BNET Highlights Top 5 Mobile Workforce Books

February 3, 2011

BNET is a credible source for business information.

It was a surprise  when Michael Kroth zapped me with a text message that said something like “YAAAAHOOOO! We are on the Top 5 of BNET” . It’s wonderful to have professional groups like BNET recognize the effort we put into this project; months of interviews and writing, editing, meetings and relationship building with global experts – but it is worth it!

For me it is the relationships we build along the way and WHAT we learn in the process. It is amazing.

The great staff at McGraw-Hill are also pleased to see the book receive this attention, they worked hard to make this book a possible “Best -seller”. We appreciate them as well.

Wayne Turmel is obsessed with helping organizations and their managers communicate better, even across cyberspace. He’s a writer, a speaker, the president of, and the host of one of the world’s most successful business podcasts, The Cranky Middle Manager Show, where he helps listeners worldwide deal with the million little challenges and indignities of being a modern manager. His book 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar: Generate Leads and Tell Your Story to the World is the leading web presentation book on Follow him on Twitter @greatwebmeeting.

Managing remote teams is not brain surgery, but neither is it natural for many people. First, you have to understand how to be a good manager. That eliminates an unholy number of people to start with. Then you have to demonstrate the leadership and communication skills via technology. That’s just an added layer of complexity.

Thousands of you enjoy this blog, and we’re grateful, but let’s not forget the good old book as a valuable tool. Here are 5 books I’ve found are both informational AND practical–not an easy combination to come by.

  1. Where in the World is My Team? Terence Brake has created one of my favorite books in one of my least favorite formats- the business novel. Normally these are written with a copy of Joseph Campbell in one hand and the 7 Habits in the other. Instead, this is a humorous, realistic look at one man’s struggle to get all the practical information he can gather for his boss while the clock ticks down. It’s particularly good when talking about the challenges of international teams.
  2. Virtual Team Success by Richard Lepsinger and Darleen DeRosa does a nice job of laying out the 4 pitfalls of remote and virtual teams (lack of clear goals or priorities, lack of clear roles between teammates, lack of communication and trust, and lack of engagement) as well as 6 lessons learned from their research. The research is current and the authors lay out not only the lessons learned, but (mostly) practical ways to implement them on your team.
  3. Uniting the Virtual Workforce: Transforming Leadership and Innovation in the Globally Integrated Enterprise (Microsoft Executive Leadership Series)  Karen Sobel Lojeski and Richard Reilly Don’t let the imposing title throw you off. Maybe Microsoft’s books are like their code: functional but denser than they should be. At any rate, Karen Sobel Lojeski has uncovered a concept she calls “virtual distance” which is really a simple idea ( that not coincidentally matches what we’ve been saying in this blog for a year now). Remote teams function exactly the same way as co-located teams. Distance is no excuse and sharing a cube farm is no guarantee that your team will be more functional than a remote workforce. It takes work.
  4. Mastering Virtual Teams:Strategies, Tools and Techniques That Succeed by Deborah Duarte and Nancy Tennant Snyder contains worksheets and tables that you can use to assess your team and implement ideas. It also contains an evenhanded look at some of the technology solutions available, although the challenge with hard copy books is that the technology changes faster than the books can be updated.
  5. Managing the Mobile Workforce: Leading, Building and Sustaining Virtual Teams by David Clemons and Michael Krothhas lots of great research. If you like your examples from top executives (admittedly I’m not one of those who thinks being a CEO gives you more credibility than a line manager but many people do) and thought leaders like Joel Barker and Stephen M. R. Covey, you’ll enjoy this book. It has good research.

What all these books have in common is the belief that first we have to develop good communication and trust for remote teams to function well, and the technology comes second.

What are some of your favorite books for remote teams. I’d love to see the discussion thread fill up with suggestions. Have at it.


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