A couple of years ago, I interviewed Dr. Howard Esbin to talk about Prelude. At the time, he and his partners had just launched the Beta version.
As a reminder, Prelude is a great online tool that helps virtual teams build the crucial trust needed for higher productivity. It’s now a robust tool that’s being used in business and education globally.
In this follow-up interview, we discuss what’s new with Prelude, how it can help your own virtual team.
Hassan: Give us a quick refresher of what Prelude is and how it helps virtual teams.
Howard: The following is Prelude’s raison dêtre…
The Why: Empowering virtual team performance through accelerated trust.
The How: Facilitated online learning experience for virtual teams.
The What: Virtual teams are guided through 3 steps, exercise 10 soft skills, and apply 20 best practices in one compact transformative process.
Hassan: What problems do most virtual teams face today and how does Prelude attempt at solving them?
Howard: Virtual teamwork has three broad dimensions –the task, the technology, and the social. A high performance virtual team needs all three working in sync. However, each dimension has challenges. Perhaps the most difficult arises in the social dimension, i.e. the interpersonal realm. Establishing trust on virtual teams has proven very difficult to achieve, despite the proliferation of online collaborative platforms.
Prelude is a fast, fun, meaningful way for virtual teams to grow in trust from ‘Me’ to ‘We’. This involves Self-Assessment, Self-Expression, Co-Creation, and Dialogue. As teammates become “attuned” to each other, cognitively and emotionally, rapport and trust develops naturally. Whether a virtual team is new or already working together. Prelude is a dynamic catalyst for learning and growth. It requires less than 6 hours in total depending on team size and time zones. Training is compact and easy to master for professionals with online experience.
Hassan: What has changed since the last update in late 2014?
In Step 1, Virtual teams start with a unique self-assessment called iStar™. This provides a holistic, positive understanding of individual and team strengths, talents, and assets. The results – qualitative and quantitative – are immediately accessible and easily understood by teammates themselves directly. Teams quickly discern if how they work is aligned with their mission and where they may have soft skills gaps/overlaps.
In Step 2, teammates co-create a powerful digital symbol of identity and excellence using interactive whiteboards. In this process, they practice key soft skills.
In Step 3, teammates conclude with another unique online resource called the Team Alignment Plan™, or T.A.P. This proprietary algorithm helps the team to quickly and easily identify and align its “inventory” of soft skills with key goals, tasks, and deliverables.
Hassan: Is there any user feedback you can share?
Howard: The following is representative of the many testimonials we’ve received. –
“Prelude is quicker and more focused on team alignment compared to anything else.” Agile Coach
“Faster and deeper access to understanding diverse team strengths through the power of image and words combined.” Coach Facilitator
“Prelude is deeper, leads to better self understanding and understanding others, has a step of co-creation, and is more fun (not boring or something standard).” Agile Coach
Hassan: What are the requirements and how much does it cost?
Howard: Prelude is an ideal resource for anyone working with virtual teams and classrooms including: agile coaches, scrum masters, project leads, and online instructors. Training is offered through an online course involving theory and practice. This consists of three modules of two hours each. There are synchronous and asynchronous interactive exercises facilitated by a master trainer. Online training and certification is $1000 US. This includes ongoing support, marketing and research materials, and access to special events.
Hassan: Anything else that you’d like to cover that you’d like readers of this blog to know?
Howard: Research indicates that 80% of virtual teams in business receive no training. Concurrently, most colleges and universities are also not preparing students for the new world of distributed teamwork awaiting them upon graduation. Being a digital native doesn’t automatically confer virtual team skills mastery. This set of skills must be practiced together.
Prelude is an easy, compact, and time effective way for virtual teams to tune up for optimal productivity. We invite and welcome innovative collaboration with online instructors and virtual student teams interested in working with and researching about Prelude.
Apropos, I’m pleased to share that the University of British Columbia is introducing a new eWorkshop on how to master virtual team soft skills using Prelude. Dates & Times: 3 Wednesdays – Jan 25, Feb 1 and Feb 8, 2017 (10am to 12pm PST)
I if you’d like to learn more about Prelude, or connect with Howard, here are a couple of links: