The self guided virtual organizationPosted: September 13, 2007
The title has two problems to solve. What is required from a successful self guided organization and how do you manage a virtual organization? Both are difficult questions.
Lets tackle the first: self guided organization. Self guidance requires self motivation, which in my opinion stems from the right incentives. Incentives do not always have to be monetary. No matter how attractive you make the opportunity, not all of us will have the spark (passion to excel) that is required to cease the day. Compensation is higher in Maslov’s needs hierarchy, but when it is covered passion is what separates us. Under the right compensation model individuals with a burning need to excel having the ability to think strategically and act tactically will be able to reach a level of self guidance.
If we now have self guided individuals that are geographically dispersed, how do we make sure that they function as a part of a team? Passionate people often by default have a heightened notion of self, which makes them territorial. This leads to another topic, which is that skilled professionals need to be managed as individuals and not as masses. Through individual management territorial disputes can be reconciled… maximizing overall happiness. Teams should in any case be multifunctional. Each individual team member takes responsibility for a mutually needed skill set. That individual needs to be the uncontested subject matter expert in their field or they are not pulling their weight. In this format we rarely run into territorial overlaps.
Now that we have assigned roles and responsibilities and harmony within the team, we still need management tools. Funnel tools are only as good as the information that is inserted. My experience is that quality information is a result of quality reciprocation. To put it coarsely: "If I maintain your funnel tool, what is in it for me?" Funnel tool utility for user usually manifests through automation of their personal working routines. If I maintain accurate contacts it will help me to prospect in the future. My funnel is also my to-do list and commissions projection. I am yet to see a sales management tool that out of the box offers a real time sale commissions forecaster. What is more important and motivating to sales staff then seeing how much more they could make if they put in the extra effort?
The same applies to intranets. Who bothers to go in to read internal news articles if there is nothing there that helps me with my daily goals… what is in it for me? Now place the last version of the sales deck next to the bulletin board and by chance people may read the bulletin board as well. Offer a simple 10 click tool for preparing quotes… and soon you will have all your quotes orderly, eligible and standardized. Integrated the quote generator to your funnel tool and presto you will know the exact composition of your forecast.
Messenger (if only it had a teleconferencing function) is great for maintaining a team atmosphere regardless of distance. Sharepoint is a great team collaboration tool. Personal utility and simplicity again are key!