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ACE Network: Building Stronger Team Relationships with Video Calls

In my job as Program Manager for the Cisco IT Advanced Cisco Experience (ACE) Program, I need to meet regularly with my team members, leaders of the user communities we serve, and other colleagues who are all over the world.

Sure, I could handle some of these interactions with an audio-only phone call, but I’d miss the face-to-face interaction and I don’t have time to travel to meet each team in person. But today I conduct many of these small group meetings and individual conversations as HD-quality video calls over the personal Cisco TelePresence EX90 endpoint that’s on my desk, using the ACE network video services. Read More »

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How to Build a Happier and More Efficient Team

For those of us in large enterprises, it’s easy to feel lost in the sea of employees. With the rise of mobility, virtualization, and BYOD, many of us in the tech industry work from home, other offices, or even other countries. Because of this, many of us miss the chance to build good relationships with other team members. People with good work relationships are more productive, and tend to stay around longer.

Recently, my team had a major re-org, and helping new team members feel at home has been on the forefront of my mind. Here are some tips I am following to build a happier, healthier, and even more efficient team:  Read More »

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Extraordinary Teamwork When Teammates are Remote

July 19, 2012 at 9:33 am PST

I enjoy being part of a team. It’s great for generating ideas, getting support for my ideas, feeling like I am not alone and knowing I can get help if I get stuck. And then there’s the celebrating when we pull off a big project and get to share in the glory and excitement.

But these days, at least half my team members are somewhere else.

While I can walk down the hall to talk to some of my co-workers, I find I am on email or WebEx for others. Keeping everyone on track is my main goal. In this article on the Seven Habits of Extraordinary Teams, they confirm communication is an important ingredient:

Depending upon the goals and time frame, teams should meet at least once a week, and more often if necessary. More importantly, team communications must be tooled (or retooled if necessary) so that each team member understands what’s going on–and, perhaps more importantly, what is expected of him or her before the next meeting.

But it also cites the complimentary requirement that goes with good communication, sharing resources.

For a team to be successful, members must be willing to share whatever resources they control that are required for the team to achieve its goal.  These include physical resources (money, materials, office space, computers, etc.) as well as mental or emotional resources (like ideas, suggestions, encouragement, or enthusiasm). When team members hoard, teams are weakened–often to the point of total failure.

Read More »

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Do you use the word “today” in your emails?

The other day I was reading a blog post from the Guardian’s Mind Your Language Blog and was interested to learn that The Guardian is following in The BBC’s footsteps and has dropped most references to words like “today”, “tomorrow”, “yesterday”, “tonight” and so on from reports on their website. Many of their readers are spread out across the globe and such words will have different meanings for them, depending on which time zone they are in. These national newspapers feel that by including words like “yesterday” and “today” (unless a day is still relevant), they are in fact excluding a large sector of their readers. Read More »

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