What to expect
Questions answered: how it works and more…
About the program
What is it?
A ten to twelve week course designed to build your competency in the skills that are essential for leading, managing and participating in effective business teams. Delivered virtually, it is specifically designed for busy leaders who already have a full calendar and workload.
What makes V-Teamwork different from the many other virtual courses and online programs out there?
V-Teamwork Core Skills is different from any other type of online learning you are likely to have encountered. It’s not about knowledge acquisition: there are no multiple choice questions, webinars, case studies or research. Instead, V-Teamwork is action-based learning: participants learn by practicing skills working with others and receiving real-time coaching. In the virtual environment, you can make mistakes and learn from them without the risk of real-life consequences.
How does it work? What do I actually do when I’m in the program?
Every week you spend a total of about four hours learning, in two main forms – alone and in action with a team:
A little over two hours in an online immersive learning and coaching session with a small group (4-5 people plus one or two coaches). During that time, you spend about 90 minutes undertaking an assignment with your team inside a massive multiplayer online role play game environment, and a further 30-40 minutes engaging in a learning conversation with your team members and coach.
You also spend a further 1.5 to 2 hours working by yourself offline. You will use this time to:
• Read through your online assignment to understand it and arrive prepared.
• Read the weekly learning material we give you. This is usually a mixture of a 1-2 page learning brief and selected book chapters and/or papers. It may also include short video and audio recordings and even a small amount of non-strenuous physical activity.
• Go online to post a short written reflection (seen only by coaches and fellow participants).
In addition, you need to be on one of the opening conference calls. These are essential preparation. They are scheduled in the week or two before the online sessions begin, at different times to make it easier for you to plan to attend one of them. You also need to be on the closing call in the week after the last online session. These calls are 90 minutes each.
What are the skills I will develop in the program?
1. Observing oneself in action – two things not one. You need to be in action and you need to cultivate the capacity to observe yourself and reflect on your action.
2. Committing to a shared, high-value future. Speaking and listening to a shared narrative of value; and making high quality commitments to action and results that will realise that value and produce a shared future. This is the heart of coordinating productively with others.
3. Cultivating trust by managing commitments accountably over time. The ability to be accountable and to be able to hold others accountable is always at the top of individual and organisational wish lists.
4. Raising morale by producing individual and organisational moods for success. More and more research is uncovering the importance of moods in the workplace and yet it is largely ignored by management and only usually noticed by exception.
5. Connecting, blending and moving well with the energy that others bring to the team. I have never met anyone who doesn’t have a body that carries their brain to work each day. Connecting and blending is a huge challenge, particularly in geographically distributed teams where we cannot usually see those other bodies.
6. Giving and seeking opinions and assessing performance. Being able to do this in the moment in ways that open up productive futures with others is a characteristic of many high performing individuals.
7. Actively cultivating respect for differences. Whether those are differences in culture, gender, language, generation or geographical location, it is through developing the capacity to observe our own history and how it interacts with the histories of others that we can cultivate respect.
How easy is it to put into action?
The V-Teamwork core skills are competencies you will use every day at work. You will find that, even from the first session, you can observe what is happening at work in a different way. And when you observe differently, you generate the possibility of taking different actions. First we make it easier to put the skills into action by giving you practice at recognising and acting on opportunities, and then by sharing practical examples with other team members.
Participants have reported many occasions throughout the program where they made new moves at work as a result of what they had just practiced in a program session. These include speaking and listening in order to build trust, eliminate waste, reduce delays, improve the mood, give and receive opinions, and other moves to make their teams more effective.
Fitting the program into your schedule
When are the sessions scheduled?
Weekly sessions are scheduled by agreement with the other members of your learning team. You may be in a team with people from different timezones, in which case you will need to work flexibly with them to make it work for the team.
You can complete your offline learning in your own time. We recommend you post your written reflections within 24-48 hours following your online session.
What is my time commitment?
Allow the following time each week:
• 1 hour to 1 hour 45 minutes to read learning materials and prepare for the in-game session
• 2 hours and 10 minutes to complete your in-game session with your team
• Around 30 minutes to write and post your written reflections
Can I miss sessions and catch up?
No. Do what it takes to attend all sessions as this is not a course where you can listen to a recording. We can promise to improve your competency only if you keep your commitment to put in the practice. If you know that you can’t manage your life to be able attend all sessions, then don’t do this course.
