In Part I of this series, I observed that leaders who want to communicate and minister over the Internet, often have little experience with online collaboration tools. The digital continent is a foreign land to them. It is a new culture and a new language that they are not sure they can embrace. And if they do want to embrace it—they don’t know where to start.
Here is my suggestion to those leaders who want to embrace Internet tools. Start by answering these questions about just one thing you would like to accomplish:
- Who do you want to work with? (Team members, colleagues, consultants)
- What do you want to achieve? (Information sharing, consensus, a final document, a plan, an opportunity for feedback)
- How have you normally done this? (In person meetings, phone calls, emails back and forth with various versions of a document or plan)
- Is there one method of collaboration in number 3 that could be better done or enhanced by using an Internet tool? Ask your friends what they use.
There are many Internet tools. To get started, pick the one that will move your project forward. Download the tool. Learn how to use it. Teach your team members how to use it and there you are leading your team into the 21st century! Repeat this exercise. Learn new tools and soon you will not only be the leader, you will become the goto Internet expert.for everyone else.
By taking the lead once or twice, you will identify the people on your team who are eager to use Internet tools. Encourage them and wherever possible let them take the lead in finding and implementing new tools. As a leader you only have to open the door. You don’t always have to be the one taking initiative.
Here are three possible tools to consider and try:
Skype— free tool that offers one to one video conferencing with other Skype users.
DropBox—a free tool to store and share files and/or folders (versions are saved and dated) on the Internet. You can retrieve the files wherever you can connect to the Internet. (No more emailing documents to yourself.) This is also a great back-up tool for important files.
FreeMind—a free tool for mind-mapping for people who like to brainstorm visually. Print out your map and share it with your team or email it to them. It will be a great discussion starter.
Please share your thoughts and any Internet tools (preferably free) that you have found helpful in carrying out your work in the comments below.
Feel free to share this article with your friends and colleagues. Sharing ideas that you find on the Internet is also a way to show leadership.