Researchers predict that nearly two billion people around the world – more than 40 percent of the global workforce – will be mobile by the end of this decade. Surely, no surprise to you. As a business leader, no doubt you have been facilitating this trend for several years now:
So, it’s understandable amidst this swirl of escalating digital collaboration that you may not have taken much time to sharpen your own collaborative skills. Well, as usual, we’ve been thinking of you.
As part of our continuing mission to help leaders of small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) “think like big-time CIOs,” we follow CIO magazine closely. Recently, columnist Josh Fruhlinger talked with several corporate technology executives about managing virtual teams. After reading the article, we realized many of the points in Fruhlinger’s piece apply to the relationship between you and your MSP, which most often is an exercise in virtual collaboration.
So, we skimmed the cream for you. Here are the three most important collaborative skills you should hone for an optimal virtual relationship with your MSP:
- Talk is not cheap; it’s invaluable – Texting is efficient and saves time when exchanging uncomplicated messages. Emails are effective for elaborating processes and documenting procedures. And both these modes of communication play integral roles in managing the installation, operation and maintenance of digital business technology during the ebb and flow of a workday. So, texting and emailing between you and your MSP always will be a vital part of your collaborative relationship. But neither is a substitute for having regular talks, especially when discussing business strategy. Spoken words have a way of communicating nuance and emphasis quickly that written language can’t match. In fact, when it comes to the subtleties of user and customer requirements, textual communications often lose impact because – to be frank – in today’s fast-paced business environment, many people skim rather than take time to read thoroughly.
- You can’t replace face-to-face – Per our first point, face-to-face meetings deepen the nuance and emphasis of spoken language by adding body language to the mix. So, you should plan meetings with your MSP in which you can look each other in the eye. And fortunately, digital technology provides you with an excellent way to do so without the time commitment and expense of frequent travel: Videoconferencing. Yes, running effective video meetings requires developing specific skills within your organization. For help with this process, check out our post about fostering a video-friendly culture.
- Collaboration is a two-way street, but you should do the driving – and steering – Many times in this blog space we’ve advocated that readers take the initiative in their relationships with MSPs. Why? Because you know your business and its technology needs best. So, no one is better than you at articulating your digital strategy and technology requirements. So, do these collaborative sessions with your MSP need to be every week? Every month? Every quarter? You decide – but make sure you attend every one of them.