We’ve all heard the saying that trust can take years to build, seconds to break, and forever to repair. But this age old adage doesn’t work for teams built to deliver a project in a specified amount of time. Trust must be established immediately or it can be detrimental to the outcome of the project. Add on the extra challenge of working on a remote project team and establishing a high level of trust is almost impossible, right?
Not necessarily. Yes, trust does build as you grow to know a person more over time. But there are other ways to progress it quickly so that remote team members can trust the way each other work, communicate, and most importantly, complete the tasks they were assigned. The key factor in the acceleration of trust among remote project teams? Constant and open communication.
Spotlight Software’s cloud application Spotlight streamlines the communication process for remote project teams to accelerate trust among team members. In his recent post on building trust in the virtual workplace, Keith Ferrazzi outlines four key points that help remote teams build trust with one another: Leverage “swift trust”, pro-actively build interpersonal trust, communicate with predictability, and share the power. Spotlight provides features that can facilitate these factors to build and improve trust quickly among your remote team:
- Leverage “swift trust” – Initially when a remote project team is formed, team members realize they have to cooperate immediately to get the job done. The feeling of being “all in the same boat” establishes trust from the onset, knowing that the success or failure of the project reflects on the whole team. Spotlight’s Dashboard helps propel this trust further by showing all team members in one centralized, social network-like interface. Team member status updates and current tasks being worked on creates a sense of full disclosure, meaning the team can trust each other in what they are working on and what their availability is.
- Pro-actively build interpersonal trust – Trust is enhanced between people when they know something about each other’s personal lives. It allows them to find things in common with each other and thus, a way to relate on a deeper level. Spotlight’s team member profiles offers a person the chance to talk about themselves, their interests, and their hobbies. This information is available for all team members to view, offering a way for the team to relate about things outside the project. Parallel’s in people’s personal lives builds trust quickly and Spotlight offers that opportunity for team members.
- Communicate with predictability – Predictable communication among the team is crucial so members can develop a sense of dependability with each other. Constant and regular interaction between all team members ensures everyone knows what tasks are being worked on, the availability of all members, and any unforeseen events that pop up. Spotlight offers instant team member status updates in a Twitter like format, agile lean daily updates from project managers, and private and instant messaging to produce predictable communication that enhances trust and eliminates some of the need for constant emails and frequent meetings.
- Share the power – Project teams, especially in the software development world are proven to be more successful when team members feel trusted to share their opinions and suggestions. Spotlight helps facilitate this sharing of power. It provides an open communication forum in a Facebook like format for all team members to offer suggestions and questions. Should you be using an agile approach, project leaders can then guide their team through Spotlight’s centralized interaction platform to reach the best decision available through input from all team members.
It’s often difficult to gauge the level of trust that is established within a remote project team. But there has to be some type of trust among members or the team will not be able to function well enough together to deliver the project. However, trust can be accelerated and improved among a remote team and Spotlight offers a centralized interface for the key factor to establish team trust: quality communication.
Seth Weedin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Director of Marketing at Spotlight Software.