How to Avoid Virtual Miscommunication

Long-distance collaboration requires a special set of skills and sensitivity.

Keith Ferrazzi, the networking guru gives some same advice for working across geographic boundaries. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I’m collaborating with west coast colleagues (I’m in Philadelphia) on developing a leadership development program on leading across boundaries. Just like Ferrazzi suggests, awareness is at the core. Awareness of your interpretations, biases and your shared purpose for working together. And awareness that it takes longer to build a trusting relationship from afar. And remember that nothing beats face to face contact. Whenever opportunity presents itself (project kickoffs, meeting major milestones, multi day working sessions) hop in the car, train or plane to have the opportunity to work together in person. The effort of travel will payoff in the strengthening of the relationships with your virtual colleagues.

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Leaders everywhere: A conversation with Gary Hamel | McKinsey & Company

The management writer and academic explains why he believes companies that empower and train people at all levels to lead can create competitive advantage. A McKinsey & Company article.

Interesting thoughts on the importance of dispersing leadership throughout the organization.  My favorite bit of the article:

I think the dilemma is that as complex as our organizations have grown, as fast as the environment is changing, there are just not enough extraordinary leaders to go around. Look at what we expect from a leader today. We expect somebody to be confident and yet humble. We expect them to be very strong in themselves but open to being influenced. We expect them to be amazingly prescient, with great foresight, but to be practical as well, to be extremely bold and also prudent.

How many people like that are out there? I haven’t met very many. Right? People who have the innovation instincts of Steve Jobs, the political skills of Lee Kuan Yew, and the emotional intelligence of Desmond Tutu? That’s a pretty small set. And yet we’ve built organizations where you almost need that caliber of person for them to run well if you locate so much of the decision-making authority in the top of the organization.

Makes you think, no?

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