Ideal Traits of Global, Cross-Cultural Virtual Team Members

Information about selecting virtual team members with focus on the need to function globally and cross-culturally is scarce. As luck would have it, I came across some recommendations derived from Dr. Joel Paul Ginsburg’s work – available in dissertation form here. The following is a representation Global Symfony’s recommendations which I’ve modified for simplicity (see their website for details): Continue reading

Injecting Fun & Excitement into Work Through Gamification

Avid gamers are all too familiar with this sequence of events: Your stomach is growling and you start to feel a strong urge to use the restroom but you think, “After the next level!” Hours later, being transfixed by your own progress through a difficult stage in the game, you still haven’t budged as the next big “level up” is quickly approaching and you’re trying, with all the inner strength you can muster, to ignore “nature’s calls.” I think it’s safe to say that, for a majority of us, this level of engrossment is rarely found at our jobs. This is why, at a much earlier stage in my life, my dream was to be a video game tester. Upon looking around at the different types of jobs and career paths out there, I didn’t think this level of absorption and investment could be experienced elsewhere. However, my current understanding is that there hasn’t been a whole lot of interest and effort to produce this type of engagement at most organizations. So I ask disengaged workers, wouldn’t it be great to feel just a tad like this at your job? Continue reading

What Multiplayer Games Have to Do with Leadership Development and the Future of Work

When not gallivanting around Gielinor slaying monsters, completing quests, or working on skill levels on my own, I’m leading a small group through an activity that involves finding several roaming pixelated penguins disguised in bush, rock, or barrel costumes. It all sounds very silly and lighthearted but, let me tell you, this can turn into a challenging endeavor! Although I didn’t initially seek out leadership, I took up this task as planning the sequence of places to visit and the optimal route through them as well as coordinating sweeps (where we split up to efficiently cover a large area) came naturally to me. The challenge is in communicating directions to people you can’t see face-to-face and, similar to those familiar conflicts that arise when driving around with your significant other and getting lost, the interpersonal frustrations that flare up - What do you mean you don’t know where Piscatoris Fishing Colony is?! You just did a quest there recently FFS!!! Continue reading

Virtual Teams and the Challenge of Cross-Cultural Differences

Cover of "The Handbook of Culture and Psy...

Cover of The Handbook of Culture and Psychology

From David Matsumoto’s The Handbook of Culture and Psychology:

The next two decades promise to be even more exciting for research on culture and emotion. Interesting programs have sprung up all around the world and in all disciplines of psychology. New technologies for mapping culture as a psychological construct on the individual level are being developed, as well as ways to measure precisely moment-to-moment changes in our brains and bodies when we feel or judge emotion. Collectively, these endeavors will tell us more in the future about the relationship between culture and the physiology of emotion, the representation of display and decoding rules, emotion perception, and culture itself in the brain (p. 161) Continue reading

Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it

Conventional wisdom posits that the needs of employees and their employer are at odds with each other, however this assumption is not necessarily true. A mutually symbiotic relationship granting employees freedom and flexibility while increasing engagement and, hence, productivity is achievable! Why Managing Sucks and How to Fix it: A Results-Only Guide to Taking Control of Work, Not People will force you to examine how you think about work as well as how we unknowingly support the current, conventional view of work through the establishment and use of flexible work arrangements. Conventional flexible work arrangements, by the way, can’t achieve what a results-only work environment (ROWE) can. Continue reading

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Having finished some books on managing virtual workers, I’ve come to realize that there is some content overlap. All thoroughly address the leaders’ and managers’ roles and responsibilities as well as the process through which they can develop and maintain an organizational culture that supports a telework arrangement – i.e., one built upon trust, frequent and effective communication, clear expectations, and accountability. For the sake of avoiding repetition, I’ve decided not to go into heavy detail here as all authors appear to agree about the important components of such an organizational culture. Continue reading