Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What Color(s) Describe Your Virtual Team?

Anyone who has read my book 'Where in the World is My Team?' knows that I identified six key performance zones for successful global teamwork

  • Cooperation

  • Convergence

  • Coordination

  • Capability

  • Communication and

  • Cultural Intelligence

While effective virtual and face-to-face operational performance is critical, I've been thinking lately of the underlying emotions that support or hinder levels of performance in these zones. Can a team be given insights into its emotional profile as well as its operational profile? The two are surely related.

Obviously, there isn't one positive and one negative emotion that impacts performance in each zone, but rather a range of positive and negative emotions that impact performance across the zones. The negative emotion of fear, for example, will degrade performance in all six zones.

People often associate emotions with colors, and although I am partially colorblind, I've decided that color (and associated emotions) might be a useful way to visualize a team's emotional profile.

And so, if we take four basic colours - Red, Yellow, Blue, and Green - we can categorize positive and negative emotions associated with each one. In general, the four basic colors would be associated with these high level emotions:

Red: Desire
Yellow: Energy
Blue: Confidence
Green: Well being

Positive emotions would be signified by a light shade of each color, and negative emotions by a darker shade. If we take the color Red, a positive emotion would be excitement, while a negative emotion would be aggression. With Yellow, a positive emotion would be happiness, while a negative emotion would be frustration. For Blue, a positive emotion would be calmness, and a negative emotion would be anxiety. A positive Green emotion would be growth, and a negative emotion would be stagnation.

By identifying the type and weight of positive and negative emotions on the team, we can go deeper into the underlying dynamics of what makes the team effective or ineffective in relation to the Six Cs.

I'll continue thinking such thoughts, and will update in later posts.

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