geographic dispersion of team members : LUSENET : work teams : One Thread

does anyone have insights into the issues and solutions surrounding the impact of geographic dispersion of team members? i am working with a team of folks who are located in 4 cities across the US, and offered to research this question for them. fyi - some of the issues they are dealing with include communication, team building, bonding. thanks for your help. paul

-- paul g kimmerling (, July 17, 2001


Hello Paul,

I'm dealing with similar teams at Ericsson. The approach I'm taking is to first bring all the members together on a couple of occasions to accomplish the following:

Goal setting Inividual and team expectation setting Design a communication approach Get to know each other better Create the format for future meetings (face-to-face and over the net)

Then, I will choose a subset of the entire group of people to function as a core team who WILL be able to come together face-to- face more regularly to work on projects; solve problems, etc. The requirement is that each member of the core team must choose an appropriate number of people "back home" to communicate and receive inputs from. This core team rotates every 6 mos. to a year so that everyone has a chance to be on it.

This is really just a summary of my plan. Hope this helps.

Regards, Carrie

-- Carrie McHale (, July 23, 2001.

Hi Paul,

Geographic dispersion is what we are all about. We have 12,000 miles of gas transmission pipeline in 10 states. We build teams across that whole territory.

First you have to answer the question: "Why do these people need to team together? What is their purpose?"

From there you will be able to get them to see why working together will add benefit to them. Without this, without a really good purpose, I fear they will NEVER collaborate no matter how hard you push it. Instead, you want to show them the need and have them PULL it. Big difference.

Next, you need to use technology wisely. There are 1200 people here with cell phones, microwave radios, voicemails and all of us are on the same email system. We also can set up multi-port conference calls using an 800 number access. We do that a LOT. We communicate a lot. Wise use of technology will save cost and improve communications with teams at a distance. By the way, we scrapped using satellite meetings, they are minutely better than a voice only meeting - and they cost a lot.

Finally, you need to consider how often you want to get them together for face to face interaction. There is some of this that is essential, even though it does cost some money. And, very important point, when you do get them together make sure the agenda is rock solid to avoid them belly aching about a waste of time. Nothing worse than having a meeting no one wants to be at!

Hope this helps.

Joe Cimbak OD Consultant (internal) Columbia Gas Transmission Corporation

-- Joe Cimbak (, July 23, 2001.

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