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TO BE VIRTUAL, OR NOT TO BE VIRTUAL: THAT IS THE QUESTION

by Michael D. Snodgrass KeyBank NA 431 E. Parkcenter Boulevard Boise, Idaho 83706 michael_snodgrass@keybank.com

Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the Pacific Coast Banking School conducted at the University of Washington. Seattle, Washington, April 2006

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY TO BE VIRTUAL, OR NOT TO BE VIRTUAL: THAT IS THE QUESTION By Michael D. Snodgrass The purpose of this paper was to research virtual teams and determine, based on the findings, whether or not the Operations Services Group (OSG) at KeyBank (Key) should continue to develop and implement such teams. The paper clearly defines what a virtual team is, compares it to a “traditional” team, examines the role of technology, and discusses the necessary factors for success. The paper includes the revealing results of a study, which examined the trends and attitudes towards virtual work and its impact on productivity. The paper looks at the current status of virtual teams in the OSG and shares the background and results of implementing Virtual Client Services at KeyBank. It is intended to help our bank’s leadership when considering virtual teams as a work solution. It also recommends a template to be used before and after virtual team implementation. Sources of information included the following: books, internet, periodicals, interviews and the author’s work experience with implementing and leading virtual teams. Research and analysis of the information above led to the following conclusions: 1) In the business world, the amount of virtual teams and virtual work is increasing and will continue to grow in the future. 2) Communication, trust, culture, and leadership are the most critical success factors for a virtual team.

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3) Virtual teams and virtual work are a viable option now to KeyBank and our Operations Services Group due to the many technologies available. 4) Virtual teams can create quantifiable benefits to your company, clients and employees. 5) The Virtual Client Services Team at Key has proven itself to be a successful pioneer of virtual teams and virtual work in the OSG.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ii vi vii 1 3 3 5 8 8 11 13 16 21 23 24 26 27 28 29 31 31 32 33

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY LIST OF FIGURES LIST OF APPENDICES CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION CHAPTER II: WHAT ARE VIRTUAL TEAMS? A. DEFINITIONS B. TYPES OF VIRTUAL TEAMS CHAPTER III: SUCCESS FACTORS FOR VIRTUAL TEAMS A. THE COMMUNICATION FACTOR B. THE CULTURE FACTOR C. THE TRUST FACTOR D. THE LEADERSHIP FACTOR CHAPTER IV: VIRTUAL TEAMS AND TECHNOLOGY A. WEB CONFERENCING B. AUDIO CONFERENCING C. VIDEO CONFERENCING D. ELECTRONIC MAIL (EMAIL) E. GROUP CALENDARS AND SCHEDULES F. BULLETIN BOARDS AND WEB PAGES CHAPTER V: VIRTUAL CLIENT SERVICES – THE PIONEERS A. BACKGROUND B. VIRTUAL BECOMES REALITY C. RESULTS

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CHAPTER VI: CONCLUSION A. FINAL SURVEY RESULTS B. THREE WARNINGS C. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS APPENDICES BIBLIOGRAPHY CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY

35 35 36 38 40 49 51

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LIST OF FIGURES Page 4 6 10 12 15 17 22 39 FIGURE I: KeyBank Operations Services Group FIGURE II: Types of Virtual Teams FIGURE III: Virtual Team Communication Tools FIGURE IV: The Culture Iceberg FIGURE V: Tips for Building Trust FIGURE VI: Roles of the Virtual Team Leader FIGURE VII: Basic Equipment for a Virtual Office FIGURE VIII: Virtual Team Template vi .

LIST OF APPENDICES Page 40 45 46 47 48 APPENDIX A: A Study of the Virtual Workforce APPENDIX B: Team-Culture Profile APPENDIX C: Trust Behaviors Exercise APPENDIX D: Challenges of Virtual Leadership APPENDIX E: Virtual Team Guidelines vii .

1 Lipnack. most people will work in virtual teams for at least some part of their jobs.1 A study of trends and attitudes toward virtual work and virtual teams was performed by Modalis Research Technologies. playing. January 7. 2006.” In business.mci. it has arrived with a bang. For example. Time. The details of the study. and Organizations With Technology. Jessica and Jeffrey Stamps. 14 percent of employees worked virtually everyday. http://e-meetings. 48 percent worked for companies that allowed virtual work practices.CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION We are living. including graphs. The move to virtual work is growing exponentially. 31 percent of those surveyed worked in a virtual management structure. One portion of the study2 showed the following: 67 percent of workers surveyed had engaged in virtual work. Virtual Teams: Reaching Across Space. 46 percent of employees worked virtually at least once a week. are located in Appendix A.com/meetingsinamerica/pdf/MIA3. commissioned by MCI Conferencing. Meetings in America III: A Study of the Virtual Workface in 2001. the age of virtual teams has not only arrived.pdf 2 1 . explanations and key findings. was conducted to get a better understanding of the extent to which Americans were embracing virtual work and virtual teams. 1997. and working in a “virtual world. In the coming decades. The study. their immediate manager or staff was not located in the same office. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

At a corporate level at KeyBank. and their success factors. virtual teams. We often use phrases such as virtual meetings. virtual processing. should continue to pursue and implement virtual teams based on their unique characteristics. virtual leadership. This paper will explore the various elements surrounding virtual teams and answer the following questions: 1) What are virtual teams? 2) How does a virtual team differ from a “traditional” team? 3) What is required to make a virtual team successful? 4) What roles must a leader play in a virtual environment? 5) How does technology factor into virtual teams and work? 6) What is the status of virtual teams in the OSG? 7) Should the OSG at Key continue to pursue the development of virtual teams? 2 . and virtual systems in our current business climate. In the financial services industry. however. of which I am a part. and virtual servicing. virtual leadership. are now being put into practice by Key and its competitors. which used to be concepts in financial institutions. their benefits versus challenges. the application of virtual teams and virtual processing has increased substantially over the past five years. and 3) growth in the number of employees (leaders and team members) that are interested in working virtually. Virtual teams. The scope of this paper. virtual communication. focuses on whether or not our Operations Services Group (OSG) at KeyBank. 2) an increase in the number of virtual teams. and virtual work are terms being used and ideas being tested frequently.These findings reveal some interesting possibilities about the future of how work is performed and how business is conducted: 1) a larger application of virtual work. KeyBank is no exception to this virtual transformation. virtual environment.

a “virtual” team is very similar to a “traditional” team. These traditional teams interact electronically but also have direct conversations with one another by simply walking to a team member’s desk/cubicle. DEFINITIONS For clarification purposes and to ensure common understanding of the terms found in this paper. Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English. Virtual Team = a team of people physically separated (by time and/or space) who primarily interact electronically and who may meet faceto-face occasionally. Hawker. This report examines and identifies what a virtual team is and what makes it different from a traditional team in definition and in practice. For the purposes of this paper. The word virtual comes from the Latin root virtualis meaning “almost as described. 3 C. the following definitions are used: Team = a group of people who share a common understanding of their mission. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CHAPTER II: WHAT ARE VIRTUAL TEAMS? A. and work together to accomplish that mission. http://www. have the variety of skills necessary (or that can be acquired) to meet that mission. but not completely or according to strict definition. let’s define some of the frequently used words. June 23. but its members are in one location and can meet face-to-face on a daily basis.”3 As defined. A traditional team shares the “team” definition above. Soanes and S. 2005.askoxford. but not entirely.com/concise_oed/virtual? 3 .

