Virtual Teams – Conflict Resolution, Environmental IQ

Posted on January 21, 2011 by



What's over there?

We have IQ, there’s Emotional Intelligence (EI) – I say we add  EQ – environmental intelligence based on applying that Emotional Intelligence to what’s going on with stakeholders.

A quick recap, a stakeholder is someone who has a professional interest in the outcome of a project.  That interest may be acknowledged and formalized – corporate board, supervisor, project team and internal or external customer.  It also may be unacknowledged and informal — parallel project teams; teams up or down stream of the project’s production flow (e.g., Shipping), or through a functional group associated but not directly affected (e.g. accounting or marketing).

A stakeholder’s analysis is typically an informal data gathering process.  Perform it during a project team meeting.  The following three steps are recommended:

Identify who will be impacted by the project inside and outside the organization.  It is helpful to draw it on dry erase board or flip chart in a counter clock-wise fashion with the candidate project at 3 o’clock.

Identify outcomes, desirable (+) and undesirable (-).

Identify how often a group should receive information.  Information gleamed here feeds into the project’s responsibility assignment matrix (RAM) or RACI.

Why is this helpful for managing conflict in virtual teams?  Understanding the information and communication needs of stakeholders is critical in all teams, in virtual teams the opportunity to pick up informal, non-verbal ques is far less.  So a project manager needs to be much more deliberate to unearth potential problems