One problem with distance collaboration is getting the trust of your remotely located team
Collaboration360 Consultants believes that the best way to create team trust is to have the members collaboratively build a plan together. If they collaboratively believes in the plan and each other, the team will connect to it. This connection enables them to collaboratively lead with it from start to finish.
Through our Compass AE process, the team learns to collaboratively build and connect with their Tangible Vision. When they lead with their Tangible Vision, they collaborate regardless of the distance, the technology and the project culture.
Q: What is the Tangible Vision?
A: The Tangible Vision is a goal, a plan that a Compass AE project team collaborates through. It also emphasizes a clearly-defined vision or mission statement that a team believes in.
How Email Brings You Closer to the Guy in the Next Cubicle
By Tim Harford 01.18.08 | 6:00 PM
As a columnist (which is fancy for "journalist in jammies"), I ought to personify th conventional wisdom that distance is dead: All I need to get my work done is a place to perch and a Wi-Fi signal. But if that's true, why do I still live in London, the second-most expensive city in the world?
If distance really didn't matter, rents in places like London, New York, Bangalore, and Shanghai would be converging with those in Hitchcock County, Nebraska (population 2,926 and falling). Yet, as far as we can tell through the noise of the real estate bust, they aren't. Wharton real estate professor Joseph Gyourko talks instead of "superstar cities," which have become the equivalent of luxury goods — highly coveted and ultra-expensive. If geography has died, nobody bothered to tell Hitchcock County.
Maybe it's because society hasn't wholeheartedly accepted the idea of working remotely. Or perhaps communications technology just isn't all it's hyped up to be. After all, the journalists and consultants who tell us that location is insignificant are biased. Like me, they're the people whose lives have been most transformed by the Internet and cell phones.
But I think the truth is more profound than either of those glib explanations: Technology makes it more fun and more profitable to live and work close to the people who matter most to your life and work. Harvard economist Ed Glaeser, an expert on city economies, argues that communications technology and face-to-face interactions are complements like salt and pepper, rather than substitutes like butter and margarine. Paradoxically, your cell phone, email, and Facebook networks are making it more attractive to meet people in the flesh.
The most obvious example is online dating. With sites like BBW (Big Beautiful Women) Datefinder and Senior People Meet, it's a lot easier to find like-minded flames. But that's not much use unless you live within driving range of your 98 percent-compatible love connection. The kind of contact that follows online winking is far from virtual.
It follows that matchmaking is most effective in densely populated areas, where there are plenty of fish but an awfully big sea. If you live in Los Angeles, online dating is the killer app. If you live in a small town, you've likely already met all your potential mates at church or a bar.
Of course, the rest of life isn't like courting. Or is it? In big cities, our communication tools are especially helpful because they keep us from getting lost in the crowd (which is not something you worry about in a one-street town). There are even services that tell you where your friends are by locating their cell signals.
New technologies can strengthen ties within your business, too. A 2007 study by economists Neil Gandal, Charles King, and Marshall Van Alstyne looked at the networks formed by 125,000 email messages from the staff of an executive-recruiting firm. It found that email's real value isn't in communicating with Kuala Lumpur but with Betsy in the next cubicle. The most productive workers have the densest intracompany email web.
This shouldn't surprise us. Email makes it quicker and easier to reach your colleagues — you don't have to interrupt them, and messages are easy to process. But email doesn't stop you from wanting facetime, too. Just the opposite: By enabling us to maintain productive business relationships with more people, it encourages more face-to-face contact. Have you noticed business travel dying out? Neither have I. Air travel is at record highs.
One day, perhaps, virtual communication will become so good we'll no longer feel the need to shake hands with a new collaborator or brainstorm in the same room. But for now, the world seems to be changing in a way that actually demands more meetings. Business is more innovative, and its processes more complex. That demands tacit knowledge, collaboration, and trust — all things that seem to follow best from person-to-person meetings. "Ideas are more important than ever," Glaeser says, "and the most important ideas are communicated face-to-face."
/// Compass AE process enables a team to build trust while building a project plan.
Which explains why the highest-tech industries are the most dependent on geography. In a study published in the American Economic Review, researchers examined 4,000 US-based commercial innovations and found that more than half came from just three areas: California, New York/New Jersey, and Massachusetts. Almost half of all US pharmaceutical innovations were invented in New Jersey, a state with less than 3 percent of the nation's population.
In theory, technology should allow new-economy firms to prosper as easily in Nebraska as in Silicon Valley. But far from killing distance, it has made proximity matter more than ever.
/// With the Compass AE process, the project team collaborates without borders. Distance, technology and project culture becomes irrelevant.
As for me, I've been finishing off this essay between a coffee date with my wife and some essential chitchat with my publishers at a central London restaurant. This old city isn't cheap, and it isn't easy. But with my cell phone and laptop to back me up, I can't afford to live anywhere else.
Tim Harford (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the author of The Logic of Life: The Rational Economics of an Irrational World.http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/magazine/16-02/st_essay
If you want your team to collaborate without borders, please email us at contact us at contactus [tat]collaboration360[dott] com . [ Replace [tat] with "@" and [dot] with "." ]