Employee Services Call Center. cities. They also handle all payroll and benefit requests/inquiries for Key's 22. states. nations. and HR Information Management. 2) The members of the team are geographically dispersed. 2000. The group is responsible for KeyBank’s payroll system and the Time Online system.In order to be considered virtual. Team members may be located in different buildings. Benefits Administration. They are most definitely teams. and the Support Organization. 3) The team relies on technology rather than face-to-face interaction to accomplish their tasks. and even continents.”4 All of the current virtual teams in KeyBank’s Operations Services Group (OSG) meet the requirements listed above. Virtual Teams: People Working Across Boundaries with Technology. Employee Services. Employee Services 4 Lipnack. Four main functional areas: Payroll Administration. The departments that are part of the OSG are Loan Services. “Virtual teams are live. a team must have the following three characteristics: 1) It is a functioning team. Ohio and Boise. not Memorex. New York: John Wiley & Sons. Special Services. Jessica and Jeffrey Stamps. to servicing it through payoff. Loan are serviced in two sites located in Cleveland. Operational Balance and Control.000 employees. 4 . Idaho. not electronic versions of the real thing. A brief description of responsibilities for each of these departments is shown below: Figure I – KeyBank Operations Services Group Area Description Loan Services Services consumer and commercial loans and is responsible for the life of a loan – from booking the loan to the accounting system.

Operational Balance & Control partners closely with Risk Management to ensure internal control processes are in place for the Operations Services Group. Ohio and Buffalo. time and/or organizational constraints. This group is structured to support mainframe applications and distributed systems. state and local regulations related to deposit accounts and year-end reporting. the largest of which are the consumer loan accounting system (ALS) and the commercial loan accounting system (CLS). the use of virtual teams has increased dramatically and will continue to as we move ahead. The group is comprised of Compliance Operations & Abandoned Property. The previous boundaries of time. have common elements with traditional teams. Special Services is located in Cleveland. is upon us. Ohio and Cleveland. Team members are located in Boise. In the financial services industry. New York. The virtual team must use technology to assist in their communication and 5 . All virtual teams. Special Operations & Judgment Processing and Retirement Operations. B. Current technology and globalization have created a business environment in which teams communicate and work together virtually.Figure I – KeyBank Operations Services Group (cont. Special Services Operational Balance & Control Support Organization The ever-increasing use of virtual teams is here to stay. geography and organization have been eliminated. however. Responsible for the balancing of the loan and deposit accounting systems.) Area Description Supports federal. must accomplish this by working across distance. Virtual teams and processing are not simply fads or trends in the business world that will come and go. The virtual future. unlike traditional ones. Ohio. no matter which type. Virtual teams. Team members must communicate and partner together to get their work done. TYPES OF VIRTUAL TEAMS Virtual teams come in many different shapes and sizes. the one that has been talked about so frequently in business in recent years. Provides project and computer system support for Loan Services. Idaho. Dayton.

D. and N. Team has distinct membership and works on a regular basis to lead corporate activities. Team has distinct membership and clear boundaries. has a Project Team with members in Boise. Team deals with immediate action. 1999. usually in an emergency situation.e. 5 6 . Team has clear boundaries and distinct membership. acquisitions.10. and a defined customer. Project or Product Development Work or Production Service Management Action The virtual teams currently in KeyBank’s Operations Services Group (OSG) fall under three types: Project. members come and go as needed. technical requirement. This team is a production team. Team has distinct membership and supports ongoing customer. Membership may be fluid or distinct. Team has fluid membership. whereas their leader is in Fort Collins.) that impact the Loan Services Group. Service. Another illustration of a virtual team in OSG is the Virtual Client Services Team. etc. – system upgrades. Ohio. Snyder. Team works in short term to develop recommendations for an improvement in a process or system. p. Members perform regular and ongoing work. divestitures. usually in one functional area. Idaho and Cleveland. Tool. The results of the implementation of the Virtual Client Services Team are discussed in Chapter V. There are seven types of virtual teams:5 Figure II . San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. network activity.Types of Virtual Teams Type of Team Network Parallel Description Team membership is diffuse and fluid. for example. and output. This team works together to lead projects (i.collaboration efforts. and Work/Production. and team has decision-making authority. which is responsible for servicing all loans and lines housed on the consumer loan system (ALS). The Support Organization (refer to Figure I). Colorado. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies.). A third example of a virtual team is the Operations Services Internal Control Duarte. special assignments. which has associates in both Boise and Cleveland. Team lacks clear boundaries with the organization. Longer-term team task is nonroutine. clear boundaries.

Like the Virtual Client Services Team. and cell phone. R and Douglas K. of which I am the leader.Team.a phenomenon sweeping the global workplace as fast as the tentacles of the Internet are encircling your office. you are interconnected. “Welcome to the world of virtual teaming -. Leader to Leader. car. Our team supports the Operations Services Group by providing guidance with risk assessment. “The Discipline of Virtual Teams”. and developing tests of these controls. home. The risk analysts ensure all internal control information is documented accurately and timely within the Corporate Compliance and Assessment Process (C-CAP) portal. and that means you can work with any person from any enterprise in any place at any time on any challenge. Jon. Smith.”6 Katzenbach. Fall 2001. http://leadertoleader. assisting in documenting controls. Like it or not. my team members are also located in Boise and Cleveland.org/leaderbooks/L2L/fall2001 6 7 . which is an enterprise risk management tool designed to assist with the documentation and knowledge management needs related to KeyCorp's risk management process.

These success factors are also important for traditional teams. For virtual teams. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. THE COMMUNICATION FACTOR “Communication is paramount in an adaptive world and is essential to collaboration.CHAPTER III: SUCCESS FACTORS FOR VIRTUAL TEAMS Once you begin considering a virtual team as a viable option for you and your organization. however.). and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. however. Snyder.”7 Effective verbal and written communication is critical in any team environment. A. but these four are the most critical. for example. 7 8 . D. In contrast. There are additional success factors for virtual teams. 209. you must look for the key ingredients for making the team a success. and leadership. communication requires additional effort and creativity because your team members and/or leader are not in close proximity to your own work area. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. p. the application of these factors for a virtual team is quite different. the following components are essential in driving towards success with a virtual team: communication. trust. and N. 1999. culture. a meeting can be scheduled and held at a moment’s notice simply by walking over to your team members’ desks and pulling everyone together. In a traditional team. face-to-face meetings and discussions are extremely limited or even eliminated Duarte. The question to ask is: what are the requirements for making a virtual team successful? In my research and experience. Tool.

Sterling. what technology should be used? The questions posed in regards to time and place are straightforward. a critical decision requiring feedback from your leader and/or team members might require using the telephone or audio/video conferencing.104. What is the medium/forum for this communication? Will the communication require some type of technology? If so. In sharing information. Trina.in a virtual structure. for example. patterns. 9 . Will the communication be same time or different time? 2) Place. such as SameTime™ or NetMeeting™ could be your best alternative when checking out a new computer system or compiling ideas from a team brainstorming session. Virtual work is supported or derailed often because of communication habits. Three major components need to be considered in choosing communication vehicles for a virtual team:8 1) Time. Virtual team members must decide upon which kind of communication tool to use in different situations. 2001. You must match the medium/forum with the intention and audience 8 Hoefling. Virginia: Stylus Publishing. but the considerations used by a virtual team for choosing the medium/forum become much more difficult. email might be the best choice. A large obstacle for virtual teams is in trying to accomplish work using traditional communication methods such as person-to-person telephone calls and travel. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. On the other hand. p. The use of realtime data conferencing tools. and processes. Will the communication be in a co-located or distributed environment? 3) Medium/Forum. This type of agreement sounds simple in theory but is much more difficult in practice. A virtual team must agree on a strategy for managing and coordinating all types of communication.

