Monday, April 24, 2006

Did I miss something???

On our assignment for last week part of what we were supposed to do said:

"Access the Discussion Board and note that you have been placed in a virtual team. Working as a collaborative virtual team, select a virtual tool and discuss/analyze the case. As a team, prepare one Word version of your analysis of the case (see specific instructions with the case) and submit it by Wednesday, April 27. Individually, prepare a message to me (in an email is fine) discussing the experience as a virtual team member and using the virtual tool selected."

Because I was having computer problems during our chat on Thursday I was never able to get clarification as to what this assignment was, since nothing has been posted on the Discussion board. Can anyone help me out with this??

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Lesson 5 - Virtual Teams - Part 2

Here is a great ( and rather long) article on overcoming language barriers while working on virtual teams.

Lesson 5 - Virtual Teams & Trust - Part 1

Can you imagine working with 20 other people on a corporate project - 20 other people you have never met face-to-face, and having enough trust in your team to get the project done properly? Well, that is exactly what people on virtual teams do every day. These teams can be made up of people from all over the world; all working on one project.

Here are 10 points, written by Dr. John Gundry, on how to build an environment for virtual teams to be able to thrive in.

1. Teaming depends on collaboration, because collaboration entails sharing information, knowledge and views with other people - things we need to do in a team.

2. If we don't trust other people, then we won't readily collaborate with them. It's because of collaboration that trust is so important to teaming.

3. Communication builds trust. Through communicating with people, we calibrate them, we get a better sense of them, and we understand their priorities.

4. In virtual teams whose members haven't had any, or sufficient, opportunity to meet, this calibration needs to happen through electronic communication.

5. So teaming depends on collaboration which depends on trust which is built through communication the best form of which is face to face, but remote electronic communication, if sufficiently rich, is an alternative.

6. The first component of trust is predictability.

7. So we can make judgments that others are predictably good or predictably bad through having communicated enough with them.

8. A fellow work team member is trustworthy if they behave as follows:
  • Act in our and the team's best interests
  • Be truthful
  • Keep their promises or tell us when they can't keep them
  • Respect the citation and /or protection of information we send them
  • Share mutually-valuable information with us

9. So in virtual teams, where we are consciously and unconsciously working hard to sense the level of trust (predictable trustworthiness) that we can place in our remote fellow members in order that we feel comfortable in collaborating with them, the team leader or the whole team needs to come down hard on - even expel - anyone who behaves in an untrustworthy manner.

10. So in addition to communication, we find that morals are important in sustaining collaboration, and thus performance, in virtual teams.

Gundry, John, "Trust in Virtual Teams". A Working by Wire White Paper from Knowledge Ability Ltd, Malmesbury UK. Published at August 2000.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Mid-Week Break & A Picture From the Wedding



We are a busy people. Many days our schedules are full. And yet, many times our spirit is empty.

There are so many people out there today who wake up on Sunday morning and decide if they WANT to go to church, or go just because it is expected of them – like my husband says, “They are fulfilling their obligation and clocking in their hour.” How many people sit there in the pews and expect God to bless them, yet their minds wander to the things that they think they need to do or people they want to talk to after the service? Those people leave just as hungry for God’s food as they were when they walked in. Why?? Because they really had no desire to be fed when they came in.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

Babies need to be spoon-fed in order to receive their nutrients each day – and baby Christians need that too. But with each bite that baby should be growing up. But if you’ve been saved for years and still need to be spoon-fed then your growth is stunted. How many Christians are still sitting in the pews waiting to be fed some nice warm milk, something to tickle their tummy and make them feel warm all over, but would choke if they were given a juicy piece of meat?

1 Peter 2:2...."As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby"

1 Corinthians 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

There are many Christians today who claim to have been saved but never grow to mature children of God. Why? Because they are starving themselves by not eating the Word.

How can the Holy Spirit teach us, if we aren't spending time alone with Him? How can we have nutrition stored up in our hearts, if we aren't putting it there by reading our Bible’s and studying?

Psalm 119:11..."Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."

