November 05, 2012, 10:12 AM — Chris Miller of Avanade Ask a Premier 100 IT Leader Chris Miller Title: Corporate vice president and CIOCompany: Avanade
Miller is this month's Premier 100 IT Leader, answering questions about communicating with a global team, the viability of a continuing career in IT and coping with a woefully understaffed IT department. If you have a question you'd like to pose to one of our Premier 100 IT Leaders, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm overseeing a global team right now. Naturally, communication is key. Any advice on how to keep the lines of communication open and running well?
Treating team members equally regardless of physical location and holding all employees to the same expectations and standards are key to building a high-performing global team. Working across time zones can be especially difficult, but sharing the burden of inconvenient meeting times across the team will go a long way toward showing that you understand the challenges. Also, taking the time to interact informally and socially with remote co-workers just as you would with someone in the cubicle or office next to you can strengthen connections with your team members.
Our team actively leverages enterprise collaboration tools to stay in touch. We have a platform that takes advantage of technologies like social networking, unified communications and videoconferencing to foster greater collaboration and knowledge sharing. While enabling technology may differ at each company, it is important to encourage a culture of collaboration. We have only 30% of our IT resources in our corporate headquarters, with a sizable offshore team and employees spread across Avanade's global locations, so our employees have had to find ways to work effectively as a global team. I also believe it is hard to replace in-person meetings, so I encourage our leadership team to visit our locations every 12 to 18 months.
I was laid off with hundreds of others about 14 months ago, and so far I've had no luck getting another network admin job. I'm willing and able to do other things in IT, but after so much time, I wonder whether I should just try something else. Still, it's technology that I really love. Would it be a mistake to give it all up?