Some of these technologies and their uses are explained in detail in Chapter IV. Today’s most commonly used groupware is e-mail.Virtual Te am Communication Tools Synchronous Groupware Asychronous Groupware Web conferencing Electronic meeting systems (EMS) Electronic display Video conferencing Audio conferencing Electronic mail Group calendars and schedule Bulletin boards and web pages Workflow applications Non-real-time database sharing and conferencing In addition to the groupware listed above. and N. 32. Setrag and Marek Buckiewicz. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.9 Groupware falls into two broad categories: synchronous (team members are able to interact at the same time) and asynchronous (interaction is delayed).). communication is a critical element. Tool. 1995. It is a broad term that refers to electronic systems that integrate software and hardware to enable communication and collaborative work. All of these tools provide a virtual team and its leader a variety of options for communicating with one another. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies.of the communication. New York: John Wiley & Sons. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. 1999. Figure III below10 provides examples of both synchronous and asynchronous groupware. Workflow. 10 Duarte. The tools in 9 Khoshafian. virtual team members use the telephone and voice mail as a way to communicate in a one-on-one situation. In order to be a successful virtual team. and Workgroup Computing. Technology has improved substantially. which provides several tools to achieve effective and timely virtual communication. 10 . The entire category of electronic options available to virtual teams is referred to as groupware. D. Introduction to Groupware. Figure III . p. Snyder.

Snyder. THE CULTURE FACTOR The second success factor for virtual teams is culture. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. 2005-2006.com/cgi-bin/dictionary 12 11 Duarte. pp. Tool.”11 Culture is one of the primary ways that a team. The word culture means the “set of shared attitudes.). http:///www. 11 . Merriam-Webster Inc. It is up to the leader and the team members to effectively use these tools to enhance and further their communication efforts internally (inside the team) and externally (outside the team . These scripts are frequently not even visible to the team members that created them. 54-55. and N. D. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. culture is sometimes partially or completely hidden from our view. Their culture. One way to view culture is as the hidden “scripts” that team members use to guide their behaviors. Tenth Edition. values. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. goals and practices that characterizes a company or corporation.m-w. 1999. Similar to an iceberg.Figure III are simply ways for the communication to take place on a daily basis.with clients or other teams). What we observe in our team members are their behaviors and practices.. B. a department or a company can differentiate itself from another. values and assumptions are often difficult to see as shown in Figure IV:12 Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.

Virtual teams that leverage these differences can outperform traditional teams that are more similar in background and culture. 3) Functional culture – sharing a common background with others in terms of education. and N.e. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. 12 . attitudes and ultimately. decisions.). Together with life experiences. performance. these represent who we are as much as anything else in our lives. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies.Figure IV – The Culture Iceberg What We Observe • Behaviors • Practices What is Hidden • Culture • Values • Assumptions Three types of culture13 can influence a virtual team: 1) National culture – these patterns are often established in childhood and are deeply rooted. doctors. professional goals and skills (i. organizational and functional) of its team members and their locations. – bankers. 55-70. lawyers and engineers). 2) Organizational culture – the shared culture of your company that influences an employee’s assumptions. it must take advantage of the different cultures (national. Snyder. 1999. In order for a virtual team to perform successfully. Tool. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. D. Cultural diversity in a virtual team is a distinct 13 Duarte. pp.

14 Shaw. between team members are important and will set the tone for the future growth and progress of the team. As a leader or member of a virtual team.competitive advantage. department. a virtual team must embrace these differences and use them in such a way to improve performance of the team. Trust in the Balance.. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. THE TRUST FACTOR Trust is the third element for making a virtual team successful. 13 . C. or functional culture. and company. or lack thereof. and collaboration efforts. performance. 1997. Building trust and relationships virtually is critical for achieving team results. The level of trust influences a team’s success. R. The trust on a virtual team and its members is normally established during the implementation stage of the team. organizational. Those initial connections. Since it is almost impossible to change a person’s national. how do you start building trust with one another? Studies have shown there are three factors in building “instant” trust in a virtual environment:14 1) Performance and Competence Reputation for performance and results Follow through Obtaining necessary resources 2) Act with Integrity Aligning actions and stated values Standing behind the team and all its members Maintaining consistent and balanced communication 3) Concern for the Well-Being of Others Transitioning of team members Helping one another The above factors must be consistently applied by the leader and team members for the virtual team to build and maintain a high level of trust.

“Avoiding a ‘Virtual’ Disaster”. Virtual Leadership: Secrets from the Round Table for the Multi-Site Manager. – hobbies. Kostner. An introduction of team members can be facilitated by regular one-on-one sessions and team meetings..e. trust in virtual teams tends to be established – or not – right at the outset. February 1998. email. etc. The primary focus of some 15 16 Greenbaum. for example. I ask “get to know you” questions at the end of each meeting so we can learn more about each other (i. success.. Virtual teams must use the telephone. Part A and Chapter IV. 14 . On my virtual team. and videoconferencing to build relationships instead of having face-to-face discussions.”16 There are several key actions that will build or erode trust when working virtually. 1996. New York: Warner Books.“Instead of evolving slowly through stages. the virtual team leader needs to provide time to allow team members to get to know him/her and each other. anytime.”15 In my experience. “We used to think that meeting face-to-face was the only way to build trust and teamwork.) outside of work related matters. harmony and. the development of trust with virtual team members is done through building relationships. Armed with new technology and new best practices. we’re learning new ways to connect on a human level with people anywhere. likes/dislikes. which will promote teamwork. Inc. HR Focus. These actions create an environment of trust for individuals who rarely see one another. In an effort to facilitate the building of relationships. This relationship building can be accomplished by using several communication technologies. favorite items. Thomas L. as discussed in Chapter III. Jaclyn. The first interactions of the team members are crucial. ultimately.

Mak e your interactions with the team consistent and predictable. but all are extremely effective when put into practice. #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 To get trust. which in turn will increase trust. such as being open and honest in communicating with team members. Maintain confidences. 2001. Leading by example is the most powerful tool a distance leader has for building trust. Figure V . Watch your language.Tips for Building Trust Tip Description Communicate openly and frequently. pp. Others are suggestions to build trust between the team members. the leader will develop effective relationships with his/her team members. The leader is responsible for initiating the actions. set the tone for future interaction. 92-96. From the outset. The tips are simple and straightforward. 15 . Establishing this environment of trust and honesty begins with and is the responsibility of the virtual team leader. and taking the time to interact with all team members on a regular basis. The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing OffSite Employees and Virtual Teams. By using the tips above. being accessible and responsive to questions and concerns. give trust. Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher. Be honest. Be accessible and responsive. 17 Fisher. New York: McGraw-Hill. Establish strong business ethics.of the tips in the figure below17 is on building trust between the leader and the team. Do what you say you will do and mak e your actions visible.

2001. The leader is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the virtual team. but the final accountability for team results rests with the leader. Yes. These roles or competencies are illustrated in the figure below and clarified afterwards: Hoefling. such as the following: 1) what are the roles of the virtual team leader. A couple of questions need to be answered. THE LEADERSHIP FACTOR “Like Glinda in the Wizard of Oz. Trina. and 3) why is the leader critical to the success of the virtual team? In my experience. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. 41. p. he/she must receive help from the virtual team members. 18 16 . there are six primary roles the leader must excel at for the virtual team to succeed.D.”18 The fourth and final success factor for virtual teams is leadership. Sterling. Virginia: Stylus Publishing. 2) are there connections between these roles. and opinion. research. the virtual manager guides the team to “follow the yellow brick path” and provides specific guidance and support along the way.

Meetings such as these are a great opportunity for a team member and leader to get to know each other better by asking each other questions. a high level of connection between team members and the leader is essential to get full team commitment and achieve positive results. In order to build trust (see Part C. renewing prior conversations. Chapter III). discussing past performance and future plans. 17 . The role of relationship builder is both critical and difficult. a leader must develop strong working relationships with each of his/her virtual team members. since some or all of the team members are not located with the leader.Figure VI – Roles of the Virtual Team Leader Relationship Builder Big Picture Thinker Communicator Virtual Team Leader Coach Technology Change Promoter Relationship Builder One of the most important tasks of a virtual team leader is building relationships. and so forth. The leader should initiate the building of relationships by scheduling regular one-on-one sessions with team members. In a virtual environment.

Many of the roles of the virtual team leader. The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing OffSite Employees and Virtual Teams. The leader is responsible for keeping up to date on technology advances. such as coach. The leader must provide the best available technologies to the team and give them the proper training (classroom. In one case. an email will suffice. conducting training.Communicator A virtual team leader must be an excellent communicator (verbal and written). Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher. you need to have solid technology skills to ensure your team is using the best options for holding meetings.” The responsibility of keeping all team members on the same page lies with the leader. You have to get people trained on the technology. and facilitating communications across sites and time zones. self-study) for using the supplied tools. A virtual team is very dependent on the technology they use to communicate with one another. concise and effective. are reliant upon strong communications. However. A virtual team leader must use all of the technology tools (Chapter IV) at his/her disposal to ensure that communications flow freely and quickly. “Getting the right technology is only 10 percent of the solution. 18 . In some ways. p. Technology Being a technology “expert” is not a requirement for being a strong virtual team leader. Chapter IV provides more details on the use of technology by virtual teams. change promoter and big picture thinker.”19 19 Fisher. In another case. the success of a virtual team comes as a result of everyone “staying in the loop. share ideas. and complete their tasks and functions. the leader will need to pick up the telephone to talk to a team member. web-based. develop best practices and documents. the leader’s communications must be clear. In either scenario. motivator. 133. 2001. New York: McGraw-Hill.

teleconference. and daily tasks. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. proactive coaching normally occurs in a phone call. the leader must advance the culture of experimenting.). For a virtual team leader. not simply a change manager. or when responding to an email. videoconference. leaders need to be change promoters and consistently challenge the status quo. Snyder. 19 . sharing best practices. virtual teams exist in an adaptive. Team leaders should lead in an adaptive way. changing environment. and finding better ways to fulfill the team’s purpose and mission. and at the finish of projects. Managing a virtual team with rigid controls and plans will destroy the team’s ability to experience breakthrough performance. and N. along the way. D. assignments. 85. 20 Duarte.20 Instead. 1999. Since virtual work is a challenge to the traditional ways of completing work. p. They empower their team members to try new things rather than succumbing to “that’s the way we’ve always done it” mindset. This coaching involves providing team members with timely feedback regarding their performance. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed.Change Promoter The virtual team leader is responsible for being a change promoter. The leader must be sensitive to the appropriateness and timing of coaching in each of these approaches. A good leader coaches at the start. By their very nature. Tool. helping their team members understand the uncertainty and non-routine nature of their work. Coach An effective virtual team leader is a strong coach to his/her team members. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. Coaching consumes a significant amount of the distance leader’s time.

#2 – Implement a formal feedback process. When performance issues warrant it. 67-70. and competition). A virtual team leader must watch and listen closely for clues that will tell him/her when to step in and coach. and/or department. In order to coach effectively. find new opportunities for the team and anticipate the future needs of his/her clients. you must stay in touch with your team members. group. The leader needs to know how his/her virtual team fits into the mission and vision of the company.e. This knowledge should be communicated to the virtual team so its members are familiar with their piece of the organizational puzzle. In order for a virtual team to be successful going forward. a team can occasionally lose sight of its place and connection with the organization.The Distance Manager provides the following four tips for distance coaching:21 #1 – Respond to subtleties and nuances. 2001. #3 – Establish regular one-on-one coaching sessions. New York: McGraw-Hill. In a virtual environment. Managing from a distance severely limits a leader’s visibility of performance. 20 . The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing OffSite Employees and Virtual Teams. 21 Fisher. industry. ask your team member to put together a performance improvement plan that he/she will commit to. the leader has to constantly look ahead (i. pp. Big Picture Thinker It is essential for a virtual team leader to understand the big picture. – in terms of their company. #4 – Use a structured improvement plan. Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher.

Virtual team leaders and members require a steady stream of knowledge about technology and its role in helping the team improve performance.CHAPTER IV: VIRTUAL TEAMS AND TECHNOLOGY Technology is the vehicle for making virtual work possible. The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing OffSite Employees and Virtual Teams. One of the primary purposes of technology in virtual teamwork is removing the communication and partnering “roadblocks” created by time and distance. In general terms. The amount of technologies available to virtual teams has increased dramatically over the past five to ten years. 2001. Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher. virtual work and virtual teams would not be a feasible solution. such as their homes or a remote site. here are recommendations for virtual office team members. This knowledge includes understanding the needs of the team and its many tasks and responsibilities and matching the technology to meet those needs. they must have the proper equipment. pp. 134-135. and sites (separate office locations):22 22 Fisher. For virtual team members to work effectively from any location. Without technology. Up-todate technology is an important tool that assists virtual team members in working together and getting their jobs done no matter where the team members are located. New York: McGraw-Hill. road warriors (people who rarely come into an office). 21 .

p. We have the technological capability to work across time and distance. I will cover the use of the following asynchronous technologies: electronic mail. virtual team members must use a number of technologies. is categorized as synchronous (same time) and asynchronous (delayed). 23 22 .”23 Groupware technology. group calendars and schedules. Work moves to the people rather than people moving to the work. xiv.Basic Equipment for a Virtual Office For each virtual member: Personal computer with: Email Software Internet access Intranet access Telephone with voice mail Optional: Camera for Web videoconferencing For each road warrior: Laptop with: Email Software Internet access Intranet access Cell phone with voice mail Optional: Portable printer For each site: Network Printer(s) Server Fax Teleconference equipment Internet connection Optional: Broadband connection and firewall Video conferencing equipment The list above is just the basics for teams that are doing virtual work. audio conferencing and video conferencing. In order to communicate. Sterling.Figure VII . In addition. The synchronous technologies to be discussed include: web conferencing. share information and hold meetings with one another. Trina. and bulletin boards and web pages. used regularly by virtual teams. “Enabling technology has made virtual work practical. Virginia: Stylus Publishing. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. Hoefling. 2001.

SameTime™ (IBM) and WebEx™ online meetings. and video capabilities. The only requirements of virtual meeting participants are that they have a web browser and the same software. whiteboards. or across the world. such as NetMeeting™ (Microsoft). which allows virtual team members to have typed conversations with other team members. individuals have computer.A. WEB CONFERENCING Web conferencing. also referred to as “desktop conferencing” or “real-time data conferencing”. and comments from all participants appear in a “chat window” on each person’s computer monitor. is an example of synchronous groupware in which team members interact with one another from their own computer workstations. across the country. electronic chat is a conversation between two or more people that occurs in real time. Systems such as these give team members the ability to store common documents and have access to virtual meeting spaces. conduct training. Virtual meeting spaces are web sites where you can hold online meetings. and desktop audio and video links. The questions. responses. electronic chat. With the introduction of virtual meeting spaces. make presentations. With this type of technology. In contrast to email. audio. As this technology has evolved. In the past. its use and popularity have increased substantially. and specialized groupware software. Electronic chat is a second form of data conferencing. Many virtual team members like using electronic chat (also referred to as instant messaging) due to its “instantaneous-nature” and because the record of 23 . if you had meeting participants in several locations. it is possible to share documents and applications. and collaborate with team members across the street. you only had a couple of choices: fly everyone to one location (expensive) or use audio conferencing (limited to voice only).

Whiteboards allow team members to view shared documents. conference calls require a greater amount of preparation than face-to-face meetings. He/she is responsible for documenting key decisions made. Possible meeting roles include the following: 1) Scribe. In order to be effective. also referred to as “teleconferencing” or “conference calling”. Having an agenda and emailing it to your virtual team members in advance of the call is critical. Some whiteboard programs include electronic chat or audio conferencing capabilities to make the discussion of thoughts or ideas even more interactive. The agenda and any supporting documents help team members be prepared with the information they need to contribute to the meeting discussions. One downside to electronic chat is that when several people are involved in one chat session. AUDIO CONFERENCING Audio conferencing. 24 . important information shared. and any action items that need to be followed up on. there can be some confusion in regards to who said what and when during the electronic chat. The scribe takes notes for the meeting and distributes them afterward. Items such as workflows. Another key element for making a teleconference successful is the assignment of meeting roles. organizational charts. B. Most virtual teams find it useful to rotate meeting roles so that the responsibilities are shared. and see comments from other participants. and brainstorming sessions can be sketched and easily changed on the computer screen for viewing and discussion by all that are involved. is the most frequently used method for holding virtual meetings.any discussion is available immediately. diagram ideas on their computers.

showing courtesy and respect for others. The leader also makes sure the agenda is followed and timeframes are kept. and staying engaged in the discussions throughout the meeting. it is difficult to know who is speaking. The leader or facilitator organizes the meeting and is responsible for running it. This role may seem obvious. not having sidebar conversations. This simple action makes all of the communications more clear and helps the scribe identify assignments given during the meeting. consist of being a good listener. At the start of a virtual meeting. Every team member in the meeting should be a participant. the facilitator should have the members at each site give their name and request that each person identify himself/herself each time they speak. 3) Participant. but it is worth noting to make certain that all team members are giving input. and adding someone in. If virtual team leaders and members follow the suggestions mentioned above. the positive impact will be measurable on the effectiveness and efficiency of their teleconferences. When a conference call is made up of numerous participants and several locations. Rotating this assignment allows all virtual team members the opportunity to develop their leadership skills. join the call. which are more difficult to teach.2) Leader. 25 . The social skills. The final ingredient for teleconferencing is to provide your team members with training in its effective use. A third component of a profitable conference call is to use people’s names. Teach your team the technical and social skills needed to have successful conference calls. The technical skills include knowing how to schedule a conference call. sharing their thoughts and supporting group decisions.

26 . 25 Gibson. The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing OffSite Employees and Virtual Teams.C. This additional layer of richness to a conversation helps the communication be much more effective and efficient. Virtual teams frequently do not use video conferencing because it is not reliable. conversation is awkward because the quality of the image and sound are poor or out of sync. technical support and training are not readily available. Video allows teams to not only hear each other.31. Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher. causing team members to hang up without sharing essential information or avoiding the technology altogether. excited or upset. but see each other as well.25 24 Fisher. New York: McGraw-Hill. 164. Virtual Teams That Work: Creating Conditions for Virtual Team Effectiveness. Cohen. engaged or bored.e. nonverbal communication can let a facilitator know if a team member appears happy or sad. – facial expressions such as a smile or frown) that are not seen with audio conferencing. Video conferencing enhances communication by letting virtual team members see visual cues (i. Video conferencing brings with it a new set of problems. 2003. and the cost is prohibitive. editors. The advantages and benefits of video conferencing are fairly obvious. For example. 2001. These visual cues can be very important for the facilitator and participants in a team meeting. “Video conferencing is to teleconferencing what television is to radio. p. The two main types of video conferencing available are desktop video and specialized video facilities. Christina B. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p. VIDEO CONFERENCING Video conferencing is one of the most widespread technologies for virtual teams. and Susan G. the disadvantages of video conferencing are directly related to the technology itself.”24 On the other hand.

such as text files.). A fourth advantage of email is it provides a permanent. Lastly. email systems are easy for team members to learn how to use. As with other communication tools that are one-way with no immediate feedback mechanism. In a virtual team. email is an excellent option for team members to communicate simple. The most common complaint is the long. In regards to video conferencing for virtual teams.e. spreadsheets. normally referred to as “email”. videos. ELECTRONIC MAIL (EMAIL) Electronic mail. – attachments. Thirdly. the video pictures are sometimes slow and of low quality. email is best suited for one-on-one communication and occasional group messaging and copying (“cc”) others in. 27 . email is an essential technology for virtual teams due to its many advantages. D. The motion (jerkiness of motion) quality and resolution of the video images is dependent on the bandwidth of your data link. Secondly. a few reminders are in order: 1) the advantages and disadvantages of video technology must be weighed in relation to how and when it will be used and 2) the technology is changing so rapidly that most of the current problems will be eliminated in the future. it is easy for misunderstandings to occur. such as the speed of the computer modem. the availability of email is nearly unlimited through company intranets and the Internet. many of the video conferencing technologies are rather clumsy. written record of discussions with no extra effort. the type of network and the capacity of the wires attached to the team member’s computer. awkward pauses between the sending and receiving of messages. is the most common form of asynchronous groupware available. First of all. In addition.At the current time. etc. The bandwidth is determined by a number of factures. In today’s business world. email is one of the most inexpensive technology tools available. short issues/problems and to share all types of information (i.

Without the added verbal and nonverbal clues of voice. exchange information. GROUP CALENDARS AND SCHEDULES Group calendaring and scheduling are a high priority for virtual team leaders and members. Virginia: Stylus Publishing. 2001. 109. For definition purposes. p. E.27 Calendaring and scheduling systems are most useful to virtual teams. Snyder. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. Email provides virtual teams a quick and straightforward communication tool that will continue to be a primary method of keeping in touch in the future. D. and other items that need to be coordinated between individual calendars. Sterling. A listserve has the advantages of email with the additional benefit of threading. Trina. topic. In conclusion. especially if team members are located across a number of time zones. 28 . because they Hoefling. 1999. and N. p. or date. eye contact and body language. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. such as by sender.). 27 26 Duarte.26 An option for group communication is the use of broadcast emails and listserves. A broadcast email is great for general announcements and any communication that impacts more than two virtual team members. Threading within an email system tracks messages and allows them to be sorted and tracked in various ways. meetings. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. 43-44. an email message between virtual team members can be “heard” much differently than intended. calendaring involves the management of information on an individual team member’s calendar. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Tool. and share documents with one another. email is not only a useful technology but a necessary technology for virtual team members in their efforts to communicate. whereas scheduling involves the communication and negotiation of information.

On my Operations Services Internal Control Team. group calendars and schedules increase time management from both a leader’s perspective and a team member’s perspective. This calendar allows my entire team to see each other’s scheduled time-off for vacations. The calendar provides a useful snapshot of which team members are in the office and which are not. Ohio (Eastern Standard Time). my team members are located in Boise. Idaho (Mountain Standard Time) and Cleveland. The primary purpose of a team website or bulletin board is knowledge transfer inside the team and outside the team. This enables each team member to schedule meetings based on the free time of others. The scheduling tool we utilize is within our email system and coordinates our meetings and conference calls based on the two-hour time difference between Boise and Cleveland. Outside of your team. As a leader. for example. If used properly and consistently. In addition. all of my virtual team members have access to each other’s calendars for checking availability and making appointments on an individual or team-wide basis. BULLETIN BOARDS AND WEB PAGES Many virtual teams set up their own team bulletin boards or websites. Both of these technologies provide easy accessibility to all members of a virtual team. a website might be 29 . Calendaring and scheduling tools are another valuable resource for virtual teams. appointments and holidays for the upcoming weeks. I use our calendar to balance work requirements and team member resources.coordinate differences in the time zones. inside your virtual team. For example. months and year. a bulletin board is used to share all types of information no matter where you are located. F. These technologies improve team coordination by making it simpler and faster. Another tool we use is a time-off calendar located on a share drive.

utilized by your clients or customers to ask questions or provide you feedback. work tools/resources. As a leader. the team bulletin board or website requires updating and maintenance in order to be most useful. New York: McGraw-Hill.28 When creating a team bulletin board or website. Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher. If not. 30 . 142. your virtual team members will not use the bulletin board or website and will stop contributing to these types of knowledge transfer systems. since the purpose is to share information and transfer knowledge. In addition. 28 Fisher. The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing OffSite Employees and Virtual Teams. there must be a clear purpose or strategy behind it. it is important to encourage and reward employees for making contributions. such as: Posting messages and ideas Sharing knowledge and best practices Posing questions and responses Displaying and editing documents Linking to important Internet sites Publishing meeting agendas and minutes Some virtual teams also use their websites as a central place for shared files. Team members can use bulletin boards and websites for a variety of reasons. p. 2001. news and some sort of chat room to allow members to engage in either synchronous or asynchronous online conversations.

