Just pick up the phone would ya?

July 22, 2008 at 9:35 pm 1 comment

I had lunch today with an upper level manager from a large, global corporation.  The purpose of lunch was to collaborate on working with remote teams–challenges, what works, what doesn’t, where are the holes, etc.  He works for a technology company so having collaboration tools at his disposal is not an issue.  He has a plethora to choose from and admits that he has only scratched the surface here as there are so many available.  His team is global with a significant number out of the country and time zone!  He has done many things right in getting cohesiveness on his team like meeting with those that are remote to get to know them face to face, posting pictures on the intranet site, profiles are online, instant messanger products and conference calls are used to name a few things.  BUT when I asked what the biggest factor was in bringing his team together he said “the telephone!”  It made me think that too many people avoid the phone now and sometimes use email and the other online tools to avoid talking with folks.  If communication and trust are the foundation of collaboration, doesn’t the phone make sense?  He said he encounter resistance from his team at first, but he does practice what he preaches.  He commits 2, 1 hour phone calls a week to his team members that are on the other side of the globe.  He has his local team members do the same–they are required 1 hour of phone time with their counterpart once a week.  This has helped in many regards–starting to understand each other’s culture, overcoming language barriers and challenges and just basic clarification that everyone is understanding goals and projects the same.  The phone time has also become their “water cooler” time as I like to call it.  Over time they have evolved into developing relationships with one another and asking about each other’s lives.  Just like you do with those you are face to face with daily. This was a great reminder to me!  The telephone—“reach out and touch someone” as the Bell ad states!  Happy collaborating!


Entry filed under: collaboration, Debbie Tegart, remote teams, Teams. Tags: , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Megan  |  August 3, 2008 at 1:40 am

    Such a good point. With email, IM, etc., people don’t talk to each other anymore. I once worked at a company where calling co-workers was considered a faux pas. You had to IM or email, and if you wanted to call, you needed to ask the other person permission to call them. The phone was to be used only as a last resort, and you certainly weren’t supposed to go talk to someone face to face. As a result, many of the people I worked with everyday via email/IM, I wouldn’t even recognize if I passed them in the street! Just never met anyone in person.


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