There is a battle being fought. Satan has no desire to see us grow. He does not want us to know what is that good and true and pure word of God. He wants to keep us stagnant and empty and hungry, so that we have no weapons to use against him.

Yet, what does God say to do? God says we are to fill ourselves up! Feast on God’s Word and all that He has for you. Enter God’s house and leave with your cup overflowing!!

Ladies, is your heart empty today? Let's start filling ourselves up, so that we can help others do the same. There is a world out there starving to death and we have the Food they need to live.

John 14:26..."But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Lesson 4 - Part 3.....

Last night I was working away on this assignment and during my research I found a great article. I got my blog all ready and went to add the link for everyone and guess what.........I end up with a message saying Internet Explorer has encoutered a problem and most shut down. And then it did just that!!!!! GGGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

I was so frustrated!! For the life of me I cannot find that article again - although I am determined to keep searching now! Now it's become a matter of will against this computer's ~~ and I WILL win (eventually.)

I did find another good site this morning that I thought I would share with everyone. It is called "Virtual Office." Here is the link:

The one section I really liked was the one that discussed the advantages and disadvantages of virtual working. There are also several other resources and links listed throughout the web site.

I am now off to search for the lost web site from last night.......I now it's out there someplace!!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Lesson 4 - Part 2


As I am discovering more and more, not everyone has what it takes to be a virtual worker. That means that an employer needs to know what to look for when they are looking for someone who won't be working in the office with them. Reading through an article written by Jeanne L. Allert entitled, "You're Hired, Now Go Home" - virtual companies and employee recruitment, I found some traits that employers should look for when looking for a virtual employee. These traits are:

1. Values and being mission-based
2. Multiple communication skills
3. Decision-making confidence
4. Tech savvy

Here's a link to the rest of the article - there is a lot of informative and interesting research in it.

LookSmart's" FindArticles - "You're Hired, Now Go Home" - virtual companies and employee recruitment
Training & Development, March, 2001, by Jeanne L. Allert

Saturday, April 15, 2006

This Has Been On My Heart All Day......

Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

A medical doctor provides a physical description: The cross is placed on the ground and the exhausted man is quickly thrown backwards with his shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood.

Quickly he moves to the other side and repeats the action, being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some flex and movement. The cross is then lifted into place. The left foot is pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees flexed. The victim is now crucified.

As he slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in the wrists, excruciating, fiery pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain—the nails in the wrists are putting pressure on the median nerves. As he pushes himself upward to avoid this stretching torment, he places the full weight on the nail through his feet. Again he feels the searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the bones of his feet.

As the arms fatigue, cramps sweep through the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the inability to push himself upward to breathe. Air can be drawn into the lungs but not exhaled. He fights to raise himself in order to get even one small breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream, and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically he is able to push himself upward to exhale and bring in life-giving oxygen.

Hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain as tissue is torn from his lacerated back as he moves up and down against the rough timber. Then another agony begins: a deep, crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart.

It is now almost over—the loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level—the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues—the tortured lungs are making a frantic effort to gasp in small gulps of air. He can feel the chill of death creeping through is tissues. . .Finally he can allow his body to die

......all this just for YOU

All this the Bible records with the simple words, “And they crucified Him.” (Mark 15:25).

We need to let go of the hustle bustle and let this really penatrate our thoughts...

Lesson 4 - Being a Virtual Employee - Part 1

This lesson was very interesting to me, mainly because I am a virtual employee. I love hearing different people's views and thoughts on the subject, so I spent some time this week asking people about it.

I was amazed at how many people said they could never work from home. Here I am thinking it is the ideal opportunity, but many of the people I talked to said, "NO WAY!!" There seemed to be two main reasons for their feelings....first, they didn't know that they could separate their work life from the their home life, and second, they felt they were more of a "people person" and that they needed to be around people more. They didn't like the thought of not having regular interaction with people.

While I was researching this I found an interesting web page that discussed the drawbacks of managing a virtual employee. It covered both of the things I mentioned and more.......

I'm going to end this portion of my blog now - since nobody really likes to read long, drawn out, blogs. But throughout the rest of the day I will be posting a couple more parts to show some other aspects of the virtual employee.