Idaho. 2) any loans originated in the west would be serviced from Boise. Senior Vice President and Group Leader. with two loan centers. KeyBank. 2006. communicated to the LSG team members by Cindy Foster. This team is what I describe as the “pioneers” of virtual teams and virtual work within the Operations Services Group (refer back to Figure I) at Key.CHAPTER V: VIRTUAL CLIENT SERVICES – THE PIONEERS A. Cindy. January 17. Cleveland. Loan Services Group. the business model in the LSG was site specific. 31 . one in Cleveland. The Consumer Virtual Client Services Team is accountable for servicing all the loans and lines booked on the Advanced Loan System. Ohio. the model resembled the following: 1) any loans originated east of the Mississippi would be serviced out of the Cleveland site. the Loan Services Group (LSG) at KeyBank developed five “we will” statements to describe the group’s top priorities and commitments. One of these statements is “We will transform to a virtual servicing organization. Group Leader of Loan Services.29 The change in this business model and subsequent “virtual transformation” in the Loan Services Group started with the implementation of the Consumer Virtual Client Services. Ohio and one in Boise. At the time. a mainframe system which houses consumer loan information. 29 Foster. In short. was intended to get everyone in the LSG on the same page about how they would work together going forward.” This particular statement. BACKGROUND In September of 2004. and 3) paper documents would be the driver of the process.

Over time. 2006. was selected as their Process Area Manager. fax. Due to business decisions made at the corporate level. the volumes of consumer maintenance and research requests at the beginning of 2004 were out of balance between the two sites. Boise.The team is responsible for processing service and maintenance requests received by the Total Customer Service (TCS) system. Tammi. and written customer inquiries. KeyBank. Virtual Client Services. In response to the resource issue. working virtually had transitioned from an idea or concept to reality. email. customer requests could be worked in either site. B. February 27. Idaho became one virtual team and Tammi Bourn. the two consumer Client Services teams in Cleveland. The idea of creating a virtual team started out based on circumstances. Consequently. interoffice. Ohio and Boise.30 The outcome of those discussions was the creation of the Virtual Consumer Client Services Team. VIRTUAL BECOMES REALITY In the first quarter of 2004. Boise team members received access to the Cleveland work queues and the Cleveland members received access to the Boise work queues. who is located in Boise. no matter which part of the country the customer request came from. 32 . Idaho. Vice President and Manager. The team also provides research and resolution of errors reported by internal and external clients and works various exception reports. 30 Bourn. meetings were held to consider the possibility and opportunity of combining the two teams and sharing their work virtually. In the world of loan services. there were not enough team members in Cleveland to complete the requests in the east and there were too many team members in Boise to finish the requests for the west. The details around making the Consumer Virtual Client Services Team a reality are explained next. For example.

33 . RESULTS At the beginning of any new initiative or major change in business. In the case of the virtual team in Consumer Client Services. 2) Increased flexibility and speed Ability to respond faster to customer requests (see Time Zone Advantages in Client section). our clients and our employees: Our company 1) Financial savings One leader with one virtual team instead of two leaders. 3) Standardized processes The sites in Cleveland and Boise have standardized their processes for servicing our KeyBank customers. Our clients 1) Workload shifting Shift work from Boise team members to Cleveland and vice versa. based on the volume of work to be done each day. these questions are being answered and the results have been very positive. The virtual team implementation has brought forth the following results and benefits for KeyBank.C. The Consumer Virtual Client Services Team has been able to reduce approximately 5-6 full-time employees due to the efficiencies gained by creating a virtual team. This provides the opportunity to handle customer requests more efficiently and quickly. you frequently contemplate questions such as: Is this going to work or not? Will everyone be “on board” with the change? What will be the final results of this change? I am sure these types of questions were asked and thought about by Tammi Bourn and all of her team members involved with the transition to Virtual Client Services. with two teams. one in each site.

2) Time zone advantages Ability to take advantage of the different time zones (Mountain Standard Time in Boise and Eastern Standard Time in Cleveland) to benefit our customers. 34 . specifically how their work impacts other teams and our clients. quality and service levels. and best practice sharing across the larger. Expand the 8-hour workday to a 10-hour workday by using the time zones to our advantage and our customer’s advantage. Our employees 1) Increased opportunities Learn and develop new skills and build relationships by working with team members from another location. it is only 3:00PM MST at the Boise site. which measures productivity. combined team. talent. These favorable results promote the continued exploration of virtual teams as a possible option for other teams and departments within the Operations Services Group. which provides an additional two hours to get the request completed. The virtual team has a common purpose focused on the goals of the team scorecard. 3) Diversity Tap into the strength of diversity with an expanded team and members in more than one location. late afternoon requests might have to wait until the next day to be processed. versus keeping two scorecards (one in each site). 4) Stronger overall team Increased knowledge. For example. 2) One performance scorecard Team moved to one virtual scorecard. when any customer request comes to the Cleveland site at 5:00PM EST. 5) Big picture The virtual team members have a greater understanding of the big picture. In the past.

91 percent agreed that virtual work saves their company time and money. Pennsylvania: Idea Group Publishing. I want to reveal the other significant findings from the survey32: 91 percent of workers who had participated on virtual teams found the experience to be productive and enjoyable. I shared some. an overwhelming majority of the employees (91 percent) enjoyed being part of a virtual team. In addition.S. FINAL SURVEY RESULTS “The business justification for virtual teams is strong. editors. Meetings in America III: A Study of the Virtual Workface in 2001. 2006.pdf 32 31 35 . In fact.com/meetingsinamerica/pdf/MIA3.”31 In the introductory chapter. when those surveyed were asked why they wanted to participate in virtual Grimshaw. The findings also disclosed that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of the respondents wanted to work on virtual teams more often going forward. The Virtual Workplace. January 7.mci. D. 60 percent of those who wanted to work more on virtual teams believed they will within the next five years.J. “I like working as part of a virtual team” and 55 percent strongly agreed with the statement. In fact.” In M. http://e-meetings. In the survey. but not all of the results of a survey conducted by Modalis Research Technologies on the subject of virtual teams and virtual work.T. The final part of the survey showed that virtual work saves time and money (56 percent strongly agreed and 35 percent agreed). Kwok. Tan. Igbaria and M. At my conclusion.CHAPTER VI: CONCLUSION A. 73 percent wanted to work on virtual teams more frequently in the future. 36 percent of those surveyed agreed with the statement. “The Business Benefits of the Virtual Organization. Hershey. 1998. and F.

teams more frequently. THREE WARNINGS There are three items to be aware of when looking into starting a virtual team. the team will not and can not be a virtual team. such as email. Careful consideration and planning must take place before creating a virtual team or transforming a traditional team into a virtual team. Warning #1 – Virtual is not for every team All teams should not and cannot become virtual teams. 36 . In many cases. when all of a team’s members and its leader are in one location. the number one reason was increased productivity. This type of team will use technologies that assist with communicating and transferring information. which is explained in Part C – Conclusion and Recommendation. a team of people physically separated (by time and/or space) who primarily interact electronically and who may meet face-to-face occasionally. if a company has teams doing similar type work with leaders and team members in two or more locations. All of these results are noteworthy and in favor of expanding the amount and frequency of virtual teams and virtual work. the opportunity for making a virtual team could be possible. and web conferencing. the circumstances will dictate whether or not a group of individuals can become a virtual team. as I refer to them. Every team situation is unique and must be closely analyzed before making a decision. These “warnings”. On the other hand. conference calls. For example. B. but will not meet the definition of a virtual team. I recommend using a virtual team template. are important to remember when making the decision to go down the virtual path.

