When it comes to pulling together your dream team for long-term business goals, it isn’t enough to just give each member their set of tasks and assume nothing more is needed. A team is committed to a common goal. When you build your dream team online, it’s important to give it an identity and help each team member feel that their contribution is valuable.
Define Goals For Your Online Team
As the leader of your team, it’s up to you to define its purpose. What is the objective of your online team? Not only share with your team the desired result of their performance but let them know why it is so vital to your business that you accomplish this goal.
For instance, perhaps you want to increase lead conversions on your website. Each team member has a set of different tasks (landing page design, email marketing, copywriting, etc.). However, it’s good to let the team know that your goal is to increase lead conversions significantly (at least by 30%) because you want more email sign-ups to prepare your business for the new software version launch in two months.
Sharing this type of information gives your online team a target that is quantifiable. There are a few benefits when you do this:
- You generate excitement. Team members realize that they play an integral part of reaching the goal and it motivates them to give their very best efforts toward making it happen.
- You generate ideas. When team members know exactly what you want to happen, it allows them to come up with creative solutions and ideas that you may not have considered.
- You generate synergy. When more ideas are generated, the team starts to feed off of each other’s energy. Before you know it, some team members will be working with each other on new ideas and strategies.
When you first get an online team together, you can use tools such as Skype or Google+ to meet together and discuss long-term goals, explore the parameters of the job, and identify any potential problems. Using a collaboration tool such as Basecamp can also help connect team members with one another and provide consistent communication across time zones.
The Power of Online Team Collaboration
Here’s a secret, many freelancers may not want to admit: they like being a part of a virtual team every once in awhile.
The life of a freelancer is rather lonely and isolated. Most of the time, the freelancer is accomplishing work for a client on their own and the only type of communication is usually the occasional email or phone call.
Your online staffing team will appreciate your introductions of other team members. Make sure to discuss each person’s background, a few of their achievements, and their area of expertise. It also wouldn’t hurt to mention some of their hobbies or interests. For example: Jon may be an amazing graphic designer but other team members would probably like knowing that he is an accomplished chef and makes an incredible mango salsa.
Sharing such information helps a team bond with each other. We always go the extra mile for those we like. So perhaps when you have a meeting, you can encourage each team member to share a brief update about something they love to do.
If you use an online collaboration platform such as Basecamp, ask the team to fill out their profile completely. It’s another way to get to know one another and can enhance collaboration.
Give Feedback to Your Online Team and Communicate Often
Your team needs to know if they are on the right track. This only happens when you let them know whether their completed task was right on target or missed the mark.
It’s important to remind the team frequently of their purpose, their roles, and the work to be done. With consistent communication, team members can also identify situations and circumstances that may have changed since the initial plan was prepared, then review and reassess the strategy.
When giving feedback online, be clear and direct about your expectations. Explain where the team member did not meet the expectations and what they can do to get back on track. Also, ask if the team member has what they need to complete their part of the defined goal. It could be the reason they didn’t deliver was because another team member didn’t give them what they needed. The only way you would discover this is if you have a conversation.
The advantage of online communication is that you share documentation that can be tracked and reviewed. When you work offline with someone and share a conversation, each person may remember it differently. There is no “paper trail” to follow what was discussed as there is with online communication. Communicating with a team online brings clarity and creates understanding for long-term relationships. When team members can exchange online ideas, suggestions, and observations, then any potential obstacles can be addressed and worked out.
Your online dream team will commit to your project when they believe it will help them achieve their professional and personal goals. You can help team members buy into a shared sense of your business goals by doing the following:
- Communicate the reasons for your goals and the impact of their results
- Explain how the results may benefit your business
- Confirm how the results support your business’ growth and sustainability
- Examine how the results may contribute to each online staffing team member’s expertise
Help your online team understand how their participation may help them achieve personal goals, such as acquiring new skills and knowledge, meeting new people, increasing their visibility online, and enhancing their opportunities for similar work.
Obviously, projects aren’t only about helping team members achieve personal benefits. However, when team members can realize personal benefits while performing valued services for your business, they will be more motivated and increase their commitment toward your success. Remember: when you care about your team members, they will care about helping you reach your goals. Having satisfied team members is also a great way of tapping into their client and freelancer networks. Leadership is really about treating everyone as a client.
Good luck with your own online dream team!