Last week I discussed how businesses across the globe are overcoming geographical and cultural hurdles to ensure ongoing continuity through sophisticated new audio conferencing, video conferencing and online document sharing technologies have been developed for people that are constrained to meet face-to-face.
However, using conferencing technology comes with its own set of challenges, and there is a process that needs to be followed to make it work. Organisations need to start by exploring what forms of communication team members have available to them, what they actually need to do their work, how competent they are at using them, and if the teams have the appropriate technical support to effectively use the technology. Any gaps in knowledge or support need to be addressed by the company.
It’s important to remember that whilst advanced meeting technology is a great tool, you will need to have honed leadership skills to make the solution work in distributed teams.
Good leadership stands out when an organisation creates a shared sense of purpose, a place where colleagues appreciate the bigger picture and understand the goals of the organisation. It has an even bigger impact when employees know what they need to deliver and how this is contributing to the overall company aim.
What makes a good meeting? Ideally, an outcome of general consensus is all anyone asks for; but the steps of how to get there often vary by organisation, sector and company culture. One thing is certain; team meetings need to foster a shared decision making ethos, where everyone feels their opinions are equally important to their peers.
To contribute fully to the debate each meeting member must have a copy of the agenda and the necessary materials. It is good practice to put an information plan into place so that distributed teams receive information and pass it on promptly.