Virtual Communication is Failing

Beverly Flaxington is a practice management consultant. She answers questions from advisors facing human resource issues. To submit yours, email us here.

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Dear Bev,

How do I keep my team working together effectively in this remote environment? We have a business-development initiative this year across our firm of about 115 people and they are supposed to be partnering together and then meeting as small groups in order to accomplish the outcomes.

I have not heard a word from anyone.

When we have company-wide meetings and I ask how it is all going, no one responds to me. I have an executive admin who has her pulse to the team and she tells me people are not taking the program seriously. I hired an outside coach to put this in place at substantial cost.

Is there a way for me to push the importance of this for the firm? Why don’t employees respect the cost to try and make improvements and respond accordingly?


Dear D.P.,

Do you know your team members don’t understand the importance or could it be that they do, but they are stymied about how to proceed? Have you asked directly about obstacles to completing the project, rather than relying on hearsay from your EA who is not operating in a formal capacity? Are your colleagues clear about what to do, when to do it and requirements for reporting back to you?

More often than not the problem is mixed communication and a lack of understanding on the part of the people who seem resistant to respond. Many times the people being “accused” are shocked that something was expected of them when they didn’t realize what exactly was required.