?
- Make sure everyone has all the information they need in order to take the action required
- Define the “to do” items for follow-up and the person responsible, after the virtual meeting
- Teams must self-determine their meeting times and content rather than a supervisor
VIRTUAL TEAMS: An overview about what it takes for a successful virtual team:
- Senior management must be able to support, endorse and operate a team-based organization
- Virtual teams must have a common goal that everyone agrees and commits to for its success
- Performance levels are dependent upon complementary and interdependent skills, clear goals and expectations, along with individual commitment to the group. Trust and collaborate.
- “Shout out” and celebrate positive results. Mutually share successes
- Strategies must be team-developed for executing action plans, tasks and time-lines
- Interpersonal relations must be finely honed, especially the “rules” for solving problems
- Leadership within the group usually rotates depending upon the issues and content at the time
These are skills, attitudes and relationships that many organizations expect from their employees. If you’re still operating under the “old set of rules” like autocratic management, non-participative work groups, or a “do as I say” mentality, you’re working for a dinosaur and part of a dying breed. Also, none of the skills above will work.
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