The team aspects must be kept first and foremost. Organizations find limited success when they take a temporary or fragmented approach to virtual work. 150-151.33 Once a decision has been made to implement virtual work. communication and relationships are critical in ensuring the success of a virtual team. leadership should send a clear message that virtual work is not a “pilot” but rather a new way to find solutions for your company and clients. From the beginning. be committed to the success of the leader and team members involved. Teamwork is a critical component when you bring a group of individuals together. and 3) you’re taking a risk with your career if you get attached to a potential failure. Trina. Sterling. As discussed in previous chapters. 33 37 . team elements such as culture. 2001. but it can not and should not be the primary focus of a virtual team. The technology makes virtual possible. Always keep the “team” first in a virtual team. pp. This is no different for a virtual team. Virginia: Stylus Publishing. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. When looking back. such as 1) this may turn out to be another management fad. 2) we don’t know if it works ourselves. Hoefling. most companies agreed that they should not have “piloted” virtual work because it sent the wrong message to the team members.Warning #2 – A virtual team is a “team” first. trust. Warning #3 – Do not “pilot” virtual work.

5) The Virtual Client Services Team at Key has proven itself to be a successful pioneer of virtual teams and virtual work in the OSG. My recommended template for virtual teams is shown below: 38 . 2) Communication. I am making these conclusions in regards to virtual teams: 1) In the business world. 3) Virtual teams and virtual work are a viable option now to KeyBank and our Operations Services Group due to the many technologies available.” However. culture and leadership are the most critical success factors for a virtual team. I highly suggest that our leaders in the Operations Services Group use a template when considering virtual teams as an option. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS Based on the information researched and presented. my definite answer is “yes. with this positive response.C. trust. 4) Virtual teams can create quantifiable benefits to your company. the amount of virtual teams and virtual work is increasing and will continue to grow in the future. “should the Operations Services Group at Key continue to develop and implement virtual teams?” Based on my research and analysis. The final question to be answered is this. clients and employees. A template would be applied as a practical tool before (when looking into the possibility) implementing a virtual team and after (when a decision has been made) a virtual team has been put into practice.

Challenge the “status quo” – find out what is working and what is not working and make adjustments accordingly. A virtual team is a “team” first. The time for virtual teams has arrived. conflict management. Do not “pilot” virtual work. Construct team guidelines in regards to communication. it is the mainstream for today. Technical – effective use of the technologies described in Chapter IV. 3) Continue to advance the virtual team: Revisit the communication infrastructure. but how to drive change. AFTER IMPLEMENTATION 1) Hold a face-to-face kickoff meeting: Develop a team charter . mission and goals. Financial Company Customer Employee 3) Talk with other virtual teams inside and outside of Key and learn from their wisdom and experience. facilitation skills. Interpersonal – listening skills. Virtual is not for every team.the virtual team’s purpose. Virtual work is no longer an idea for the distant future. 2) Provide comprehensive training: Cultural – how to use culture as a competitive advantage. meetings. 39 . Change management – how to not just deal with change. “Traditional” is in the past and “virtual” is in the present and bright future of our Operations Services Group at KeyBank. With this arrival of a virtual environment come exciting challenges and opportunities. Look for new and improved technology solutions. giving and receiving feedback. Leadership – how to be an effective distance manager.Figure VIII – Virtual Team Template BEFORE IMPLEMENTATION 1) Follow the "3 Warnings". Share best practices with other virtual teams at Key. Conduct team building exercises. 2) Analyze and clearly define the benefits of moving to virtual. decision making.

work is going to the people. http://e-meetings.com/meetingsinamerica/pdf/MIA3. January 7. Or.pdf 34 40 . Commonly. Instead of people going to work. 2006. Meetings in America III: A Study of the Virtual Workface in 2001. virtual work means participating on project teams in which some of the members are not co-located.APPENDIX A: A Study of the Virtual Workforce34 The Virtual Workforce Virtual Work As A Way of Life There’s a new work paradigm. over two-thirds of those surveyed have engaged in virtual work at some point in time. In fact.mci. it can mean telecommuting or managing or being managed by someone in another place. and nearly half do so at least once a week – strong evidence that virtual communication tools are well integrated into daily business.

) Employers Are Catching On To Virtual Work Over one-quarter (27 percent) of workers surveyed are in organizations where virtual work has been institutionalized through policies that encourage working virtually. additional 21 percent are in companies whose work culture allows virtual work.APPENDIX A: A Study of the Virtual Workforce (cont. An This widespread adoption of practices and policies is strong evidence that virtual work is well entrenched in the American workforce. 41 .

42 .APPENDIX A: A Study of the Virtual Workforce (cont.” One aspect of virtual teamwork that was raised by several respondents was a perceived inherent challenge to work harder and smarter. Nearly two-thirds (55 percent) of those who surveyed had strongly agreed with the statement “I like working as part of virtual team.) Virtual Workers Enjoy Being Part of the Team A full 91 percent of workers with virtual team exposure stated that they liked their experience.

Most (60 percent) of those who want to work on virtual teams report that they anticipate it will become a part of their job in the next five years.APPENDIX A: A Study of the Virtual Workforce (cont.) Virtual Teams Are in High Demand Seventy-three percent of respondents who have not participated in virtual teams reported that they would like to do so in the future. 43 .

the number one reason was increased productivity (cited by 32 percent of respondents). more managers (63 percent) than staff (47 percent) strongly agree that virtual meetings save their organization time and money. As decision-makers. 44 .APPENDIX A: A Study of the Virtual Workforce (cont.) Virtual Work Saves Time and Money The likely impact of virtual work on productivity. More than half (56 percent) of those surveyed strongly agree that virtual meetings save time and money. and hence profitability of organizations. In fact. Sixty-one percent of respondents indicate that the timesaving gained by working virtually allows them to participate in other work-related activities. it is important that managers see the benefits of virtual work. and they do. when asked why they want to participate in virtual teams more frequently. is also great. In fact.

p. I know the functional background of each team member and of the team’s leader. The team should discuss the areas that members respond to differently. 1999.). and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. 7. Instructions: Each member of the team should complete the questionnaire individually. Tool. Yes/No 1. It feels natural to discuss whether problems are task related or culturally biased. Snyder. 3. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. I am aware of each team member’s nationality. I understand the similarities and differences that exist in the organizational cultures that are represented on the team. 4. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. I feel capable of discussing the key similarities and differences of each member’s national culture. I am aware of the team leader’s nationality. 6. 5. 45 . 68. and N. 8. 35 Duarte. The cultural differences on the team can be used to help the team to be more successful. The team has set up ground rules to address cultural issues before they become problems.APPENDIX B: Team-Culture Profile35 The following checklist offers a way for virtual team members to begin to discuss cultural differences. 9. 2. D. I feel comfortable in addressing cultural issues by means of electronic communication.

and concern for the well-being of others. 1999. learning. Reconvene the total group and have subgroups present their results from step 7. 6. (Responses may include facilitation of risk taking.) Also discuss the consequences of a low-trust environment. Introduce the three factors of trust: performance and competence. Discuss which items might be implemented quickly and which will be more long term. 9. 4. if possible. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. 2. Distribute the trust checklists and review the examples in each trust category. Ask the team members how trust promotes an effective work environment. (If the session being conducted by video conference or audio conference. 5. Tool. creativity. Assign each group (or several individuals if the session is remote) one of the trust categories: performance and competence. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. integrity. 10. Ask for volunteers to discuss their actions. Add items if appropriate.APPENDIX C: Trust Behaviors Exercise36 Instructions: The following steps constitute a one-and-one-half to two-hour session with a virtual team and its leader to introduce the topic of trust.). 144. Reconvene the total group and discuss the lists. and innovation. p. Provide some examples of each. Have the subgroup members discuss the items generated in step 4 and the items in the trust checklist in relation to each of the elements in their category and decide how they could be implemented in the team. Snyder. Assign time frames to actions and accountabilities. D. Ask each person to work individually to select one item/action from each trust category that he or she will commit to. 8. Close the session. Introduce the topic of trust as an important element of leadership in the team and in the organization. Link these items to the items presented in step 3. 3. 7. assign individuals to work on specific trust factors. Follow up on action items. Divide the team into three subgroups. integrity. Split the team into three subgroups. and N. 1. 46 . or concern for the well-being of others. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies.) Ask each subgroup (or individual) to create a list of behaviors or actions in the team that contribute to trust. 36 Duarte. The exercise is intended to be used in a face-to-face session. 11.

