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Communication tools for the Global Team Leader June 3, 2009

Posted by rickbron in Bronder On People, Communication, Global communication, Global leadership, Leading globally, Team basics, Uncategorized.
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The Big Dogz not only employ the most effective communication technology, they also use special techniques to facilitate the exchange of information.

Availability map

One of the most perplexing problems faced by the global leader is what time of the 24 hour day do we have meetings or just interact with each other? An answer is the availability map.

This tool is used to describe your availability situation visually. Sometimes seeing the situation visually can help give insights to how best to solve your problem. First you get a copy of the world time zone map. I have attached one for your use.

First find your location on the map and draw a straight line representing your normal work day, usually 8 hours. The line starts in your time zone and goes west for 8 time zones. Next find the locations of your global team members and draw a line for each of them. Use the start of their time zone as the start of the day. When you are finished, you will have a set of parallel lines that may or may not overlap. Using this picture, figure out how you will handle the issue of availability.  

I have attached a sample of a completed availability map for a widely dispersed global team. As you can see on this map, there are no easy solutions, but we now have a better definition of the problem.

Super communications

If I need to talk to someone, when will they be there? Of course the hours of availability provide an excellent opportunity to communicate. For a specific time in those hours, set aside time for all communications technology to be enabled. This means:

 Cell phones and pagers on

IM enabled

Voice mail check

Email check

Be around to answer the phone

Electronic huddle

Need to get everyone together for a quick announcement. Use the electronic huddle. Any of the group communication technologies work for the huddle. These impromptu meetings are short and focused on one topic.  When your team has mastered the control to keep huddle meetings short, you can add status reporting to the list of topics. Here are some effective topics for a huddle:

Kickoff a mini project

Recognition of a team member

Identify help people need

Disclose discoveries

Congratulations or greeting for a cultural event

Team website

Need a place to post announcements and to store documents? Using a free project management solution like ActiveCollab can address most of your needs to store information that is vital to the team. Or, those of you in large corporations check this out with your IT person. Most IT organizations have the capability to set up your website. Here is just some of the information that could be stored on the web:

 Check lists

Contact points meeting minutes

Project assignments

Status reports

Breaking news

Pictures and bios of team members

Links to resources

Make sure you let everyone know when the website has been updated.

Availability map

Availability map sample

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