Are you ready to scale your company for growth into the midmarket arena? The global marketplace requires a virtual collaborative workplace. Projects become more complex, involving work teams from all corners of the globe. How comfortable is your company with virtual collaboration?
If your company has built a solid regional marketplace, you are used to visiting customers in person. That is a luxury. Consider your competitive strategy for expanding your reach nationally, as well as globally. Your strategy involves increasing your use of virtual collaboration platforms to facilitate workflow.
How comfortable are you with this technology?
Your virtual competitors have developed the acumen for making customers feel as though they are in the same room with them. That is the type of expertise, experience and comfort level your company must acquire when scaling for growth. It’s not simply a matter of creating output and handing it off to someone “out there in cyberspace.” There is a human and emotional element involved in virtual collaboration.
The common denominator in collaborative communication is technical nomenclature. The majority of virtual IT, engineering and manufacturing collaboration creates input, throughput and output comprised of calibrations and design specifications. What happens when that universal nomenclature is throughput in a collaborative clinical setting with technical as well as non-technical decision makers? Can you safely and confidently assume that your engineers and physicists understand and can represent the intention of the designs created by their engineers and physicists?
Virtual collaboration hinges on creating a viable communication strategy. Otherwise something might be lost in your virtual translation. The roots of that communication strategy start within your current workplace. How well does your team communicate with each other throughout the course of a project?
Take your team’s pulse during meetings. Ask them whether, or not, they understand what’s being communicated and prioritized. Does everyone resemble a bobble-head doll? Nodding their heads up and down that they “understand” doesn’t translate into everyone being on the same page. When everyone writes down “what” they heard, and you compare notes, you could be in for a surprise.
A good place to plan for virtual workplace collaboration starts at home. If your own teams are not on the same page, you will have difficulty aligning throughput with virtual work teams. As your local team develops the ability to collaborate and communicate effectively, it’s time to test the virtual waters. Hold a virtual meeting, with your own team.
Not every expert in your organization will initially be comfortable with virtual collaboration. Technology collaboration platforms can be daunting. Glitches like dropped calls, improperly functioning interfaces and poor audio and video quality can frazzle team members. Internal team “dress rehearsals” allow for smoother results as you graduate onto the big stage of virtual collaboration.
Plan on scaling the comfort level you have within your regional marketplace onto a global stage. Learn how to make customers feel as though they are in the same room with you. Start by creating processes and practices within your own organization and internal teams. Once you all are on the same collaborative communication page, you are primed to go virtual.
Babette N. Ten Haken, President of Sales Aerobics for Engineers®, LLC, catalyzes collaborative business transition, startup growth, and professional development. She works with non-traditional sellers: engineers, small and midmarket manufacturers, and technical startups. Her book on collaboration strategies and tools, Do YOU Mean Business? Technical / Non-Technical Collaboration, Business Development and YOU is available on Amazon.com.
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