People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28

ware) that specify members' roles and responsibilities, as well
as track progress toward goals per team, can help leaders and
members to deconflict the bottlenecks and "pinch points." Yet
no technology solutions can fully overcome members' having
too many team assignments and other commitments which
inevitably create conflicts, overloads, stress, and frustration for
all. It is critical for HR to have a strategy for assigning members to VTs and to minimize overcommitting members.
Nature of work: Is the work tightly connected and/or flexible? The final team characteristic, nature of the work, requires
HR to inquire about the type of tasks the VT performs. VTs
engage in many different types of tasks, and the features of
those tasks (e.g., interdependence, timeline flexibility) dictate
how challenging they will be for VT members to coordinate.
The more the team task requires team members to work at
the same time, the more they need to use tools that enable
real-time communication. This has direct implications for
who should be on the team (e.g., can you minimize time
zone differences) and which technologies (e.g., shared virtual
workspaces, teleconferencing) are important. Some projects
enable individual members or smaller subsets of members to
work independently for long stretches with minimal coordination, whereas other tasks demand a tightly orchestrated set of
activities among all team members. To the extent that the VT
tasks requires simultaneous activities with minimal flexibility,
members need to coordinate using more synchronous virtual
tools. Alternatively, to the extent that there is minimal need to
coordinate activities in real time, members can sequence activities with a great deal of discretion and asynchronous tools
may be more suitable for coordinating their activities with
an occasional same-time review during critical or milestone
points in the project.

Acquire Resources

The power of polarities come when VT leaders and members
are aware of them, consider how to align their actions with
their context (e.g., nature of their work), and can acquire
the necessary resources to manage their polarities. Although
there are no universal panaceas for achieving both-and results, there are some key areas where HR can take a leadership
role: 1) staffing, 2) training, 3) planning, and 4) technology.
Staffing. The first and most important staffing consideration is who really needs to be on the team and how many
other team memberships they are committed to. Generally
speaking, teams should be relatively small, ideally around seven members (plus or minus two). Second, consider the value
of establishing "core" versus "peripheral" memberships. Core
members are actively engaged and peripheral members are
simply informed of progress or brought in for specific purposes. Important but overly committed staff may be better suited
to be peripheral team members. Finally, weigh the benefits of
adding someone with unique knowledge, skills, abilities, or
other characteristics versus the coordination challenges associated with that person interacting virtually.
Training. Sensitize VTs to polarity thinking (e.g., provide
28

PEOPLE + STRATEGY

training on polarity thinking, administer and debrief polarity
assessments). Both-and thinking can initially feel counterintuitive and will take practice, patience, and suspending preferences for "quick fixes" as polarities are ongoing challenges.
Foster a culture that integrates polarity management as a
teamwork leadership competency. Support team leaders and
members as they integrate polarity management into their
practice by accepting the fact that successful VTs must act paradoxically to be effective. Finally, help teams tie action plans
and efforts to leverage polarities to broader organizational
outcomes (e.g., strategy, culture).
Planning. Having a clear blueprint for what needs to be
accomplished helps VT members to coordinate their efforts,
especially when they are separated by time and geography.
Proper planning, scoping, timing, resources, feedback
mechanisms, etc. help team members understand their roles
and maintain awareness of requirements and progress. In
addition, it is important to lay a solid foundation concerning how the VT will operate as a team and encourage VT
leaders to create team charters or role responsibility grids
where members familiarize themselves with one another and
establish procedures for coordinating their efforts, providing
input, gaining feedback, and making decisions. Next, detail
which virtual tools will be used for what purposes. This is vital
for streamlining communications, minimizing multi-channel
overload (where the same information is sent via multiple mediums), and avoiding work falling in the cracks between members. Other preparations such as team training (especially for
unusual or new work activities) and team building (especially
for teams with little member familiarity) help members to get
off on the right foot.
Technology. Have the right tools for the job and assure
team members know how to use them. VTs need to select the
appropriate tools, which requires being aware of the digital
suite of collaborative tools, considering which technologies
can realistically be available to all members (e.g., access to
technology, bandwidth, internet connection speeds, etc.),
and then training individuals on how to use them, for what
purposes, and when. Note, the latest technologies, the most
"lifelike," or "what we have always used" are not necessarily the
best choices. The tools that are well aligned with the tasks that
need to be accomplished, and that members know how to-
and will actually use-represent the best tools for the job. In
addition, HR can help assure VTs select a sufficient number of
tools to enable both formal and informal communication, but
not so many that it becomes unclear which ones to use for different activities. For instance, if some members use texts from
their mobile phone while others employ IM tools for instant
updating, communications will be lost. Finally, VTs need to select collaboration tools that are sensitive to global dispersion/
time zone differences and the amount of time spent traveling.
For example, phone calls are often a suitable way to quickly
obtain clarification or work through a complex issue. However, if the communication needs to occur when the intended
recipient is likely unavailable (e.g., sleeping, on an airplane,
with a client), email may be the preferable tool.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2

From the Executive Editor
From the Guest Editor
Perspectives
Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
The Rise of Digital Team Building
Executive Roundtable
In First Person
Linking Theory + Practice
Insight into Action
Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 1
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 2
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Executive Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 5
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - From the Guest Editor
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 7
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Perspectives
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 9
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 10
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 11
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 12
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 13
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 14
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 15
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Ignition Teams: Rising to the Challenges of Innovation
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 17
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 18
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 19
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 20
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 21
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Challenge Accepted: Managing Polarities to Enhance Virtual Team Effectiveness
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 23
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 24
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 25
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 26
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 27
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 28
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 29
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Facilitating Trust and Communication in Virtual Teams
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 31
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 32
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 33
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 34
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 35
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Building Entrepreneurial Teams: Talent, Social Capital, and Culture
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 37
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 38
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 39
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 40
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 41
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Organizations That Get Teamwork Right
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 43
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 44
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 45
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Team Development: The Power of Debriefing
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 47
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 48
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 49
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 50
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 51
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - The Rise of Digital Team Building
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 53
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 54
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 55
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Executive Roundtable
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 57
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 58
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 59
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 60
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 61
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - In First Person
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 63
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 64
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 65
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Linking Theory + Practice
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 67
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 68
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 69
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Insight into Action
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 71
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Leadership Insights
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 73
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - 74
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover3
People & Strategy Spring 2018 Vol. 41 No. 2 - Cover4
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