YWAM Converge is an Alliance Network
We are an alliance network within Youth With A Mission International. We are developing partnerships inside and outside of YWAM to accomplish well-defined ministry objectives in every sphere of society for the glory of God. To accomplish the mission of God, we must work together in every sphere of influence. Our roundtable of managing partners provide oversight of specific network initiatives, such as the arts, business, education, media, medicine, and more…
This info graphic describes the journey toward partnership.
The YWAM Converge Network is unlike a typical YWAM training center. The YWAM Converge Network is unique because all our staff are engaging the spheres of society through projects and partnerships among strategic organizations and communities. Our Managing Partners are seasoned YWAMers who lead various initiatives with both YWAM staff and volunteers/partners from other organizations. Among our current managing partners are: John Hwang, Student Mobilization Centre; Greg Ruhland, Business Professionals; Amy Bischof, Arts in South Jersey; Viky Bogi, Women in Distress/Project Esther in India. Eventually we will add managing partners for additional arenas of influence, including: Tech Force, Converge in Latin America, Media & Film, Frontiers, Sports, etc. The following is a list of helpful tips for leading a remote team of YWAM and non-YWAM members.
YWAM CONVERGE MANAGING PARTNERS WILL DEVELOP EFFECTIVE REMOTE MINISTRY TEAMS BY:
1. SETTING EXPECTATIONS.
Be sure to let all YWAM Staff and Volunteers know from the beginning exactly what your expectations are of them, their role, and the team. You can set very similar expectations for non-staff volunteers, whether they are YWAM or non-YWAM. However, one significant difference for YWAM staff members who are employees with YWAM Converge is that they are expected to work a minimum of 30 hours per week.
2. DEFINING AVAILABILITY.
Clearly communicate when you expect remote team members to be available by phone, text, email, chat or otherwise. And when they are not available due to travel or all-day meetings, explain that they need to communicate this in advance and define to whom. Choose to use a shared calendar to show work schedule indicating at the very least a private ‘available or unavailable’ indicator. Set the example for your team by sharing your calendar and letting them know when you are and aren’t available. Take it a step further and communicate virtual ‘open office’ times on your shared calendar, and then – this is critical – be available. Our YWAM Converge Network Office will also share the calendar to let remote team members know when I, John Henry, am available for a virtual ‘open office’ through Zoom.
3. EXPLAINING GOALS.
Do a quarterly review with each YWAM staff member and/or volunteer. Define measurable objectives, goals, and deadlines specifically to eliminate the temptation to micromanage. Describe how those items will be tracked and measured to help your remote team know they are on track for success. Managing Partners will use Develop.me to set and keep track of annual goals for Roundtable meetings. The mandatory roundtable meeting for Managing Partners will take place the first Friday of November to assess the current year and define the next year’s goals. (Written goals should be completed on Develop.me before that meeting so that an report may be prepared for the annual meeting of the board.)
4. PLANNING MEETINGS.
Define any mandatory meetings for which your team will be expected to attend, whether weekly, monthly or quarterly, and explain these expectations in advance, especially describing if meetings are on-site or virtual. Send calendar invites as soon as the dates are determined. For virtual meetings, use a video conferencing tool such as Google Hangouts, Zoom or Skype. Host periodic one-on-one calls to proactively discuss delegated projects, questions, concerns, and end with prayer. Further, have monthly or quarterly all-calls with everyone on your virtual team to update each initiative’s status and address any questions to get – and keep – everyone on the same page.
5. COMMUNICATING EFFECTIVELY.
Written communication comes with subtle nuances that can create major communication failures. So when in doubt, thoughtfully over-communicate and make sure your virtual YWAM staff member and/or volunteers do, too. More is definitely more here. Use Google Docs to set up shared documents for working projects, agendas, and progress reports. Use Comments on the Google Doc to ask questions and/or make suggestions. And don’t forget personal phone calls to stay in touch and nurture relationships.
6. CREATING CULTURE.
As remote teams on a global network, we cannot set a cultural environment through our physical surroundings. The culture we create through remote relationships is the only environment that we can feel. Culture is just as important to a virtual workforce as it is to any other, so we must develop ways to foster, nurture and promote it like we would if the whole team was on-site. As often as possible, share your ideas for developing a cultural environment in a way where others in the network might participate or replicate for their team. One idea might be to send a Starbucks gift card to remote team members or have some other treat delivered to team members from time to time.
7. LEADING WITH TRUST.
To lead a remote team effectively, you must trust your team to do that for which they were brought onto the team. Of course, YWAM staff who are employees of YWAM Converge Network will carry more responsibility and work load. Remember to focus on what each individual is doing and the goals and objectives you’ve defined for them. And ask yourself how they may feel about accomplishing the goals you’ve set for them, and then respond and manage accordingly.
8. ASKING QUESTIONS, AND LISTENING.
Without in-person contact and its inherent physical cues, you miss important clues. Listening is at the core of emotional intelligence, and great listeners also ask questions. Actively asking questions not only helps you better understand your virtual team members, but makes them feel more valued, too.
9. USING TECHNOLOGY.
Technology has changed the way all of us work and interact on a day-to-day basis. As a leader of a virtual team, you can’t just walk over to someone’s cubicle, but we can take advantage of Zoom to connect as regularly as those who work in the same building.
10. BEING PREPARED TO DELEGATE.
To effectively delegate, take the time to get prepared before giving instructions or expectations to people on your remote team. This may require training meetings on the front-end, especially if your project is complex. Your staff and volunteers will need to see the big picture, where you are going and what you have in place, and then they will better understand the detailed part you are delegating to them. For teams with short-term staff, volunteers, and/or interns, it may be best to create training videos and documentation to help on-board people.
11. USING COLLABORATION TOOLS.
The YWAM Converge Network uses various collaboration tools, such as G-Suite (Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Calendars), Salesforce Chatter (for access to official documents, policies, and FAQs), and Trello. These tools make team communication simpler to manage than traditional email, phone calls or text. Trello helps us clearly document everything and manage specific tasks to be delegated as Task Cards. Trello has specific boards for teams and/or major projects. And Trello has “swimlanes” that can be labeled, like the following: Backlog, Ready for Delegation, In Process, Ready for Review, Done. Trello creates a chain of communication and deadlines that everyone can reference. On Trello, everyone can attach documents, images, and other files so everyone can access them as needed.
12. BEING INCLUSIVE.
When there are important decisions to make or tasks to complete for a particular project or initiative, be sure to include all involved parties on emails and in meetings. Trello allows you to tag an individual team member for delegation or for comment on Task Card. This will serve to not only let everyone know what has been completed and by whom, but will also help remote YWAM Staff stay aware of the status of each ministry project or program as it’s handed off.
13. LETTING GO.
This last step is essential, but also the most challenging. From this point on, it’s imperative to have faith in your leadership, delegation process and people. When you manage a remote team, you can’t just walk up to their desk. While it may be hard to let someone else take the reins, these tips will help you to delegate effectively and successfully..