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Influencing Virtual Teams

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Influencing Virtual Teams

17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees

Hassan Osman,

15 min read
6 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

To work productively with remote employees – and those close at hand – heed this clear, practical advice.

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You certainly can’t accuse Hassan Osman of beating around the bush. An expert at managing virtual teams worldwide, Osman created a guide for working with remote employees that intentionally avoids fluff and focuses solely on practical, plainly-worded advice. He offers common sense practices and solutions for managers leading remote teams. For example, Osman insists that every assignment should, without exception, include a written due date and time – even if it’s a few hours away. Though focused on virtual set-ups, his valuable tips and reminders apply to workplaces of all stripes.


To get better results from your instructions to virtual team members, use the word “because.”  

You can strengthen your communication with members of your virtual teams and achieve greater results by adding one word: “Because.” A well-known experiment in the late 1970s revealed that people waiting to use a copier had more success cutting into a line of other waiting employees when their request included “because.” The statement, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine because I’m in a rush?” earned a 94% compliance rate compared to 60% compliance for, “Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine?”

Use “because” in all your dealings with your team members, whether by voicemail, email, texting or in person. What follows after “because” isn’t as important as the word itself. 

Your team members will also become more responsive if you establish deadlines. People have a natural tendency to procrastinate when a task lacks urgency – and even when it doesn’t. If you allot four hours for an assignment that normally requires an hour, expect someone to use the entire block of...

About the Author

Hassan Osman is a project management office manager at Cisco Systems.

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