Thursday, January 15, 2009

Making Expertise Visible and Potent

Happy 2009!

It's a fact of the human condition that we relate to one another as partial selves (I'll call it the Partial Self Axiom). Can you ever know another person completely? We would often like to, but in reality we can't. I think I know some people very well, but they can never be totally accessible or predictable to me no matter how long I have known them or how intimate the relationship has been.

But let me come down from the lofty heights of the 'human condition'to thinking about capabilities on virtual teams.

It's often the case that virtual team members have little knowledge of one another. If we are working together on a virtual team, we are unlikely to be anonymous, but we are likely to each have a high degree of partiality. We certainly don't need an intimate knowledge of each other to collaborate effectively, but we should - to maximize team strengths and potential - have a rounded picture of each other's individual capabilities and expertise. If we don't, we are likely to be quilty of waste and neglect.

Even if it is as simple as posting team member CVs on a team intranet or taking time to share work and educational experiences in a virtual meeting, find a way to conduct a Capability Audit (although that sounds rather grand). Here are a few simple, but important questions:

Team Expertise (Knowledge, Skills, and Experience)

Who on the team has what expertise?
How can we share and make best use of this expertise?
What expertise gaps do we have in relation to our goals?
Who can fill our expertise gaps and how?

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