A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams by Yael Zofi - Book review

A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams

By: Yael Zofi

Published: August 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 272 pages
ISBN-10: 0814416594
ISBN-13: 978-0814416594
Publisher: AMACOM

"The virtual team, or VT for short, is a work arrangement in which a group of people share responsibility for goals that must be accomplished in the total, or near total, absence of face-to-face contact", writes virtual teams expert and CEO of AIM Strategies®, Yael Zofi, in her authoritative and practical advice filled book A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams. The author describes how technology and globalization are transforming the workplace and shares some proven ideas for managing and inspiring virtual teams effectively to be both productive and engaged partners.

Yael Zofi recognizes that employees and teams have always worked together on projects over large distances and various time zones. The author points out that not only have the number of virtual teams increased exponentially, but virtual work teams have become a necessity in today's global and technologically based economy. The virtual team provides speed of delivery and flexibility within the structure of the business, as well as a fresh approach to the very nature of the tasks themselves. Yael Zofi shares strategies and techniques for assembling virtual teams with the appropriate skill sets, regardless of location, and for managing and motivating these often very diverse employees successfully. For the author, virtual work forces are not only increasing in number in the current economy, but will continue to grow in importance in the future as well.

Yael Zofi (photo left) provides a balanced approach to the management of widely diverse and geographically separated team members.The author describes the nature of virtual teams, and points out their similarities and differences from one another. Yael Zofi offers step by step guidance for the three crucial stages in the life cycle of a team, and shares the unique and important characteristics of each phase of the project:

* Setup
* Follow through
* Refresh

Yael Zofi presents the challenges and opportunities that virtual teams share and how to optimize each area of the team to ensure accountability and to achieve peak performance for the best results. These challenges include:

* Setting up the virtual team
* Communication within context of the team members
* Developing accountability in a virtual world
* Defusing conflict and overcoming obstacles
* Getting the deliverables completed and to their destination
* Working with cross-cultural teams effectively
* The future of virtual teams

For me, the power of the book is how Yael Zofi combines a strong theoretical background to the nature and importance of virtual teams with as series of strategies and tactics for transforming virtual work groups into a success. The author shares cutting edge research into virtual teams, and their effective management, that supports the advice offered to leaders of virtual work teams. Yael Zofi also demonstrates how a technology can be utilized effectively and efficiently to boost the performance of the team, as well as the engagement level of the members. The book provides the basis for utilizing this powerful twenty-first century virtual business technique, both within existing companies and as stand alone business ventures.

I highly recommend the groundbreaking and results oriented book A Manager's Guide to Virtual Teams by Yael Zofi, to any business leaders or managers seeking a straight talking guide to understanding and applying the power of virtual teams effectively. Whether the teams are across the city, the country, or around the world, this book is an indispensable source of the best information for forming, managing, and continuing the effectiveness of virtual work teams.

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