He has received several awards for his leading method that helps Managers to support their teams despite geographical distances, age and cultural differences. In his keynote speeches he uses his experiences as a manager, an entrepreneur and a father of five little girls.
Having worked 20 years in managerial positions he summarised the challenges of the current era of virtual teams in three main areas: teams have to work faster, they have to be able to reduce costs and develop the organization for the future. After working for the last seven years as a motivational corporate speaker he knows from own coaching experience that same simple methods of management work for all-sized companies.
His first book “Virtual power teams” pointed out how managers can overcome main reasons why global teams fail. Above all it is important to build trust, overcome language and cultural barriers and make individuals share the goals of their team.
“A virtual team is like a human and therefore peoples’ personalities need to be in focus. People need to feel psychological safety to talk, take risks, show vulnerability and ask for help. When people feel that they depend on each other it makes them get things done in time and meet their goals.”
Since global team members may never meet each other in person Ivanov uses four simple questions for bonding. “Do you have siblings? What was your hobby as a child? What are you most proud of? What else should the others know about you? Sharing answers will help people bond.”
Another method is to make a strength matrix stating the top 10 strengths of the team. “Do you feel it is easy or fun to work in your team? What have been the biggest moments of success? Are people asking for help? What would your friend say are your strengths? What do you think are your biggest strengths? You can also choose yourself an avatar who could be an actor or another person who you think has the same strengths as you do.”
Additionally, it is important to set interdependent team goals and milestones that people can pick up for themselves because it gives them a feeling of empowerment. There also needs to be structured communication in the form of forums and agenda. This could be virtual meetings organized daily, weekly or every fortnight depending on the need.
“The spice of the meetings should be that each member speaks for two minutes about what he/she has achieved and what has stayed on the way.”
The global Covid-19 pandemic has made virtual teams a part of the daily life for more and more people. According to Ivanov it is important for a manager to know how much hierarchy people think there is between the boss and the others and if people feel they can approach and confront each other with no hidden agenda.
From own experience Peter Ivanov knows how important praising people can be if you want to meet goals in advance and get money saved.
“When the set goals are met, use generous prizes and celebrate because organizational costs are often higher if goals are not met in time.”
Peter Ivanov´s second book on virtual teams will be published in October.
Text: Päivi Kapiainen-Heiskanen
Photo: Peter Ivanov´ s archives