10-12. Val. Remember all that? Leadership was pretty straightforward then. Welcome to virtual reality. Travel: How often are you going to have to fly around the county to meet your direct reports? Relationships: How will you get to know your virtual team members? How will you build rapport? Performance: How will you assess what kind of job they are doing? When and how will you actually observe their performance? Communication: How will you keep your direct reports updated? So much happens in a day. They dropped into your office or you went to lunch together to build a relationship. you could list examples of things you personally observed. How can you build a strong team? Email: You get hundreds of emails a week. 47 . how will you know when you have a conflict with a direct report? Or when team members have a conflict with each other? Promotion: How do you evaluate when someone is ready for promotion? How do you know when it's time to eliminate a poor performer? Walking the talk: How will your direct reports observe you if you can't "walk the floor"? How can you "model" if you don't see people? Remember when you could actually walk down the halls and “drop in” on your direct reports? When you did their performance evaluations. how will you have time to keep them in the loop? Delegation: You don't even see some of your team members. 2002. Virtual Leadership: Great Tips on Managing People From Afar Using Today’s Technology. New Jersey: Shadowbrook Publishing. Well. Edison. How will you use email effectively to lead your team? Conflict: With people in different locations. those days are gone. pp. How will you know who is capable of what? How will you track their deadlines? Teambuilding: They are dispersed.APPENDIX D: Challenges of Virtual Leadership37 Here are a few of the challenges for a virtual leader. 37 Williams.

and N. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. p. 105. Tool. 48 . You may choose to post this on a team Web site. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.APPENDIX E: Virtual Team Guidelines38 Instructions: Use this worksheet to document your virtual team guidelines.). Team Name: Team Guidelines Category Keeping in Touch with Other Team Members Meeting Management Decision Making and Problem Solving Conflict Management Working Together to Produce or Review Documents Other Team Member’s Signature: Guidelines 38 Duarte. Snyder. D. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. 1999. Make certain that all team members agree to each guideline and have all team members sign the document.

1997.. “The Business Benefits of the Virtual Organization. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Khoshafian. Tan. San Francisco. Jaclyn. 2004.S. Kostner. Jill. New York: John Wiley & Sons.” In M. Nemiro. 1997. 1996. Leading Self-Directed Work Teams: A Guide to Developing New Team Leadership Skills. Inc. Massachusetts: HRD Press. Shaw. Virtual Teams That Work: Creating Conditions for Virtual Team Effectiveness.BIBLIOGRAPHY BOOKS Duarte. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Malone. R. Virtual Teams: People Working Across Boundaries with Technology. Amherst. Jessica and Jeffrey Stamps. Setrag and Marek Buckiewicz. Sterling. Trina. Mastering Virtual Teams: Strategies. Working Virtually: Managing People for Successful Virtual Teams and Organizations. Kwok. 2000. 2004. New York: John Wiley & Sons. editors. Kimball and Mareen Duncan Fisher.).. Workflow. Christina B. Fisher. 2001. and Techniques That Succeed (2nd ed. 1993. The Distance Manager: A Hands-On Guide to Managing Off-Site Employees and Virtual Teams. Jessica and Jeffrey Stamps. 2003. Igbaria and M.J. 2001. 1995. Trust in the Balance. Hoefling. Grimshaw. New York: John Wiley & Sons. and Workgroup Computing. Virtual Teams: Reaching Across Space. Working Virtually: Challenges of Virtual Teams. D. New York: Warner Books. Time. Hershey. Snyder. and Susan G. Creativity in Virtual Teams: Key Components for Success. Lipnack. D. 1999. Introduction to Groupware. and Organizations With Technology.T. Cohen. Robert and Robert Oyung. 1998. 101 Leadership Actions for Creating and Managing Virtual Teams. Lipnack. Jones. Tool. Gibson. Ollie. Kimball. Pennsylvania: CyberTech Publishing. 2005. 49 . and F. New York: McGraw-Hill. Fisher. editors. New York: McGraw-Hill. California: Pfeiffer Publishing. Virginia: Stylus Publishing. The Virtual Workplace. Hershey. and N. Pennsylvania: Idea Group Publishing. Virtual Leadership: Secrets from the Round Table for the Multi-Site Manager.

Stevie and Velda Stohr. Loan Services Group.com/concise_oed/virtual? Snyder. KeyBank. New Jersey: Shadowbrook Publishing.htm Katzenbach. INTERVIEWS Bourn. June 23. Val. http://www.. Leader to Leader. Cleveland. Foster.htm 50 . 2005-2006. KeyBank. January 20. Merriam-Webster Inc. Thomas L.gsb.com/~daveg/index. 2006. PERIODICALS Greenbaum. http://csc06klintpa01s. February 3.Williams. Vice President and Manager. 2006. http://leadertoleader. Team Building in Virtual Teams.mci.org/grp_skll/virtual/virtual. Edison. http:///www. February 17. http://www. R and Douglas K.stanford.edu/news/bmag/sbsm0305/feature_virtual_teams. http://www. Operational Balance & Control. 2006. Virtual Client Services. http://e-meetings.askoxford. February 1998. Oxford: Oxford University Press.htm#anchor54953 Soanes. Smith. Senior Vice President and Group Leader. Compact Oxford English Dictionary of Current English.com/HMMPLUS/virtual/index.pdf Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary.managementhelp. 2006.. February 27. Tenth Edition. 2005. Bill. Stanford Business Magazine. May 2003. Cindy.org/leaderbooks/L2L/fall2001 Meetings in America III: A Study of the Virtual Workface in 2001. “The Discipline of Virtual Teams”. “Avoiding a ‘Virtual’ Disaster”.com/cgi-bin/dictionary Peterson. Jon. HR Focus. Fifth Generation Work – Virtual Organization.seanet. KeyBank. “Virtual Teams”. INTERNET Gould. Linda. C.keybank. 2006. Boise. Cleveland. Ohio. 2006. David. Idaho. January 17. Kalinsky. http://www. Virtual Leadership: Great Tips on Managing People From Afar Using Today’s Technology. January 7. “Teams That Span Time Zones Face New Work Rules”. 2002. Vice President and Manager. Fall 2001. Tammi. and S. Hawker. January 14. Ohio. 2006.com/meetingsinamerica/pdf/MIA3.m-w.shtml “Working with a Virtual Team” Harvard Manager Mentor Plus.

Michael D. Snodgrass March 28. I have transitioned from a consumer loan officer to real estate manager to my current position of Vice President and National Manager of KeyBank’s Operations Services Internal Control. Over the past seven years with Key. I was offered and accepted a consumer lending position at KeyBank. Any work of others has been placed in quotations and identified as such with appropriate citation(s) to the source(s). I have not shared my completed work with any other PCBS student nor have I read the completed work of any other student. Idaho. 2006 51 . Bank) of Boise. Subsequently. Once I completed the bank’s management trainee program. CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY I hereby certify that the work contained in this paper is my own.BIOGRAPHICAL SUMMARY After graduating from Boise State University in 1991 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in business management. I became a consumer/commercial loan officer. Over the next five years I worked as a loan officer in several branches. I was hired by West One Bank (now U.S.