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Virtual Power Tips

3 Tips to enable Knowledge Flow and Innovation in Virtual and Hybrid Teams?


One of the highest risks when your people work from home is that the communication with their colleagues will be reduced, thus obstructing the knowledge flow, hindering cooperation and “suffocating” the creative innovation in your team.

There are two types of knowledge: 

Explicit and Tacit Knowledge

You can document the Explicit knowledge. These are the practices and processes in your company. In fact companies that scale successfully working remotely invest in documenting this knowledge. This is their key asset.

Send me a link!

Every time someone asks you “How to?” question, instead of writing an email or calling the person you “send a link”. There is already a knowledge document with embedded screenshots and videos explaining how this is done. If not, you create the document, record the video and then “send a link”

Tacit Knowledge

The tacit knowledge is hard to document. It is when you need advice but are not sure who to contact, or not comfortable enough to contact him or her. This can also be a new insight born just “bumping” into someone near the watercooler. This kind of “tacit knowledge exchange” suffers most during extensive home office working (in different places) or extensive a-synchronous working (at different times).

Strong and Weak ties

In order to explore how the knowledge flows in your organization, particularly the tacit knowledge, let me introduce the concept of people networks and strong and weak ties. Strong ties are with people you know well and trust. They could be part of your team or project but also can be part of other departments or organizations. You usually ask for advice your strong ties. You could also call a meeting or create a forum in order to build on each other’s knowledge and ideas.

Lynda Gratton’s book “Redesigning work”.

Weak ties are with people you don’t know so well but you know they possess particular knowledge. The weak ties are significantly impacted by the ever-growing remote and a-synchronous working where you tend to speak more to the people you know well. Therefore you need to create and simulate this “bumping”  into each other moments , these “serendipity encounters”.

3 Tips

Let me give you three tips on how to manage both the explicit and tacit knowledge in order to ensure that it flows smoothly and Innovation thrives in your organization.

Tip 1. Establish robust platform and process for documenting your explicit knowledge 

Invest in documenting explicit knowledge. Make sure people document all knowledge they possess or develop in the course of work. I work with many fully remote companies that scale without having an office.  It is a key requirement on a regular basis to document your knowledge. Every time you create or optimize a process, you document the knowledge in the most visual and  engaging way, using videos and screenshots.  Importantly you post it in a knowledge management system where people can ask questions, comment and have a discussion on the topic, For this you need a system – not necessarily an expensive one, could be an MS Team room, but it has to be searchable by topic and by expert.

Tip 2. Create an environment to ensure your tacit  knowledge flows 

How to enable the weak ties and stimulate the “serendipity encounters” How to create an environment where people exchange knowledge on an informal basis? In this case technology can help a lot.

Let me give you an example from Pricewaterhousecoopers (PWC). This is a company which recruits tens of thousands freshly graduated students into their consulting business. Before the COVID19 pandemic they used to have a big conference with all the new recruits. There the new joiners can hear from the senior management what is the vision and organisational goals, and “how we work here”. When the lockdown happened this conference was no longer possible.

Regardless which industry you are in, the proper induction of new employees is key. It aims to get them up to speed and productive by enabling the knowledge flow, learning and mentoring by experienced colleagues.

For this Pricewaterhousecoopers created a virtual reality (VR) platform i.e. a virtual venue where people can “bump” into each other. There was some matchmaking taking place who do you “bump into” but also randomly or by your choice. When you enter the platform with your VR set you meet new colleagues and exchange ideas.

You could also attend presentations by the Senior Management of PWC. In these easy to navigate VR rooms you could listen and see the “big picture” from the “horse’s mouth”.

You could even go on a Virtual Speedboat trip.

VR Speedboat tirp for the new recruits

VR allows for exciting experiences so this is one ways to stimulate this environment.

Never underestimate the informal flows of tacit knowledge.

For example – research shows that when people searching for a job they rarely hear it from somebody in their very close circle of friends. Usually they hear it from someone they know but not part of this circle.

Regardless which industry you are in, you need to explore how knowledge flows in your organization. Based on that it is critical to enable and ensure that both explicit and tacit knowledge flows and fosters cooperation and innovation.

Tip 3. Establish a network of Knowledge Champions

I’m a big fan of people-centric organizations and strengths oriented management.

And in my method “Virtual Power Teams” we discover the natural strengths and talents of each team member in a short but effective peer coaching. Those with deep expertise in a particular area become the Knowledge champions. They drive forward this Knowledge area in the searchable knowledge database (Tip 1). They post new articles in their area of expertise, facilitate discussions and overall foster the knowledge flow and ensure its properly documented.

