Please refer to the article Management of Virtual Teams for discussion about managing team in Virtual context.
Now in the broader over-arching context, profile of Dinesh, name, though remaining same, will cut across employees at all levels across the world irrespective of culture or demography. For the sake of discussion, let’s assume Dinesh’ profile goes like this:
5 years’ experience in the in organization with experience in Big 5 consulting companies. Total IT experience is more than 20 years. Strong in academics with huge experiences in different Industry segments.
Key achievements in the organization could be implementation and delivery of multi-million-dollar projects in Financial Sector or managing big Enterprise Architecture engagement in Healthcare Industry or leading engagements in Consulting organizations, just to name a few. Across the career, he has experiences in Proof of Concept/Research leading ideation to delivery with client satisfaction.
In the times when Industry Leaders are debating what type of team works best – Is it Virtual, In Person or Hybrid, employees like Dinesh are not being taken care of at all. They are clueless in all types of teams, cannot understand what’s going on?
Dinesh exclaims –
“Should I leave the organization?
“Should I change the team?”
“Or Should I change my values of life that has been built throughout the life and those are based on Empathy, Care for others, Collaboration through my upbringing in my three-generations under a single roof extended family and so on and so forth?”
And he knows that the extended Covid-19 pandemic made the world more heartless. He is feeling helpless – out and out.
What can we do better to make sure that all sorts of teams are really teams?
We need to make sure that we are taking care of different levels of human life and society.
At Community Level
Our community living provides the foundation towards our organizational life. We cannot live as fragments, in silos in these two forms of existence. As an employee or a manager, our existence overlaps, our value system overlaps. Also, knowing the community is important to realize the deliverables in our organizational life, be it private or public.
From the Community standpoint, we need to be aware of the needs of the community and make our best efforts to address those. Possible approaches could be:
- Tackling Divide be it Social, Digital or fundamentally in Mindset.
- Make access to services available irrespective of any kind of division based on human features building equity in Community, making this world a better place to live. Services like Customer Relationship or Emergency Management take care of people’s needs in the time of urgency.
- It is important to build a community sensitive to Humanitarian crisis like Homelessness and Mental Health issues across the humanity.
- Community Living is all about Connection with Customer. In our community existence, we take service and provide service, whatever be the form of that service. It is somewhat making us a responsible citizen. This values percolates to our organizational existence.
- In our social life, we resolve so many issues that we never faced. Our creativity starts from there.
- Our social behavior to avoid gossips etc. build our character that help us realize how important it is individual data privacy is.
- Protection of People – Be it Crime Management. Managing harassment and so on and so forth.
- Helping the neglected segments of society like women or LGBT etc. grow make us aware of our role in organization
At Organization Level
To make the life of employees like Dinesh in organization comfortable, a huge number of things need to be addressed al the organization level.
At the level of the organization, Organization Culture needs to be aligned to nurture the following important values and mindset-
- Consulting mindset
- Responsiveness to Urgencies
- Innovation and Creative Thinking
- Sharing of Knowledge and Collaboration
- Continuous Learning Mindset
- Change – Change Drivers are not in a separate entity or team. Distribute them across the teams. It is a paradigm shift, builds the transformational mindset bottom-up.
- Taking care of Cognitive Biases
- Build Employee Trust across the Organization
Organization Structure should support nimble and flexible organization that can adapt to the needs of the organization.
Project identification to address the need of the time with proper emphasis on human capital and sustainability.
It’s all about Connection with Customer.
Money – the lubricant of our society, unfortunately. Need to manage money properly to take care of the organization, and finally to deliver social goods to the people. Be it public or private organization, taking care of the community is just a matter of choice.
Realization of who the end customer is. It is very important. Is a line of code or a patch upgrade or OS upgrade delivering the service to the “real” customer? This is true and important irrespective of the type of organization.
Optimization of organizational processes
- Align processes to end delivery
- Vendor Selection and Product Discussion
- Leveraging the Synergy, be it processes, skills of people.
- Upgrade addressing the principle of optimization. As for example, when to move to Cloud, it is process Gate Check – Will Cloud Native be better taking care of Total Cost of Ownership? Is the Lift and Shift being just another name of putting On-Premise Mess to Cloud?
- Standardization across the board
Cybersecurity – The need of time in a divided world. Security-first culture.
Data and Data Privacy is need of the time.
Role of every Dinesh in this mix, just as an Employee
- Realize what is the vision of the leaders. Be part of that. Always be open to ask questions and be questioned.
- Have Open Mind.
- Question the default. Start with Why – Always. Believe in the fact that the humanity reached where it is right now through a journey that began with a question. Hopefully you did not forget Galileo.
- Willingness to Learn. As a Habit. It is not Need-based.
- If you can, be hands-on. Though it is difficult for everything, one extra hands-on help always has an impact.
- Build the connection with the personal touch. Nothing can be more beautiful in this world than the touch of a warm heart.
- Have a delivery-oriented mindset. Build Connection with Customer.
- Willingness to Change. Think again – Always. Keep in mind, your idea is not your identity. Your idea may fail. Accept it. Every failure is a learning opportunity.
- The current world demands Comb-like learning patterns. No more T or Pi structure learning. Be open to have an interdisciplinary mindset. Connect the dots – the most important skill of an individual, as valued by Steve Jobs.
- Sharing of Knowledge and Collaboration – as a Principle of Life
- Think creatively. Don’t boast of ability of your out of the box thinking. At least, try to think from the opposite side of the box – fundamental principle behind Empathy. Honestly, out-of-the-box thinking is multi-dimensional.
- And – Humility, humility and humility – fundamental mindset behind open mind and habit of learning. Any form of transformation needs it, for sure.
At Leadership Level
- Reskilling, even for managers and leaders. Lots of organizations have so many trainings for developers or junior employees, but no training for managers. Managers also need to learn.
- It’s all about Connection with Customer. It is a principle across our life.
- Creative and Innovative mindset
- Taking care of Data and Data Privacy
- Sharing of knowledge and Collaboration
- Keeping in mind that a human being cannot be a line item in an excel spreadsheet. Hire and Fire cannot be just addition and deletion in a excel spreadsheet. To help every Dinesh of this world at least survive, every leader should be ready to treat a human being as a human being. Otherwise, for what, this existence on this world IS!
- Blue Ocean Strategy – INSEAD Research Team