Have a great Easter weekend everyone - and take some time to remember all the Christ did for each of us.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's All About Your Attitude....

James 3:14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

Things happen in our lives that we can’t always control, but one thing we can control is how we react to what happens to us. Our actions and attitude will not only effect how we handle things, but also how those around us handle things. We can either get bitter or we can get better. And believe me “better” is better ~~ bitter is miserable!!!!!!

A poor attitude about it only makes the situation more difficult -- it adds fuel to the fire instead of helping to put it out. A bad reaction to a bad situation can easily make that situation permanent instead of temporary. The choice is ours.

In order to have a Godly attitude you have to have a strong relationship with the Lord ~~ a daily relationship, and a faithful prayer life.

James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.

Don’t let life control your emotions – let the Lord control your life. How you go through your day is really up to you. Personally….I am going to choose to ~~~

Psalms 100:2 Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

I've spent the morning playing.....

I must admit that technology amazes me more and more all the time!!! This morning I have been playing with MS Live Meeting and I really like it. There are so many features that make having a virtual meeting seem like you're all in one room. I am really impressed (but then again, it doesn't always take much to impress me!!)

Up until this point in my week I have been getting ready for my baby sister's wedding this weekend. Thursday night I will be traveling to Minot. The wedding is on Saturday. I am so thrilled for her!!! We already have family arriving from all over the country and more still on the way. I'll be sure to add some pictures when I get home.

Now ~~ back to trying out some more virtual gadgets!!!!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Looking at the virtual workplace....

This last week I have been doing a little informal research as to what people think of when they picture a virtual workplace. Here are some of the top three answers I heard:

1. Someone who works on their computer but never goes to a real office.

2. Companies like eBay, that you can only find on the Internet.

3. Home offices.

So, what exactly is a virtual workplace?

Wayne F. Cascio of University of Colorado wrote an article entitled, "The Virtual Workplace: A Reality Now." In his article he has a great definition. Here is his opening paragraph:

"Consider the new paradigm of work—anytime, anywhere, in real space or in cyberspace. For many employers the virtual workplace, in which employees operate remotely from each other and from managers, is a reality now, and all indications are that it will become even more prevalent in the future. In and of itself, this represents a dramatic change in how we work, and it presents new challenges for our profession. The challenges stem from the physical separation of workers and managers wrought by such information-age arrangements as telecommuting and virtual teams. "How can I manage them if I can’t see them?" is a question that many managers ask."

Here are some terms to become familiar with in the world of virtual business:

1. Telecommuting - defined as the use of telecommunication to work outside the traditional office or workplace, usually at home or in a mobile situation.

According to one study, telecommuting has been growing at 15% a year since 1990 in North America. 80% of Fortune 1000 companies are likely to introduce it within the next two to three years. Although work at the company premises is not likely to disappear, new forms of telecommunication such as voice and picture communication and groupware are likely to make telecommuting more social in the future.

2. Telecenters - a facility that offers community members the ability to use ICTs in a publicly shared manner. Telecenters often provide the only connectivity available to many community members, and their services may be offered with or without a fee.

3. "Hot-desking" - refers to the temporary physical occupation of a work station or surface by a particular employee. This work surface could be an actual desk or just a terminal link. In any event the concept of the hot desk is that the employer furnishes a permanent work surface which is available to any worker as and when needed. There is no personal domain pertaining to a particular worker and physical facilities are employed as and when needed.

4. "Hoteling" - Refers to a company in which employees don't have traditional office space in a building but instead work from home or the road and reserve conference rooms or offices at a building, usually the company's headquarters, when they need to meet with clients, colleagues, or their departments.

5. Virtual teams - a group of individuals who work across time, space, and organizational boundaries with links strengthened by webs of communication technology. They have complementary skills and are committed to a common purpose, have interdependent performance goals, and share an approach to work for which they hold themselves mutually accountable.

Over the next few weeks I know I will be learning more and more about this world of virtual business - learning more and partaking more in it. And as I learn I will share it here with each of you who take the time to stop in and spend some "Time with Tami."