As this is their “strength” area they do not consider it an extra “work. It is enjoyable for them and enables the natural flow of knowledge in your team and organization.

So those are the three tips 

  1. Establish robust platform for documenting your explicit knowledge 
  2. Create an environment to ensure your tacit  knowledge flows 
  3. Establish a network of knowledge champions to drive the knowledge sharing and flow

Let me wish you inspiration and success in enabling the knowledge flow, cooperation and creative innovation in your organization!

What is your Question or Insight on Knowledge Management in virtual or hybrid tips?

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3 Common Mistakes In Managing Virtual Teams?

Keynote Speaker virtual teams-Managing Virtual Teams

Virtual and hybrid working penetrates business and many other areas of life. The Corona pandemic accelerated this process and raised the demand for virtual collaboration in remote teams to completely new level.

According to Forrester Research 81% of Teams are virtual and distributed across multiple locations.

And yet many managers fall into the trap of old habits thereby reducing their team’s productivity. 

What are the 3 most common Mistakes of managing virtual and hybrid teams?

Mistake one: Neglect the importance of Personality

Often Managers of virtual teams say:
“People do not meet anyway. Why should I bother to get to know them deeper as individuals? The ones that want to engage can always get in contact privately.”

In virtual teams the opportunity for face-to-face communication is highly limited. The ability to get to know each other, sharing enthusiasms and personal histories in a “coffee machine” type of conversation is highly reduced.
Therefore many managers ignore the unique personality potential of their Team members as a factor for improving performance.
Taken to the extreme the People in the virtual team become anonymous and are considered only as “resource” bringing specific skills set and delivering particular results.

In every Team – Local or Virtual, the key success factor is Trust.
Trust has two aspects – Personality and Professional Competence i.e. how well the individual team members know each other, and of course how well they contribute their professional competence!

If you understand your Team members well – i.e. what makes their heart sing in life, what they enjoy, and what energizes their work, you are much better enabled to support and lead them despite the distance.


Do you know your virtual team’s personal interests, passions and strengths?
How can unique personalities of each team member find expression in the Team?
How do you sustain interpersonal relationships over time and build on them for team success?


Mistake two: Communication happens ad hoc or is Manager centric

Have you felt bored during a Virtual Team phone conference?

Often Virtual Teams only call a Team conference when urgent issues arise.
And on these calls – often it is the Manager who does the bulk of the talking.
Debate based on trust and practice – has to relent to the manager’s monologue.
Another regular example– is experienced at ‘quarterly updates’ – where the manager presents facts and figures to a slightly bored work team who are easily distracted by other work issues

How can you break this “boredom” pattern?

Give everyone on the Virtual Team a responsibility to deliver during the call.
Let everyone have his or her own slot. Let them report back on their issues and debate their causes. Make sure the time agenda allows everyone fair time slots.

Let people report personal and professional highs and lows since last call.
This is the “salt”, the essence – to creating empathic and dynamic team relationships and how you can sustain and develop the interpersonal relationships over time.

The Fusion of Personal and Professional; formal and informal, input and debate is the antidote to Boredom

Having shared structured team communication plans nurture the interpersonal relationships and encourages Team unity and momentum.


Do you have a plan for your Team conference calls?
How often should you have regular updates for your team?
How can you raise the level of participation for each team member?

Mistake three:
Lack of Reward for outstanding Success

Often virtual team managers take Performance of their teams for granted. Reward is reflected in salary or Individual Bonus but there is nothing exiting to further ignite the flame of Top performance.
People want to be heroes. They like to be part of a great-united Team that achieves a miracle.
In my own management practice I’ve witnessed multiple “miracles”, many examples of where an Appealing Prize has inspired Teams to deliver phenomenal results.

Prizes do not need to be monetary – Tickets to Industry – top events, access to celebrities – All sort of highly appealing Prizes can trigger team inspiration.

There are cautions before you set up your Aspirational Prize:
Often Mangers offer a reasonable Prize but expect exceptional Performance. The Prize has itself to be extraordinary and the Manager can afford it since the cost of delay is often significantly higher than the cost of really appealing prize.

Enticing prizes, offered well in advance and creative progress reports can lead to phenomenal performance and results.


Does your team have Prizes for extraordinary achievements?
What event, travel destination or recognition of success would inspire your Team to go that extra mile?
How can you creatively report your Collective Goal progress?

Combining the 3 factors:

Personality: support the unique potential of the Individual
Structured Communication: nurture Trust between Team
Appealing Prize reward for outstanding performance
– All can unleash incredible energy in a virtual team and inspire it to deliver phenomenal results.

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