What if I’m travelling and/or have a busy schedule?
V-Teamwork Core Skills is designed to suit busy and often travelling professionals. Participants in the past have managed to do their two hours online from coffee shops while travelling in Belgium, on a mine site in Africa, and even on a family vacation in the middle of the night at an Australian campground. You will find that both we and your team mates are very supportive in helping you make it work.
Where can I do the sessions?
Any place with a reasonable internet connection where you can sit comfortably with your computer and speak and listen using your headset.
Teamwork and gamification – getting the most out of the virtual simulation environment
Why do it this way, using online games and coaches?
This is not a course about acquiring information, it is about developing your competency for working effectively with others. The kind of embodied competency we are promising cannot be acquired from presentations of information, it is only developed through recurrent practice.
V-teamwork Core Skills is designed to give you the opportunity to practice the skills over and over in an immersive environment: it is analogous to an airline flight simulator or a high-end military virtual training simulation in that you don’t incur a physical, financial, political or reputational consequence when you make a mistake. In other words, you have an unparalleled opportunity to learn from your mistakes before putting it into practice at work.
More than that, you get real-time coaching and feedback from a committed group of fellow learners. This combination of a highly engaging practice environment, low learner / coach ratio, and high quality learning support gives you an opportunity you are unlikely to find in any workplace. Better still, it doesn’t involve traveling to and sitting in conference rooms and wasting your valuable work time. Instead, it is organised in bite-sized chunks that provide a big return on your investment of time.
What kinds of people will be in my team?
You will be assigned to a team with four other people. Like you, they will all be professional people who want to improve their skills for leading and working in business teams. It’s likely they will have a different age, gender, skill set, professional background, location and time zone from you. There may also be cultural and language background differences.
Will it be my team from work?
If you are doing the program with people from your workplace, you may be in a team with some of them, but we have found that, depending on the existing workplace culture, people learn the basics of this work better when they are not with all the people they normally work with. This is because people generally feel more free to have conversations that explore new possibilities when they don’t have concerns about their conversations and actions being transferred to the workplace context by others.
Once people have completed the V-Teamwork Core Skills program and developed some embodied competency, intact teams from the same company or workplace find it very effective to take the next step and do the V-Teamwork Proficiency program together.
I’m not familiar with online gaming. How will this work for me? Will I be at a disadvantage?
No. It’s not about game playing prowess. It’s about observing yourself and others coordinating action to fulfill commitments together, and practicing coordinating actions, including managing the moods, conversations and physical body that you coordinate with.
All the assignments are designed with inexperienced participants in mind. You will acquire some basic game skills as you go through the program. Age is no barrier: people in their sixties, seventies and eighties with no prior experience have participated with a high degree of success.
If you have no experience at all, you are likely to experience the same kind of challenge and discomfort as you would in coming to terms with being a beginner learning any new skill. The program is structured to make this learning valuable for you as a leader of and participant in teams.
I have considerable experience playing online games. Does this give me too much of an advantage? Will it be too easy for me?
No and no. Your expertise will not provide any competitive advantage to you personally, but it may provide an advantage to your team, depending on how well you learn the teamwork skills for sharing your knowledge and knowhow effectively. The game play is a means to an end: working successfully in teams. Just like a business team where people have different levels of experience and technical skill, the real key to success in teamwork is in learning to coordinate action together successfully, no matter what the skill level.
What sort of computer equipment do I need?
You will need a computer with enough free disk space to download around 35GB of applications, and still have at least 15% of disk capacity after installing it.
You also need a good quality headset or earphones with a built in microphone that you can connect to your computer.
Do I need a high speed Internet connection?
You don’t need a super high speed connection. You need an Internet connection with DSL speed or better. If you plan to play through your corporate network, check with the IT system administrators that they are able to open the ports that allow the game to work. We can provide additional information about technical aspects if you need help.
Core skills and future programs
Do you have other, more advanced virtual programs?
V-Teamwork Core Skills is our foundation course. The V-Teamwork Proficiency course follows a similar format and, as the name implies, builds your proficiency in leading, managing and participating in teams. It’s designed to pick up where Core Skills leaves off and goes into more depth with each of the teamwork skills.
Beyond that, we have specialist programs for project and program managers, for women in leadership; and for leaders who want advanced skills for leading change and innovation initiatives.