Summary of The Power of Virtual Distance

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Many workers feel increasingly disconnected and isolated due to the unbridled use of digital communication technologies, organizational divisiveness, and leaders who fail to nurture relationships and trust throughout the workforce. Managers must work to shrink Virtual Distance through connection and affinity, say founder and CEO of Virtual Distance International Karen Sobel Lojeski and research psychologist Richard R. Reilly. The authors first drew attention to the phenomena of Virtual Distance in the book’s first edition in 2008. As they predicted, Virtual Distance has since become worse, and it is threatening key business outcomes.

About the Authors

Karen Sobel Lojeski leads Virtual Distance International, a research and consulting firm that helps organizations manage Virtual Distance. Professor emeritus Richard R. Reilly taught in the Stevens Institute of Technology School of Business.

 

Summary

The widespread use of digital communication tools creates “Virtual Distance” within organizations.

The widespread use of digital communication technologies and workers’ increasing reliance on those tools, isolates individuals, even when they share a workspace. This widening gap between workers creates a barrier to effective collaboration and innovation. Managing Virtual Distance has, thus, grown into a critical leadership responsibility. Analysis based on a global data set proves that this new imperative affects firms and workers everywhere.

Unchecked, Virtual Distance grows. As the distance between employees, managers, customers and other stakeholders expands, trust erodes dramatically, as does leaders’ impact, creativity, performance, employee engagement and overall organizational success. Leaders can stop and reverse the decline by taking active measures. First, they must recognize, assess and prioritize the problems Virtual Distance creates. Then, they should employ new and traditional leadership and cultural techniques and practices that reduce Virtual Distance across their organization.

Eliminating telework or forcing employees into open-concept workplaces...


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