Global Virtual Sales Teams: The Way Many Organizations Cross International Borders
This article will briefly talk about the Global Virtual Sales Team (GVST) concept as well as its development and uses. It is also going to talk about its advantages and disadvantages. Next, the Johari Window will be mentioned and how it applies to GVSTs and alike teams. Lastly, it will talk about the challenges a manager faces when managing GVSTs when they are geographically separated.
Global Virtual Sales Team (GVST)
With the advancements of communications technology, centralization of global accounts, and the opportunity in international sales, the GVST became a reality in this century. This concept has created enormous revenue potential as well as the globalization of firms. In essence, technology has erased international borders overnight and opened up new concepts for companies all over the world. Countries have benefitted from the new form of international trade. But, what are the advantages and disadvantages? Has this led changes to the Johari Window? This will be explained next. (Badrinarayanan V., 2011)
The Johari Window
What is the Johari Window? It is method that was devised by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham back in 1955 that shows self-awareness and mutual understanding between individuals inside a collective. (businessballs.com, 1995-2010) It was designed to help evaluate and increase positive interactions between groups. Based on this theory, there are four parts to this concept. They are the Open and Free Area, the Blind Area, the Hidden Area, and the Unknown Area.
The Open and Free Area
The first concept to be talk about within the Johari Window is the Open and Free Area. This area is where factors are already known by the individual as well as by the group. These factors are and include feelings, attitudes, emotions, knowledge, skills, experiences, etc. Both the person and the group are aware of these factors and in mutual settlement on letting the individual contribute to common goals with their known skills. This can be excellent because both parties feel like they are being utilized properly. (businessballs.com, 1995-2010) However, this leads to another area in the Johari Window. That is the Blind Area.
The Blind Area
This area is where trouble can arise for the individual and the group. From this part of the model, the person does not know about themselves what the group does see from a step back perspective. In other words, the person may not be self-aware of their attitudes, emotions, knowledge, and/or skills unlike the group. (López De Victoria, 2008) From the group’s standpoint, they see what that person is about even though the person him/herself may not have the same point of view. The individual in this part of the model must always seek feedback from others in order to correct certain behaviors and improve their productivity. This is the area where leaders must assist the person to grow with feedback and mentoring. On that note, this will lead to the next part of the Johari Window. The Hidden Area.
The Hidden Area
This part of the Johari Window is opposite of the Blind Area. Basically, the person has something that is known to them but hidden from the group. (businessballs.com, 1995-2010). Like the previous window, these factors can be emotional, behaviors, abilities, etc. They are purposely kept hidden from others. Whether it is kept hidden due to secret plans or unscrupulous goals to a person thinking those skills are not relevant to the job at hand, this part of the model is something that needs attention. The way to do that is by creating an atmosphere at work that promotes openness. Leaders and managers are the key.
On that note, how does this apply to the Global Virtual Sales Team Concept? This will be discussed here shortly.
The Johari Window and the Global Virtual Sales Team Concept
As stated by in an e-book by Susan K. Gerken and Linda V. Berens called a Quick Guide to Interaction Styles and Working Remotely, “The Johari Window originally used for improving communication, is a useful map to help us understand some of the difficulties of working remotely”. Since the barrier of distance ceased to exist in the world of modern technology today, remote teams need the same hand of guidance from leaders and managers. From a remote site, people on a team are just as diverse as people in the immediate work site. To add more fuel to the fire, if the remote site is located in another country, this makes the job harder on leaders. Leaders must be able to empathize and see things from the remote employee’s eyes, even in the position of their background and host country’s culture. The Johari Window can make use of figuring out other diverse culture’s strength and weaknesses. It can also, help alleviate misunderstandings, promote feedback, and create an atmosphere of faith based on the Leader’s trust. More importantly, this will strengthen ties between two different people. When a person in power uses the model to study an individual and group’s strength and weakness, they will notice immediate results when they see how well they succeed or fail at the task given to them. Results will come from profits and recommendations of other companies that do business with the firm’s satellite branch in the host country. Nonetheless, it will be able to be measured. Thank you to instant global communication systems. On that note, the ability to use input from the team to strategize on entering international markets during virtual meetings is valuable. This in-turn promotes relationships among team members and leaders on a global scale. But, to this concept there are two major drawbacks. They are culture and international time differences between the main and remotes sites.
In order for managers to succeed in leading remote international teams, they must obtain cultural training of the site they are in-charge of. Whether attending a course from an expert to going to the remote site for a visit, a leader must use this method to gain insight into an international community. Another way they can learn is by learning the country’s language. Learning the language will give you an insight on how a culture thinks. This will better prepare a person in being able to manage an international team.
On the time difference side in the challenge of leading a remote team, management must be aware and be flexible on the time differences between the main and remote sites. Managers must realize that they may need to come in earlier or stay later than normal during business hours to speak with the remote site. Sometimes, communicating from home is a necessity in order to conduct business. This is the cost of a company in being successful or not. This is something managers must take into consideration and be open the idea of time differences between locations.
In conclusion, this article briefly talked about the Global Virtual Sales Team (GVST) and similar concepts used by many companies worldwide. It mentioned as well the development and uses of this concept. It also spoke about the advantages and disadvantages of this concept. Next, the Johari Window was briefly described and how it applied to GVSTs and like teams. Lastly, this paper talked about addressing possible communication and understanding problems as well as the sacrifices managers must make in order to facilitate international business.
If your journey in becoming part of the management staff, be aware you may have to be responsible for international teams. With the advancement of technology, this is becoming a normal daily operation for many organizations. Managers must realize this and adapt.
Badrinarayanan V., M. S. (2011). Global Virtual Sales Teams (GVSTs ): A Conceptual Framework of the Influence of Intellectual and Social Capital on Effectiveness. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, pp. 311–324.
businessballs.com. (1995-2010). Johari Window. Retrieved from www.businessballs.com: http://www.businessballs.com/johariwindowmodel.htm
Gerke, S. B. (2003). Quick guide to interaction styles ande working remotely. Huntingdon Beach, CA, USA: Telos Publications.
López De Victoria, S. P. (2008, 07 08). The Johari Window. Retrieved from Psych Central: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2008/07/08/the-johari-window/